Sunday 23rd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Traineeships come to the UK

It’s an idea that started in Australia, and now SfL is rolling it out here.

Lots of people want to progress in their careers, maybe even most people. Many employers know the value of training their staff. But I’m sure we all know people and organisations which get put off because they don’t have the time or inclination to deal with the perceived hassle of finding the right course or the right training provider.

Many of you will be familiar with the Professional Development Stairway, which has been created by Skills for Logistics. This is a free tool which can be accessed by anyone via the SfL web site. It will help anyone do the things outlined above, and much more besides.

It has also been an important conceptual tool, which has helped to direct SfL’s qualification reform work. We’ve been able to see where pathways to progression already exist – where somebody can train and gain the necessary skills to reach whichever level they wish. We can see where these pathways have been incomplete and have needed fixing, and likewise we could easily see where there was no provision evident. Some supply chains have more qualifications than others, likewise, some sub-sectors. Some regions of the country are better catered for. And so we have looked to create frameworks and qualifications, which plugged these gaps.

In the course of our work it has become apparent that employers and employees aren’t always happy with the training offered particularly to new entrants to the sector. We know of good pre-employment training. But our research tells us that on occasion pre-employment training was too generic, too broad and sometimes boring. Consequently it was sometimes undervalued. Learning about teamwork and numeracy is of course crucial, but so too is a working knowledge of the industry. Or an understanding of where a particular job fits in the wider company.

In terms of pathways, it hasn’t always been clear what an individual should do as a first step if they wanted to enter the sector. And while we hear of excellent introductory corporate packages, to us, this felt like something that should be offered as a national, publicly funded offer.

In Australia they have a history of “traineeships”, a pre-apprenticeship piece of formal training which has a standalone value, but which also leads a candidate into further learning and development. Some time ago SfL started exploring whether there would be a value to bringing this solution into the UK logistics sector.

In the current economic climate, government is understandably looking to get young people into work. Consequently, traineeships are set to be rolled out as an offer initially to young people which will get them not just work ready, but also career ready. There was a recent government consultation on what traineeships should look like, and many of you may have responded.

While traineeships will initially focus exclusively on young people, SfL is keen to open them up so that they become a recognised way by which to give all new recruits necessary job skills. For us, we see why there should be a tailored solution for ex-offenders, or anyone returning to work after a career break. Real, on the job learning that gives people experience, confidence and interview practice, ticks a lot of boxes.

Of course, there are massive benefits to the government in getting people ready to work. But employees and employers get a value from this too. SfL will be working to make sure that this new policy initiative reflects the needs of industry, and we will be hoping that the Craft Skill Groups we support will be key ways by which to fully understand the needs of employers.

At this time of year, a lot of people are thinking about how to “grow their own”. Engaging with traineeships feels like a great way for employers to get the right new recruits into their businesses.

* Skills for Logistics is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the freight logistics and wholesaling sector. SfL works alongside companies in the UK that are involved in moving, handling, storing and wholesale of goods. SfL is licensed by government to tackle the skills and productivity needs of employers in the logistics and supply chain sector. Established in 2003, SfL’s mission is to enable employers in the Logistics Sector to gain competitive advantage by developing workforce skills. It also aims to deliver a more productive and efficient low carbon UK Logistics Sector, enhancing UK
competitiveness in the global marketplace.