All aboard for city firm’s big contract coup

Photo Neil Cross'Ascentis, Lancaster Business Park
Photo Neil Cross'Ascentis, Lancaster Business Park

A Lancaster business has 
secured a significant contract with one of the country’s 
largest transport companies.

Ascentis, which develops and provides qualification and assessment products for the education sector, will supply healthy living qualifications to transport operator First Group, with the contract potentially worth £550,000.

Fiona Lugiano, deputy chief executive at Ascentis, said: “We’re supplying some healthy living qualifications to support First Group’s 18,000 bus drivers nationally which will eventually be available to their families as well.

“We’re a medium-sized business in Lancaster and to be working with one of the largest providers in the UK is quite a coup for us.”

Ascentis is the largest awarding organisation in Lancashire.

It was founded in Lancaster in 1975, and employs 65 staff from its base at Lancaster Business Park off Caton Road.

The launch follows a trial period which has seen 43 First employees from the Leeds Bus Depot obtain their nationally-recognised Level 2 Award in Healthy Living, studied at GCSE level.

The qualification will be taken by bus drivers up and down the country in one of UNITE The Union’s Learning Centres, or on the First Group Learning Bus – which will tour the country making the qualification accessible to its 18,000 staff.

Mrs Lugiano said: “We approached First Group directly to run this qualification in partnership with the union UNITE, because they have a very big learning, teaching and staff development programme, and this will be a part of that. The health of their staff is of key importance to them. It’s one of the qualifications we offer to several different work based companies with staff that have quite a sedentary lifestyle.”

Ascentis also works with the majority of further education colleges in Lancashire, including Lancaster and Morecambe College and Preston College.