Lack of skilled staff is a bigger issue in the UK than any other European country, according to the annual “UPS Europe Business Monitor” published last month.
Some 43 per cent of senior executives said they were concerned by the lack of skilled workforce and cost of labour – way ahead of, for example, Germany.
Perhaps that is not surprising when government figures show that almost five million working adults in the UK lack basic numeracy skills and 3.5 million lack basic literacy skills. In the logistics sector, that equates to 450,000 people with numeracy problems and 330,000 who struggle with basic literacy.
These are shocking statistics and it is not surprising that the government has earmarked money to do something about it. However, Skills for Logistics says organisations in our sector are not claiming what they are entitled to.
“In 2005/06 the logistics industry received just 1.95 per cent of Learning and Skills Council funding for work based learning, compared to 19 per cent in engineering and manufacturing and 13 per cent in construction.”
In this issue of Logistics Manager, SfL operations director Mick Jackson calls on companies to take the opportunities available to improve the skills base of the logistics sector.
“As the fifth largest industry sector we should be getting a greater share of the funding to upskill our workforce and reap the benefits. Public funding is available but only for publicly recognised qualifications. If logistics companies don’t adopt those qualifications such as National Vocational Qualifications and Skills for Life (such as literacy and numeracy), the funding will go to other sectors that do recognise them. That will put logistics companies even further behind their customers.”
Of course, he is absolutely right. The logistics sector should be taking full advantage of government funding.
We spend a lot of time complaining about the poor image that our industry has with the general public. But how often do we consider that this might have something to do with the fact that it is harbouring almost half a million people who can’t add up?
Malory Davies FCILT, Editor