Sussex bus company 'extremely happy' to hand first Ukrainian refugee driving job

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The team at a Sussex bus company are delighted after being able to offer a Ukrainian refugee a driving job following a change in government legislation.

Following a change in government legislation that resulted in Ukrainian refugees receiving immediate settlement status and the opportunity to work in the UK straight away, Volodymyr Syrotiuk has become the first to join Brighton and Hove Buses as a bus driver.

Ukrainian bus drivers can exchange their bus driving licence for a UK licence under a current standard EU agreement. Previously bus drivers from countries other than the UK had to wait a year before they could apply for jobs at Brighton and Hove and Metrobus. However, with a new company policy and a special training programme in place, the company can support Ukrainian refugees back into work.

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Volodymyr Syrotiuk worked in a warehouse and drove heavy goods vehicles near Kyiv before the conflict in his home country broke out in 2022. He has since settled in Brighton and has joined the team at Brighton and Hove Buses.Ed Wills, managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses said: "We’re extremely happy to welcome Volodymyr to the team. As a company we can offer jobs to people from Ukraine who are looking to rebuild a more peaceful life. I hope this is the first of many to come, and that we continue to be able to help more refugees like Volodymyr find work and security in the UK.”Volodymyr, now a bus driver at Brighton and Hove Buses, said: “I like it here in the UK, I have family here and see them quite a lot. I have a daughter that finished university this summer as an architect, it’s made settling into the country easier.

Brighton and Hove Buses. Picture via GoogleBrighton and Hove Buses. Picture via Google
Brighton and Hove Buses. Picture via Google

"I’d encourage my friends from Ukraine to come here, and to seriously consider being a bus driver like me. I get to be in a position where I’m responsible for 80 people for every journey and it’s satisfying.

Eloise Cornish, employer advisor Lead at Brighton and Hove Jobcentre said: “We’re thrilled to hear about Volodymyr’s job start with Brighton & Hove Buses. We met Volodymyr at a Jobs Fair and his positive attitude shone through. We helped Volodymyr to access the Flexible Support Fund for help with the costs of converting his Ukrainian driving license to a British license.

"At the Jobcentre, we’re all about making a difference and removing barriers to work. By partnering with local businesses like Brighton & Hove buses, we’re able to build a stronger workforce and make a difference in our community.”

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