Bus company marks Women’s Day by celebrating rising stars

Southern Vectis supervisor Vik Man

Southern Vectis’ parent company Go South Coast is marking International Women’s Day – Friday 8 March – by celebrating the work and careers of some of its rising stars.

The bus operator is proud of its diverse workforce, and actively encourages women to build successful careers within the transport industry.

“In the past, our industry has been largely dominated by men, but that is fast changing, as we look to recruit the very best talent – and gender just doesn’t come into that decision process,” said Go South Coast managing director, Andrew Wickham.

“Those wishing to join our team can choose from a wide range of roles – from driver to marketing or engineering – and each offers its own mix of challenges and rewards.”

Southern Vectis supervisor Vik Mann left school in July 1990 and began a four year apprenticeship with London Transport as a bus fitter.

“I was one of two female engineers taken on, along with around 40 men,” she said. “I attended college over the course of the four years. Once I completed my apprenticeship, I was a night mechanic for around 18 months, which meant I was the only person in the garage for three hours per night shift. I then transferred to preparing buses for MOT during the day.

“Whilst in that role, I saw a notice asking for volunteers to gain a Transport Managers CPC qualification and enrol on a trainee managers scheme with Stagecoach. I got on both.

“I gained a Transport Managers CPC and a husband, who happened to be on the same course. I later moved to become assistant engineering manager, overseeing the daily running of the depot, before moving to the largest depot in SELKENT. with around 200 buses to look after.

In January 2008, Vik joined Southern Vectis.

“We had decided to move to the island as a family already – and then I heard about a supervisor’s job with Southern Vectis,” added Vik. “I have been here for 11 years now, and have seen a lot of changes for the better.

“I‘d love to see other women come and have a go within the engineering team of a bus company. You have to be open minded and have broad shoulders in a male dominated environment, but wherever I have worked, the blokes have been marvellous. Really supportive and helpful. Sometimes this can be a pain, when you have five ‘work dads’ giving you advice ha ha.

“I’ve had a great time working on the buses, and have made some really good friends. My career started because I didn’t want to work in an office or a shop. I think I made the right choice.”