Football hopeful Gerard hits the cross-bar with Travel2Train
Trainee footballer Gerard Duarte Dos Santos has kicked-off his apprenticeship with a reconditioned bike and cycling accessories from West Yorkshire Combined Authority�s Travel2Train scheme.
Gerard, who is a winger and has played in friendly games against Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United is a member of Brighouse�s Expro Academy. He travels to the town�s Dual Seal Stadium for training four times a week from his home near Huddersfield�s Greenhead Park. He also cycles home after late finishes at the Huddersfield restaurant in which he works at weekends.��
After finding out about Travel2Train from an advert at one of the Combined Authority's bus shelters, Gerard applied to the scheme, which provided him with a reconditioned bike, brand-new bike helmet, lights, lock and high-viz vest.
�I was so pleased to be able to benefit from this scheme,� said Gerard, who now cycles 80 miles per week to and from his workplaces.
�Cycling has been brilliant for my overall fitness on and off the pitch. It�s low cost, so means I can use my wage for other things. I can now travel to Brighouse and Huddersfield easily and can work late shifts without a problem�.
Travel2Train helps apprentices in West Yorkshire with travel to their apprenticeship. People who can travel by bus or train can apply for a free Student Plus Monthly MetroCard, valid on buses and trains in West Yorkshire, for their first month of travel.�
Those people, like Gerard, who are unable to use public transport due to the requirements of their apprenticeship or their job, face high-cost fares or prefer to cycle, can apply for a free reconditioned bike and equipment. Travel2Train works with qualified bike providers that give life to old bikes, making them look like new.�
West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair, Cllr Keith Wakefield said: �Improving young people�s access to apprenticeships, training and good quality jobs is one of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority�s key ambitions.
�Young people tell us that travel costs can be an obstacle to training and work opportunities and schemes like Travel2Train and half fare travel for 16 to 18 year-olds on buses and trains, which we launched last month, can help them overcome that barrier and, like Gerard, achieve their goals.�
Polly Webber from Cycle:recycle, the community bike provider for the Calderdale District said: "We think this is a really great scheme. People seem to be grateful for their bikes and it is good to see how it has such a positive effect on people's lives"�
Cllr Peter McBride, Kirklees Cabinet Member for Investment and Regeneration said: �Apprenticeships are vital as we aim to match people�s skills to the needs of the local economy. It is great that Gerard is now able to get to his place of work, but the real message here is that we will do all we can to make a difference to the lives of young people as they take their first steps on the career ladder.�
The scheme is supported by the Department for Transport�s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) and managed by WYCA and the LEP in partnership with Cycle:Recycle a community bike provider in Hebden Bridge. LSTF funding has been used to provide 150 reconditioned bikes and cycling accessories for people in West Yorkshire with a new job but no means of getting to it.
Anyone wanting to find out how they can benefit from Travel2Train should ask their training provider about Travel2Train, or get them to contact Nicola Whatmuff on 0113 251 7357or Sam Lister on 0113 348 1775.
ExPro Academy offers players the chance to train and play at a decent level under the gaze of club scouts and recruitment officials. Gerard is hoping the extra fitness he has gained though Travel2Train improve his chances of being spotted and signed to a professional club. �