Fancy logistics? Join the club!

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Let’s seize the opportunity to replenish the logistics work force, says Mick Jackson.

There are signs that the UK economy is moving, albeit slowly, towards recovery; welcome news indeed for every business and individual that has struggled over the past few turbulent years. 

One in 12 people who work in the UK work in Logistics. We know that Logistics tends to take place in geographic clusters – around ports and key motorway intersections for example. If the average share of the labour market is eight per cent then in those clusters it is likely to be much higher.

SfL’s approach is to develop Local Logistics Community Networks. These words are carefully chosen. Logistics directly supports local economies. Materials don’t get in, finished goods don’t get out and services don’t function without a thriving and appropriately skilled local logistics workforce.

Inside the catchment area for each LLCN, logistics is an important employer. If we were a single employer in those areas running, say, a car factory then we would have a very big part to play in the local community. As a sector we have that importance locally. In a typical school, we may find that 20 per cent or more of the kids have somebody in their family working locally in Logistics.

Making use of funds invested by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, we have established LLCNs in a number of locations around the UK. Our Logistics Locker provides a toolkit by which local employers can engage with local schools and colleges and we are working closely with Think Logistics to the same end.

We have to find around half a million new employees for the sector over the next five years or so. School and College leavers will be an important source.

Important but not the only source.  There is also a vast pool of potential talent out there in the form of people who for one reason or another have been away from the job market for a long time.

A really important part of an LLCN’s role is to develop Job Clubs and mentoring services for those people and other entrants.

Yes, there is a “community” element to this but there is also a hard-nosed business case of getting people in to your company who, having been given the break will repay with loyalty. The Job Clubs and mentoring have been piloted in the Daventry/Rugby LLCN with Beyond 2030, an organisation specialising in bringing people who are “far from employment” for whatever reason into work.

Results from the pilot have been very promising and we will be publishing a number of case studies to show off what will prove to be a sound base for LLCN’s.

Job Clubs offer up to four weeks of training and mentoring from local employers to get people job ready. In this case it is by focusing on the key to getting people back to work: their mindset and identity.

In other cases it may be by getting school leavers ready for the world of work. Our recent experience on shorter placements preparing ex-service men and women for civilian logistics careers is another example.

Anyone who comes through the programme successfully will automatically gain membership of the Logistics Guild, which will offer support as they progress in a logistics career and take the first step onto the Professional Development Stairway. Not only will this professionalise those coming through the scheme but it will also give them an enormous confidence boost: imagine the satisfaction of going from long term unemployment to gaining a Work Skills qualification and becoming a member of a professional body with a clear view of an exciting career ahead of you in the Logistics Sector.

This is only the start.

We need to build more LLCNs around the country and Skills for Logistics is working with Local Enterprise Partnerships to develop the concept. If you are interested in working with Jobs Clubs in the Local Logistics Community Networks, being established by Skills for Logistics, please contact

l Skills for Logistics is the Sector Skills Council for the freight logistics and wholesaling sector.

SfL is licensed by government to tackle the skills and productivity needs of employers in the logistics and supply chain sector.

SfL’s mission is to enable employers in the Logistics Sector to gain competitive advantage by developing workforce skills. It aims to deliver a more productive UK Logistics Sector, enhancing UK
competitiveness in the global marketplace.

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