career: Public transport

What's it all about

A career in public transport can mean a number of things. Buses, taxis, trains, planes and even tram lines are all different types of public transport and each one comes with its own set of different job roles.

Ranging from driving the mode of transport to the customer service side of it, there’s bound to me something right for you.

If you enjoy working independently are focuses, a fast learner and geographically minded you could be perfect for a driver job. If you prefer to be interacting with people daily, helping customers and working as part of a team, a more customer service-based role could be for you.

There’s also a lot of work available behind the scenes, engineering for example is a key element to keeping public transport running at all times and ensuring the safety of thousands of passengers a day. The great news is, none of the jobs here require a degree!

What could I be doing 

What could I be doing

  • Bus driver
  • Train driver
  • Train guard
  • Engineer
  • Rail maintenance
  • Customer service manager
  • Ticket office worker
  • Cleaner
  • Private driver
  • Signalling technician

Routes in

As there are so many different potential job roles in public transport, there is also many different potential ways to start your career. For the engineering and maintenance side of public transport, and all the behind the scenes work on the tracks and roads, you can do apprenticeships and on the job training. This allows you to earn while you learn and gain qualifications that will boost your future career potential.

On the other hand, jobs like bus driving and taxi driving require a short while of training before you can begin working and earning money immediately. As i’m sure you can imagine, driving trains and flying planes takes a little bit more training but you still don’t need a degree for it.

All station jobs and customer service jobs on public transport can be gained without a degree, but employers will be looking for applicants with people skills and plenty of experience working with clients and customers.

What skills will I need 

What skills will I need

  • Customer service
  • People skills
  • Time management
  • Organisation
  • Team work

Been there, done that



We spoke to Jessica Ellis, TFL fleet maintenance apprentice:

I didn’t hear much about apprenticeships, I knew people that had done them but they were just in things like childcare and beauty. It wasn’t made to seem equal to university, it was more like if you didn’t get your grades maybe you could go on to an apprenticeship but they didn’t show you what apprenticeships were actually available.

I did apply for university, I applied to do dental hygiene. I had wanted to do engineering but I didn’t study physics so I couldn’t get on any courses.

It’s definitely on the job learning, even my tutor and instructor was telling me that if I studied engineering your taught everything about the mathematical and theoretical side but once you get out and into the work place they don’t know certain things because they weren’t given the chance at university. But this is on the job learning so I think this is the way forward.

Expert opinion

Are you an expert in this field? Then we want you to tell us what it takes to make it in this industry. Get in touch by emailing us at hattie@unisnotforme.com to find out more.



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