National Express launch Youth Promise
Our Deputy Director for Wales, Barclay Davies recently attended the launch of The National Express Youth Promise.
Developed in partnership with The British Youth Council,it is built around five core pledges made by the national coach operator.
An ongoing commitment to deliver value travel
Working at a grassroots level with young people in the communities across the UK
Supporting young people into work and education
Delivering the most accessible public transport network possible
Providing platforms on which to showcase youth talent.
Young people from the Youth Parliament including those who advised on the government’s Youth Select Committee’s report on transport were specially selected by the UK’s biggest coach operator to advise on the package, which is believed to be a first in the UK travel industry. It represents a shift in gear for the transport operator by offering a dedicated focus to young people aged 15-26 as well as the traditional student market which is readily associated with National Express.
To date, National Express remains the only transport company to have followed up on the Youth Select Committee’s report of Transport and Young People. This recommended the involvement of young people in regards to transport decision-making, engaging with disabled young people in discussions about access to public transport and the provision of affordable travel.
Amongst other things, the National Express Youth Promise will see the coach company create apprenticeships, roll out a structured work experience scheme and invest thousands of hours in young people’s causes. All National Express staff will be given a day’s paid annual leave every year to spend conducting voluntary youth work. Unlike some other major organisations, some of whom pay younger staff less than those older employees in the same role, National Express also remains committed to offering equal pay for the same role for all frontline staff, regardless of their age.
To ensure the coach operator stays on track, a Youth Panel will be created to continually engage with young people and help maintain regular dialogue around the issues affecting young person’s travel.
Additionally, the Covent Garden event saw the UK’s largest coach operator announce major new partnerships with The Scouts, The Prince’s Trust and disabled children’s charity Whizz Kidz.
The then Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd MP said: “In launching this Youth Promise, designed by young people, National Express has demonstrated their commitment to supporting the next generation. More than that, they have shown that they are prepared to give young people a genuine say in how things work, and then to listen. We now look forward to this promise being delivered.
“This is an excellent example of cross-sector collaboration with National Express working with the British Youth Council and other charities. We urge others to do the same and let the young people who will shape our future start improving things for them from today.”
Marc Kidson Chair of the British Youth Council said: “National Express is an institution and travelling on its coaches has long been seen as a rite of passage for students across the UK. Time and time again we hear that transport is one of the areas which matters the most to young people so it is absolutely fantastic to see this company take its commitment to young people even further with its groundbreaking Youth Promise, which we believe is industry-leading. To date, National Express remains the only transport company to have followed up on the Youth Select Committee’s report on transport and we hope the Youth Promise inspires other companies to create similar schemes.”
Tom Stables, Managing Director, National Express UK Coach said: “In partnership with The British Youth Council we are absolutely thrilled to launch The National Express Youth Promise which has been designed for young people by their peers. Transport is an absolutely crucial area for young people – it signifies their first steps towards independence, offers the opportunity to connect with family and friends and a means to explore the wider world and all the opportunities that go with it. It was absolutely crucial to us to engage with young people on our plans from the outset – and we didn’t want an easy ride. Thanks to the input of all the young people involved we’ve been able to pull together a package of benefits which we really hope will benefit young people in all parts of the UK. We’d like to say an enormous thank you to all involved and we really look forward to continued engagement via our new Youth Panel.”