TWO major campaigns this autumn seek to create a shift in the perception of logistics.
The South East Midlands is home to a major cluster of logistics and supply chain businesses, with many globally renowned fulfilment companies, couriers and distribution parks: DHL, XPO Logistics, Mercedes, James and James, Amazon, Scania and Prologis are based in this area. Regionally, it is one of the fastest growing business sectors, with twice as many of the local workforce employed in logistics than the national average.
But “for too long, many people’s perception of jobs in warehouses is that they are low paid, unskilled and without the opportunity to progress,” says Robin Woodbridge, head of capital deployment and leasing at Prologis UK.
This is a sector packed with exciting global opportunities and needs to be championed as a great career choice.
Alongside the government-backed Generation Logistics marketing campaign, which encourages people to embrace the innovative careers that the sector really offers, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is piloting their next generation of Think Logistics. In this campaign, the mantra is ‘We’ve got to educate the educators’ to dispel myths and improve the information given to young people about the opportunities available to them in logistics.
To contribute, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership and the Careers and Enterprise Company, together with Prologis and CILT, hosted careers information sessions. This culminated with an event in October which brought together careers leaders from schools and volunteers from local businesses, enterprise advisers who work with schools on careers programmes and two major employers based at the DIRFT site in Daventry.
During the events, participants heard from apprentices at both Clipper Logistics and online retailer boohoo.
Analysis of over 50,000 job postings published in South East Midlands in the 12 months to August 2022 showed that a third were within logistics and supply chain. 45% of the roles advertised within logistics were for business operations, digital and engineering positions. There are growing opportunities for people with skills and talents in robotics, data and the design and digitalisation of systems and processes, along with commercial skills, from marketing and sales through to global customer service.
John Henderson, CILT’s Northamptonshire group chair, says: “We have been talking about making careers in logistics far more attractive for a long time. The key is to build two-way relationships between schools and employers in the sector. This initiative is starting to make traction, which tackles skills shortages and raises the profile of this key part of the UK economy.”
Logistics businesses are creating opportunities for employees to develop their careers. They are keen to attract dynamic, creative and forward-thinking individuals who can develop their businesses and help the sector to be more effective, efficient and sustainable.
Asked about the top three things learned at DIRFT, participants said:
- The vast range of careers available in the sector and the breadth of skills needed;
- The variety of routes into successful and rewarding jobs in the sector;
- The scale of the local logistics sector and sheer number of people we need to attract into the sector to meet growth demand.
“There is a groundswell of change and opportunity bubbling up from within the logistics sector,” says SEMLEP’s chief executive Hilary Chipping. “The pandemic put a spotlight on just how essential logistics is to the way we live our lives and the sector is transforming as a result.”
In partnership with businesses, trade associations and training providers, SEMLEP and the Careers and Enterprise Company Careers Hub are supporting better connections between schools, local employers and careers leads. SEMLEP is taking the lead nationally on behalf of the national network of LEPs to highlight the skills and sector development needs for logistics through official channels such as All Party Parliamentary Groups.
“Prologis is creating training programmes to support the specific and growing needs of the sector,” says Ms Chipping. “We must all continue in our efforts to grow talent locally and encourage people to look at job opportunities in local logistics companies. From operators to engineers, from drivers to project managers to software developers, there is great variety of career roles to choose from.”
Prologis’ real estate and customer services manager Liz Allister adds: “It was fantastic to host a first event for career leads and enterprise advisers at DIRFT. It ignited engagement and enthusiasm for the evolving world of logistics and the many career paths open to all. We look forward to hosting more career-focused events with our customers and stakeholders to support this fantastic, dynamic career option.”
FIND OUT MORE
For businesses who want to know more about the logistics sector, business support and training providers available view the SEMLEP logistics brochure or contact Business Development Manager, Richard Cook for access to information, sector data and analysis.
We are seeking more people from business to work with schools’ careers leaders to help improve local careers learning. We are also looking for many more businesses to open up their doors so more young people can experience what it is like to work in logistics.
With just a few hours, you can make a significant impact in helping to grow talent and inspire the next generation of logistics leaders. To find out more, speak to Mandy Green, operational hub lead at SEMLEP’s Careers Hub.