Skills Motor Coaches originated in Radford, Nottingham in 1919. It became a limited company in 1958.
Founded by Arthur Skill, the current managing director and financial director's grandfather, began by using his only lorry to collect fish from the early morning market and for light haulage during the day. Soon, he began carrying local miners to Bestwood Colliery, and in 1921 he purchased a Crossley Charabanc - Skills' first true bus.
A workers' service to the Celanease factory at Spondon was followed in 1927 by services to Bridlington and Scarborough, and later to Mablethorpe, Skegness, Cleethorpes and Southend-on-Sea. From 1937 onwards, the purchase of other operators has, at various times, added colliery services to Bilsthorpe and Gedling, stage carriage services to East Bridgford and Bestwood, shop premises on Alfreton Road and picking-up point and booking office on Derby Road, Nottingham.
The Skills Family
Nigel and Simon Skill began work with the family business while at school. During the school holidays they and their two brothers and sister would help to clean the coaches and then see them off from Skills bus station at the bottom of Derby Road (nowadays the side of the large roundabout at the top of Maid Marian Way). As a teenager Nigel would cycle from this home in Blidworth to earn pocket money cleaning coaches, leaving home at 4am. His father, who was by now running the firm, insisted they all learned to drive early and at ten year of age, Nigel would manoeuvre coaches round the depot for washing.
Nigel and Simon Skill bought the firm in 1987 to become directors. Continental tours were introduced in the late 1970s, and following deregulations in the industry in 1986, Skills has concentrated on the coaching side of the industry, investing in a first class fleet of modern vehicles, and offering luxury coach hire and coach tours ranging from day trips and weekend breaks to extensive tours of Europe and beyond. For the firm's 80th anniversary of service to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, staff raised over £26,000 for charity in six months.
In May 2002, Skills Motor Coaches moved to a new larger headquarters building, garage and workshops bringing to an end the company's long association with the city's Radford district. Mrs Sylvia Skill, daughter in law of the founder, Arthur Skill, and mother of two of today's directors, cut the first turf in a ceremony to mark the start of work on the £1.5 million development. The new premises at The Holiday Centre on Bulwell's Seller's Wood Drive / Belgrave Road, which became necessary at the Skill's fleet of luxury coaches grew, provides a single location for office, administration, departure lounge and call centre facilities as well as paint and workshop areas, and parking. The company changed its name to Skills Holidays to coincide with the relocation.