Jobless Wilko staff in Cumbria and Lancaster are being offered a lifeline by bus company, Stagecoach.

Following the unsuccessful buyout of Wilko, all 400 high street branches are set to permanently close, with some, including those in Barrow, Carlisle, Cockermouth, Workington, Whitehaven and Lancaster, closing as early as this week.

Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, in response, has immediate start bus driver vacancies for those possessing a valid PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) licence.

Anyone without a PCV licence, but looking to retrain, will have all their training costs covered, up to a total of £4,000, and will earn a salary from day one.

Tom Waterhouse, interim CEO for Cumbria and North Lancs, said: “The closure of any business is always a sad time, and everyone at Stagecoach sends their support to everyone affected by the job losses at Wilko.

“The losses have come at a particularly difficult time, given the current economic climate, but we are keen to do whatever we can to help support those left without work.”

Waterhouse pledged that all applications received from former Wilko staff for jobs within Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire will be processed swiftly.

This, coupled with the potential for immediate start dates, works to minimise the time these individuals are left unemployed.

“As a bus operator transporting millions of passengers everyday, we are able to offer staff a secure job, guaranteed hours and good rates of pay,” Mr Waterhouse said.

Vacancies and application details can be found online for those interested.