Rachel, Go-Ahead London

Rachael started her career as a bus driver apprentice for Go-Ahead London. Here, she shares her story.

I was intrigued by the capital’s distinctive red buses and so I visited the depot for more information. The rest is history!

When my top-tier football career reached an end, I moved to London and was living near Go-Ahead’s Camberwell depot. I was intrigued by the capital’s distinctive red buses and I love driving cars, so it made sense for me to explore a career as a bus driver. 

I arrived in the training academy in Camberwell and quickly learned that I needed a UK driving licence. Admittingly it is something I had overlooked initially, however, it didn't stop me. I acquired a UK driving licence, increased my confidence driving on UK roads and returned to Go-Ahead London’s training Academy two years later.

The diversity within Go-Ahead London’s depots and garages is what attracted me to the apprenticeships programme. Coming from Nigeria as a professional football player, settling into a new country and learning the ropes in a new career; it was challenging for me. But looking around Go-Ahead London’s bus garages and how welcoming everyone was, it made me feel comfortable because you could see how diverse it was, it made me feel at home. I always had an interest in London’s iconic red buses and my passion to drive a double decker just grew from there

My family lives in Nigeria and Finland, and I live here in London with my partner. Luckily, I can speak English, but I am forever grateful for Go-Ahead London and because they really wanted me to succeed, and it feels like the support of a family. The instructors are enthusiastic about what they do, and they genuinely care for their students.

Rachael was initially assigned to route 185 – a busy route between Victoria and Lewisham. She is responsible for carrying thousands of passengers every week, and has driven other routes also include Dulwich, Clerkenwell, Clapham and Shoreditch. This is a huge achievement, from starting her apprenticeship and now out on the road serving bus passengers across the capital.

I can do what I love, and I learn whilst I earn. I feel fortunate.


Rachael has become a local celebrity at her local garage in Camberwell. It is not every day a professional female footballer decides to change their career to become a bus driver and she has previously been acknowledged in the Evening Standard and in MyLondon for her achievements.

Rachael played for Nigeria in the 2007 Women’s World Cup in China, the 2006 and 2008 African Women’s Championships and had an 11-year stint as a pro in Finland, winning the league title in 2013 with PK-35 Vantaa. Rachael was the first African female goalkeeper to achieve success abroad.

What advice for others wanting to change careers?

I hope that my story has inspired others from non-English speaking countries to take a leap of faith, I did, and I don’t have any regrets. Of course, there is always a hesitation and questions that go through your mind such as will I fit in, will I be able to communicate with passengers, will I be able to learn the routes and be comfortable driving a bus. The answer is yes, it takes courage and with the support of Go-Ahead it is possible.