SEMLEP predicts jobs boom in logistics as its sector strategy is unveiled

Dec 22, 2013

With Milton Keynes, Bedford and Northampton now major logistics hubs, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership has unveiled its five-year strategy for the sector.


The SEMLEP Logistics strategy calls for an urgent need to recruit new as well as younger people into the sector, retain and train up existing staff and the need to transform the image of logistics into a viable career of choice.


Cllr Mary Clarke, who chairs SEMLEP’s Logistics Group, told a gathering of industry representatives at Northampton-based Norbert Dentressangle Logistics UK: “Logistics is critical to the South East Midlands and our central location, which makes us the most accessible area in the country.”


SEMLEP expects considerable demand for both management and elementary positions. 


The discrepancy between the sector’s workforce needs and numbers of people working in and entering the sector to work is identified as a pressing challenge and the SEMLEP Logistics Report, written by Skills for Logistics, calls for urgent change if the sector and UK economy as a whole is to thrive.


The area’s established regional infrastructure, combined with labour and low property costs, has made logistics the joint biggest employer in the South East Midlands. The region is home tocomapnies including Tesco, Smazon, John Lewis, Culina Logistics, Kuehne & Nagel and Wincanton.


The SEMLEP Logistics Report identifies three priority areas to enable the South East Midlands logistics sector to meet sector demand and to retain its reputation as a UK logistics hub spot:


Attract new blood, talent and competence Too few people see the logistics sector as a viable career option. The report recommends a portfolio of projects directly aimed at attracting new recruits into the sector to encourage younger talent.


Develop people so they can progress up the career ladder Evidence suggests that people who begin in the logistics sector can become stuck, leave and take their skills and experience with them.

There is need to develop people so they are work ready and also support people so they can progress up the career ladder.


Support The skills and training system often feels perplexing to a non-specialist – a system of funding and acronyms seemingly developed without the end user in mind.

Consequently, even when an employer or individual seeks training, the experience can be so gruelling that they may become disillusioned to the extent that they turn their back. This cannot be allowed to continue. 


Skills for Logistics, whose headquarters are in Milton Keynes, has identified sites across the SEMLEP area which have the capacity to support current organisations as well as future development potential.


These include Marston Gate’s Prologis Park, Magna Park in Milton Keynes and Prologis Park in Dunstable.


Chief executive Ross Moloney said: “We are proud to be working with SEMLEP to launch the first of what will be a network of similar LEP initiatives in logistics ‘hotspots‘ across the UK.


"Skills for Logistics is acutely aware of how the sector has developed into the region’s most significant employer, with a pressing need to attract local talent as well as developing and supporting those working in the sector.”

SEMLEP has already lined up substantial funding and expertise to boost the area’s logistics sector and is funding key transport schemes in 2015-16 and 2018-19 which include Woodside Link in Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Western Bypass, London Luton Airport surface access and A421 dualling from Milton Keynes to J13 on M1. 

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