Apprentices across Greater Manchester can now get free bus and Metrolink tickets to travel to work.
The pilot scheme has been jointly developed and funded by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Hub on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in response to feedback from apprentices and their training providers.
Eligible apprentices, who often struggle with transport costs as they are not entitled to free travel, can now apply for a free 28-day travel pass valid on bus or Metrolink services across the region.
People who are interested in cycling to work, can join the ‘Apprentice Bike to Work’ scheme, offering apprentices access to free recycled bikes, cycle training and bike maintenance courses provided by TfGM.
The bikes also come with cycling accessories and safety equipment such as lights and helmets.
Around 30 training providers from across Greater Manchester have been invited to take part in the scheme which will initially run until the end of March 2017. If the pilot is successful, TfGM and GMCA plan to roll out a longer-term travel offer for Greater Manchester apprentices.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “The cost of travel can make it difficult for apprentices, particularly young people, to get to work as they are not entitled to the same free travel full-time students receive.
“Giving people recycled bikes and cycle training can set them up with a particularly healthy, low cost and practical way of getting to work – especially where shifts or location rule public transport out.
“We hope that both these schemes, which are part of a wider Travel Choices package aimed at getting people to work in a sustainable way that’s good for the economy and the environment, will make it easier for apprentices to travel to work.”
Cllr Sean Anstee, GMCA’s Vice Chair and Lead Member for Skills, Employment and Worklessness, welcomed the launch: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to develop skills, earn a wage and achieve a qualification while working. Around 30,000 people across Greater Manchester take up an apprenticeship each year, but we recognise that apprenticeship wages are sometimes quite low in the early days and the costs of transport can take a big slice out of their take-home pay. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with TfGM on this pilot scheme.
“We want to do all we can to support Greater Manchester residents of all ages who want to take up an Apprenticeship as part of their career development. We’re looking at what we can do to tackle barriers in the longer-term, but in the meantime this pilot offers a welcome helping hand.”
All applications should be made through training providers to find out if apprentices are eligible. For more information about the scheme contact the TfGM Travel Choices team at firstname.lastname@example.org.