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Do you have what it takes?

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 06 Jun 2024

At a time when estimates show that the UK needs over 200,000 new Engineers and Technicians each year, the Engineering Director of Bedford’s largest bus operator explains about how he keeps the wheels moving.

Vehicle Technicians are in demand. Recent figures from Engineering UK show that there is an annual need for 124,000 Engineers and Technicians with core engineering skills across the economy, alongside an additional requirement for 79,000 ‘related’ roles.

It is a challenge that Vince Goane, Engineering Director of Stagecoach East takes seriously, as he works to bring in the best young vehicle technicians to work on his fleet of modern vehicles - including 32 electric buses – boasting some of the most sophisticated engineering systems in the world, such as the prize-winning ISA safety system. We sat down with Vince to ask the questions.

What kind of person do you need to be a Technician?
You need to be someone who is diligent and a logical thinker; someone who can look at problems and have a ‘can do’ attitude, to find solutions. You need to be able to look at the bigger picture and say ‘OK, this is where I need to get to’ and then set out a logical plan of how to get there.

Vehicle engineering has changed over the years, modern buses have more microprocessors than a Formula 1 racing car. New Electric Buses cost over half a million pounds, so it’s important we recruit Engineers with the potential to develop their skills, knowledge and have the right attitude.

So, the type of people that we are looking for are technically curious and prepared to ask lots of questions – it does not matter at all what creed or sex you are. I have trained people from all walks of life over the years, the key thing is that you want to learn.

If you are someone who has experience of fixing things (from cars, vans and trucks to tractors!) we offer the opportunity to be at the leading-edge of technology; to be an integral part of the operation. Our vehicle fleet maintenance and repair teams cover all aspects of vehicle maintenance including mechanical, electrical and body repairs – without Technicians and Engineers, the buses would not operate!

Tell us about your personal journey as an Engineer?
I started in 1991 as an Apprentice with London Buses. I did a 3-year Apprenticeship and my final year was at Tile Hill College on block release. By the year 2000 I was a Grade Two Foreman at the Tottenham Depot - the youngest shift supervisor in London at the time.

In 2006 I moved up to Yorkshire to look after 5 depots. Then back to London where I worked on the first hydrogen project. Part of my role there was to travel around Europe giving talks about what we had learnt about using hydrogen power.

I eventually moved to Stagecoach when they took over my then employer. It has been a whirlwind, but I have loved it!

It is an important thing about this job that you can come in as an Apprentice and potentially become a Director – both myself and our Managing Director, Darren Roe, started our careers as apprentice Vehicle Technicians. If you have the drive, ambition and enthusiasm to do it, the opportunities are there.
But if you prefer a more technical based route of development, we offer training up to Master Technician level, with potential earnings to over £55,000 a year.

The UK is suffering from a shortage of trained Engineers, how are you trying to react to that?
I really enjoy the process of giving our industry more exposure within the local community. It would be lovely to work with some of the local colleges, to give young people a week or two’s work experience on vehicle maintenance principles, and just how our maintenance teams support delivering 25 million customer journeys, and a fleet that covers over 12 million miles, every year.

So, who are we looking for? If you are currently fixing cars, vans, trucks or tractors, have the skills, qualifications and have an eye on personal development, either to enhance your current technical skills, or maybe considering a potential future in engineering management, then we would love to hear from you.

We will be holding an application-only Open Day for vehicle technicians, auto electricians and vehicle body repairers at our Cambridge Depot on Saturday 6th July. Come down, meet the team, and have a look round (and under) some of the different types of vehicles we operate!

•    If you feel that you have what it takes to be a Vehicle Technician, then book your place at the Open Day - please email Vince at

Topics: Stagecoach East

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