A great salary and benefits package is just part of the rewards that successfull candidates will receive.



If you've got questions about Graduate Career Opportunities with First you'll probably find an answer here in our FAQs.


Operations Careers

Operations Careers image

Operations Management

Our Operations Trainees experience a real mix of practical, hands-on experience, together with technical and academic study. That way, they’ll always have the skills and knowledge they need for a future career in senior management.

This isn’t about hiding behind a desk, or being chained to a computer. We choose graduates who are happy to step outside of their comfort zone and genuinely experience all areas of our rail and bus networks.

There will be on-the-job learning with skills development, plus rotational placements that will give you a broad perspective of our business. You’ll also have the opportunity to work towards gaining professional qualifications. Everything you do will be underpinned by a comprehensive and on-going mentoring and coaching process.

Specifically, we look for graduates with at least a 2:2 degree. But the right people will have so much more to offer. Like the flexibility to travel around the UK with a variety of placements; plenty of energy and creativity; a clear focus on providing the excellent service our customers have come to expect. More than that, you’re a real ‘people person’: skilled in managing a team of employees, as well as working with a diverse breadth of colleagues.

Once you’ve successfully completed the two-year training scheme, you’ll move into your first permanent role. You’ll even have the chance to study for an MBA programme, fully-funded by us.

A little more detail

How will I develop?
We’ve designed the training scheme to be incredibly hands-on, with a fascinating mix of shadowing and project work. It’s a tried and tested formula that will give you extensive opportunities to learn. This practical knowledge will be underpinned by theoretical knowledge of operations and staff management, gained from a variety of training courses.

Where will I work within FirstGroup?
In your first year, you will experience both our Bus and Rail divisions to give you a flavour of our business as a whole, you will spend six months in your chosen division followed by 3-6 months in the other division. You will spend the entire second year in your chosen division. You may also have the chance to undertake short placements with FirstGroup functions like Procurement, HR, Finance, Safety and Marketing/Comms.

What kind of training courses and professional bodies are involved?
Along with other new members of the team, you’ll attend internal courses that cover: Core Safety Briefing, Security & Disability Awareness, PCV Licence acquisition, depot knowledge and plenty more besides. You’ll also complete some FirstGroup courses that will develop your management and leadership skills.

National and International CPC (Bus only)
All UK Bus Management Trainees are expected to gain a standard ‘Operators Licence’ or ‘O’ Licence. This will only be granted once you have gained your Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). You’ll gain all the support you need to achieve these milestones in your development.

Institution of Railway Operators (or IRO) - Short Courses (Rail only)
The IRO is the UK’s national body for railway operations, offering scope for professional development, networking and access to education programmes. It delivers a range of bespoke, short courses that will furnish you with all the knowledge you need to become a successful manager in Rail Operations.

Will I need to complete any project work?
Absolutely, and it will add real value to the business. You could, for instance, write a report for senior managers on an operational issue; analyse data and make recommendations for the commercial team; or even help to develop a plan for a brand new initiative. One thing’s for sure, you’ll make a genuine contribution and your work could influence business decisions across the company.

Sometimes, you may be asked to step outside your assigned placement and get involved in another. This is really reflective of our business reality, where managers often spend time seconded to another project alongside their usual role. The idea is that you can use your insights and experience in different areas of the company and add real value.