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Pilots will demonstrate the benefits of encouraging people to develop skills.

To paraphrase JFK, ask not what your industry can do for you but what you can to for your industry. The vast amount of experience and expertise out there in the logistics sector is a rich seam for anybody involved in training and skills development to mine.

Many companies, and experienced individuals within those companies, are passionate about giving back to the sector and wish to help mould the Logistics Sector’s next generation. While for individuals this will be an altruistic act, for logistics businesses it is all about investing in the future because in passing on their experience and expertise, raising levels across the industry, they will be sowing the seeds for increased opportunities in a more successful sector.

When launching the craft skills groups last year, Skills for Logistics was very keen that the groups include people with “on the ground experience” to produce the right kind of qualifications and requirements. In this way they would deliver what employers themselves actually want, not what logistics skills specialists or training providers think employers may want.

The philosophy of using the expertise of people with on the ground experience is one that we are also applying to the design of our own on-going programmes because over the next six months SfL – and the logistics sector – will be benefiting from the expertise of Graham Slack, training operations manager for Wincanton, who will be joining us on secondment for a couple of days a week.

When somebody has experience spanning over 20 years and has delivered 4,460 NVQ/ QCF L2/L3s, they have the potential to contribute a great deal to the sector as a whole. On his secondment, Graham will be bringing the benefit of his expertise to UK-wide projects specifically related to driver skills.

Like numerous others from the logistics industry, Graham has been actively involved with SfL over the last several years, attending workshops on the National Occupational Standards as well as being actively involved in our work on driver related issues. However, the secondment will specifically enable him to be a project advisor on a number a key initiatives.

He will be directing his experience at a training programme for Driver CPC Instructors and the Licence to Practice programme aimed at those giving instruction for licence acquisition, which SfL has been commissioned by the government to investigate.

Graham will also be involved in the development of the National Occupational Standards for drivers and the Professional Development Stairway, where the focus will be on the stairway’s lower levels and identifying ways to enhance the structure from the lower steps up through the stairway.

This is an important time for the stairway as there are three pilot programmes currently in gestation, which are prime examples of where it is being applied and how it can clearly demonstrate the benefits of training. These pilots involve taking the stairway and creating mini-stairways aligned to the internal three or five year plans of the companies involved in the pilots.

We are also developing an HR toolkit using National Occupational Standards that they can use internally for recruiting, developing and promoting staff. These pilots will not only demonstrate to the industry how the National Occupational Standards can be applied easily to benefit companies but also, by aligning skills development to business performance improvement they can show how the benefits of training people and encouraging people to develop become clearly apparent.

The secondment is not a one-way street of course and Graham will continue to work with Wincanton, which gains from the reciprocal benefit of having a representative involved with SfL’s activities who is also making a positive contribution to the skills agenda in the UK. Graham will bring back to Wincanton the knowledge gained from working on these programmes, which the company will also be able to pilot.

SfL is looking for more of this kind of engagement from the Logistics Sector to help with its projects and there are similar roles to Graham’s for interested parties to get involved in. We trust that Graham’s example will inspire others in all areas of the industry who, like Graham, have been working in their field for a long time and wish to give something back. If this sounds like you then please do get in touch and ask what you can do for your industry.

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