Mechanic turned bus builder celebrates 50 years with Oxford Bus Company

1 month ago Mon 10th Jun 2024

Oxford Bus Company: Long Service Award

Nigel Brown who started his first shift only three days after leaving school as a teenager has marked 50 years in his role at Oxford Bus Company, and he still loves his job!

Nigel left Headington Senior School – now Windmill Primary – in summer 1974 and 66 hours later reported for his first shift as an apprentice coach builder at Oxford Bus Company’s former Cowley Road depot.

The 66-year-old married father of two has since worked on every bus the group operates in and around the county to keep Oxfordshire’s roads moving. He’s met Prime Ministers, served his apprenticeship and continues to cycle to work from his Kennington home every day.

Born and raised in the city, Nigel’s initial responsibilities included welding, repairing and laying vinyl floors - he even hand painted vehicles himself. Today, his role is mixed with delivering road-fit vehicles to the Go-Ahead group’s 17 national depots.

Despite completing over 12,000 days since his first shift, Nigel still remembers his first job like it happened yesterday.

“I was so keen and just wanted to get on and work,” said Nigel. “I remember walking through the gates at the former Cowley Road depot and we had to find some overalls, then we got started repanelling a bus.

“And that was it – 50 years later I’m still here!

“I achieved some fair results in my GCSEs so knew getting a job wouldn’t be an issue. My father encouraged me to do an apprenticeship, and my cousin worked as an engineer at the time, so joining was a natural fit.

“I never thought back then I’d still be here. A few times I’ve had the opportunity to move on, but you put what’s best for yourself and your family first and Oxford Bus Company has been a great place to work with a fantastic team of people.”

Inbetween completing the London Marathon and Great North Run four times while continuing his passion for cross country running, Nigel explained a lot has changed to his role in the last half-century.

“It’s an intricate role,” said Nigel. “Repair jobs require a fair amount of welding where we’ll have to shape objects to fit the part of the vehicle we’re fixing and these days we’re working with more steel and fibre glass.

“I had the option to retire in March, but retirement isn’t quite on my radar yet. If you’re a regular user of the county’s bus network, I can almost guarantee the vehicle you’re on I’ve helped repair at some point – not many people can say that!”

Luke Marion, managing director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “A huge congratulations to Nigel for completing 50 years at our Oxford depot, a remarkable achievement.

“Despite more than half-a-century in our team, Nigel remains as enthusiastic in his role as ever which is testament to his professionalism and character. The role he and his team provides is essential in keeping the county’s roads moving so everyone can continue with their day-to-day roles.”

Oxford Bus Company is actively recruiting bus drivers, PCV drivers, engineers, and tour guides. Further information about the group’s list of vacancies can be viewed here.