A TEAM of new bus drivers are now behind the wheel thanks to a local employment scheme.

Six local men who were out of work secured a place on the eight-week programme and are now on board at McGill's.

The project was run by Inverclyde Council, Riverside Inverclyde and the Community Development Trust.

David Taylor, depot manager for McGill's, said: "It's turned out very well for everyone.

"The trainees have been an absolute pleasure.

"I just wish we could get more."

Bus driver Arthur Keane, 59, says the training course was just the ticket after he lost his last job.

He said: "I had been working in the building trade then I became unemployed last Christmas.

"This opportunity came along with the Trust and it's been a great experience."

Arthur, from Gibshill, previously had a go at being a bus driver in 2010 but ran out of funds.

He said: "This time it was all paid through the Trust.

"I can't thank them enough."

Kevin Millar, a senior employer engagement worker with Inverclyde Community Development Trust, said: "This is a joint public private and third sector initiative led by the council, Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Community Development Trust.

"The success of this programme is further evidence of the positive impact of partnership working and investment in providing unemployed Inverclyde residents access to the industry recognised training that helps secure sustainable employment.

"Working collaboratively with McGill's Buses, we have developed an effective eight-week sector specific training model that creates a local talent pool to meet business recruitment needs and training requirements.

"This not only presents life changing opportunity for individuals but also contributes towards Inverclyde’s wider social and economic benefit.

"We wish all our trainees well and are confident that they will prove to be much valued additions to the driving staff at McGills."

Andrew Bowman, of Riverside Inverclyde, said: "This is the second one we've done, the first was with WH Malcolm and on the success of that we introduced a driving programme with McGill's, creating employment for Inverclyde residents."