A view to a skill

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This issue of Logistics Manager includes an article on vocational training that throws up some shocking statistics, none more so than the fact that on average French workers are 20 per cent more productive than their British counterparts. Oh, the humiliation!

In the UK, we seem to be trying to persuade ourselves that we are allowing low grade jobs to go to eastern Europe and the Far East so that we can focus on high value, knowledge-based activities. These figures clearly highlight the dangers of believing your own spin.

The requirement for an improved training regime in our industry is evident from the fact that, to meet government targets, some 161,000 people in the industry need to be trained to NVQ level two standard in just over two years.

Coincidentally in this issue, we look at recruitment issues relating to logistics managers in the grocery industry. We learned that many companies find it difficult to recruit good people into logistics management and the most commonly cited reason for this was the fact that logistics has a poor image, closely followed by the fact that people simply don’t know about the industry. It is all too obvious that the industry has problems at both management level and on the shop floor.

Skills for Logistics is pushing hard to get companies to encourage their employees to study for publicly recognised qualifications. Government money is available – it just needs companies to take it up.

By adopting qualifications that don’t just apply to the logistics industry, but to the nation as a whole, it will benefit from an improved public image as well as sparking more interest from potential young logisticians, of which it’s desperately in need.

Excellence in logistics is increasingly important as manufacturing moves offshore. The skills shortage can only contribute to the poor image that makes it so difficult to attract the quantity and quality of people the industry needs.

Perhaps it’s time to take the government’s money and invest it in the industry’s skill base. Wouldn’t it be nice to say we are as productive as the French?

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor

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