Apprentice Ralph swaps cockpit for steering wheel


A former airline pilot has swapped the cockpit for the steering wheel after becoming an apprentice bus driver at the age of 65.

Life in the driving seat

Worthing-based Ralph is currently midway through his Passenger Transport Bus Driver Level Two Apprenticeship which is delivered by leading UK training provider Realise in partnership with Stagecoach, after enjoying a 30-year career as a pilot.

Having already completed the practical elements of his apprenticeship, Ralph has secured his Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) Licence and is now transporting passengers on journeys around the south coast, including Worthing, Littlehampton and Brighton.

Ralph is working for Stagecoach the UK transport giant which operates bus, coach and tram services across the country.

And moving into the driving seat on buses has allowed him to continue his lifelong love affair with transport.

Speaking as part of National Apprenticeship Week, Ralph said:

“I love any mode of transport and meeting different people so driving buses is the perfect job for me.

“To some people, it may seem a little strange starting an apprenticeship and a new career at the age of 65 but I’ve always been someone who loves to learn around my job.

“The apprenticeship has been a really enjoyable experience and the team at Realise have been fantastic in delivering the different elements.

“There’s so much more to the apprenticeship than simply driving the bus, such as customer service, route planning and much more.

“All of the trainers have been bus drivers themselves in the past so they are able to deliver the sessions through their real life experiences which is invaluable.”


I love any mode of transport and meeting different people so driving buses is the perfect job for me.

Ralph Turtle

A change of career

After starting his career in the Navy, Ralph spent three decades as a pilot for Flybe before its collapse at the start of the pandemic.

After a year working in Tesco, Ralph elected to return to transport by beginning his apprenticeship which is due to finish in the summer.

“I loved my job as a pilot but I’m also getting a huge amount of satisfaction on the buses,” added Ralph.

“There are similarities between the aeroplane and the bus because the main job with both is to get people safely from A to B.

“We are fortunate to have some varied and lovely bus routes in and around Worthing and the people make it an extremely satisfying job.

“Meeting and dealing with new people every day gives me a great buzz.”

About Realise

Realise provides first class skills, education and employment services to more than 7,000 learners and thousands of employers across a host of sectors in the UK every year.

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If you want to find out about how you can become a Realise apprentice click on the link and start the conversation now!

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