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Building a Development Programme


The Go-Ahead Group is the UK’s leading public transport provider, providing over one billion passenger journeys through bus and rail services every year. The organisation employs over 26,000 staff to deliver outstanding transportation to customers. First partnering in 2012, Go-Ahead engaged with Gradvert to design a compelling graduate programme for the bus operation to support the organisations succession planning agenda. Having designed a comprehensive rotational scheme across five different operating locations, the scheme gives graduates the opportunity to explore and gain experience in different functions of the organisation. Having delivered an exceptional graduate programme for the last four years, in 2015 the group selected Gradvert to design and deliver it’s graduate programme for its rail services.

The Challenge

With the aim of succession planning across the organisation, The Go-Ahead Group wanted to develop a programme to attract top graduates to the organisation to plan for the transfer of knowledge across key areas of the business. Struggling with their profile in the graduate market and needing to freshen the view of the transport industry, The Go-Ahead Group partnered with Gradvert to build a comprehensive graduate programme and recruit top talent into key functions across the organisation. In 2015, having secured several rail franchises, the group turned to Gradvert to deliver their rail graduate programme due to the success seen on the bus scheme.

The Solution

In order to design a programme that was in line with the organisations goals and objectives, Gradvert used a four stage process to design both the Bus and Rail Graduate Programmes:


  1. Initially the team spent time interviewing key members of Go-Ahead
  2. From here Gradvert developed a ‘Graduate Profile’ of the ideal candidate
  3. The scheme was then built around the development of the Graduate
  4. The programme was launched

train driver

The Results

With the support of Gradvert, the Go-Ahead Group:

  • Attracted thousands of applicants throughout the UK and Europe for both Bus and Rail schemes.
  • Developed compelling graduate programmes for both Bus and Rail services.
  • Have placed over 30 graduates into operations and engineering positions.
  • Have fast-tracked 80% of their graduates into managerial positions.
  • Have successfully delivered the leadership and management skills of their graduates (with all graduates now managing teams of 50+).