We believe that our continued investment in our 110,000 employees is fundamental to our success and to positioning FirstGroup as an employer of choice.
Our learning and development provision extends from our most senior leaders across the business down to our customer-facing staff in our divisions.
The largest proportion of our 110,000 employees are drivers, and we invest significantly in ensuring that they are professionally competent, safe and skilled in providing the best transport service to the 2.2 billion passengers we carry every year.
Delivering high-quality, effective learning to our drivers and around 7,000 managers across the UK and North America is a challenge as we are not able to withdraw them for long periods of time from their roles. We have worked hard to find powerful ways of engaging our employees in practical and relevant learning activities which help them to improve every day.
Ongoing investment in our people helps to drive employee engagement and retention and our fully supported lifelong learning programme has been in place for a number of years. We also have a thriving apprenticeship programme and a successful graduate programme which we have extended to include placements in our divisions in North America.
Senior managers and leaders within each division have completed a 360 degree assessment process, with comprehensive feedback and development support. Senior managers have also received tailored leadership and individual development programmes, and more than 50 senior HR professionals across the Group have been trained to implement an enhanced talent management and succession planning process. For middle and first level managers, we have continued the delivery of our Dynamic Performance and Development programme, and added new virtual sessions and online content. By August 2016, this programme will have trained more than 14,000 employees with the skills to lead and manage their teams more effectively. Additionally, we have begun delivery of our Be Safe programme for all managers and supervisors across the organisation. This major training investment is focused on building the right behaviours and habits to ensure that we sustain and improve our safety performance across the Group. Initial indications from the locations first to implement the programme are encouraging and give confidence of continuous improvement towards zero harm and of making safety a personal core value.