Thursday 27th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Can we agree to agree?: Mick Jackson

As a Sector Skills Council (1 of 25), Skills for Logistics is charged with producing a Sector Skills Agreement which, put in language we understand, is effectively a service level agreement between employers in the logistics sector and the funders/policy makers who determine what publicly funded training provision is available.

Put even more simplistically, the importance of this document is that the twenty-five sectors will be competing for a share of the finite funding pot so it is necessary to shout as loud as we can through this process.

Regular readers of this column will know that your correspondent believes that for various reasons we are a sector that does not shout enough, especially when compared with other sectors such as engineering and construction. To date, we have therefore ended up with what we as a sector deserve which is a share of public subsidy around 25 per cent of what we should get on a like for like comparison with those sectors.

What can we do about it?

We have published research findings that identify the six main issues concerning skills development in logistics as:

The image of the sector

An unrepresentative workforce

Basic skills deficiencies

Other skills gaps for both operatives and managers

Little recognition of a business case for developing people

Concerns on the quality of training supply especially, relevance and consistency of offer across the UK.

These issues are all connected in a vicious circle which erodes the effectiveness of companies across the sector. To address the issues, Skills for Logistics has developed the dual vision of:

The Professional Development Stairway

A series of logistics academies to deliver a UK National Curriculum for Logistics consistently across the UK.

A very brief version of this vision is available to download from

Please spare the time to read the document and, more importantly then visit to register your formal agreement and support for the vision.

Quite rightly, the government demand to see quantifiable evidence of support from employers in the sector, not only nationally but also attributable to each of the home nations and each English region.

If you can spare the time to help, we can go to the decision makers in each nation and each region and put a very strong case, with named employers, backed up with the number of people they employ and a real sense of how logistics contributes to the economy in each nation and region.

If we do, we can then start to get this sector some of the attention and subsidies that its position as the fifth largest UK industry sector deserves. If we don’t the implications are unthinkable.

Of course, if you disagree with the diagnosis and the vision, it is just as important that you let us know through the same route.

Whether you agree or disagree, this is a call for you to do something by reading four short pages and checking some boxes. Please help now.