Robert on his role and making a difference

Robert on his role and making a difference

In his first #lovemybus interview, we get an insight into Robert’s role, how it has changed over the pandemic and what he loves about his job.

“I’m the Stakeholder Engagement Officer for First Bus across Scotland and deal with correspondence between the company and their elected members such as MPs, MSPs, local councillors and then down into community councils.

I will liaise with them back to the senior leadership team, Commercial Directors, Managing Director etc. The Scotland team is quite a small team, a bus operator will have its own individual team. However, we’ve got one team between three companies so my role is to facilitate those senior teams so that they are available where they need to be and if there’s any diary clashes then I can step in, in their place and then report back which means we get the best out of the senior team whilst managing our reputation within political circles and wider stakeholders.

The pandemic has affected us in quite some way! At the moment and for the past year we’ve been unable to meet stakeholders face to face and normally we would go to local meetings or we would invite a stakeholder in for a chat into the Depot which doubles as our Head Office and we just can’t do those things anymore in the current climate.

We’ve had to diversify like everyone else and do things like Zoom and try and keep those relationships going. What I would say is that the pandemic has also changed the narrative from stakeholders as well. In the grand scheme of things, there is clearly more important things going on in the world in terms of trying to keep everyone safe and there’s been less of the bread and butter stuff like ‘my constituent’s bus didn’t turn up’. These things are not apparent at the moment because it’s essential travel only.

My favourite part of my job would be pre pandemic and that is meeting different people, having interactions with them with a view to making a difference in their community which could be by making a change or making something better or easier in some way. And when something like that works out and you get a good result that benefits both the company and the community it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!!

My role covers all areas from Aberdeen, Stirling, Forth Valley, Falkirk down into West Lothian and Edinburgh, and then over to Glasgow which is the biggest area with Lanarkshire, Paisley and Eastwood, so huge areas.

I try to use public transport as much as possible. It’s easy to do in the central belt from home but if I’m doing a round robin and needing to cover a lot of bases in one day then I sometimes need to use the car as it would take too long on public transport which isn’t ideal.

If travelling to/around Aberdeen for example we would use the coach or the train to get there and we would stay overnight so that we can have the time needed to meet with all the local stakeholders, chambers of commerce and see if we can help in anyway. It can be quite intensive when the world is open on a normal week.”