PD Ports: Attracting young people into logistics

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PD Ports

Currently many logistics companies across the UK are facing numerous challenges which are affecting the ability of the sector to grow and develop as quickly as it might.

There is a growing shortage of young people entering into a role in logistics which is proving problematic for the companies wanting to expand and develop.

Nationally the sector needs to recruit approximately 450,000 new workers in the next five years (with 1.2m workers needed by 2020), yet the industry is among those to recruit the lowest number of school leavers, second only to agriculture.

The issues facing the industry are being caused due to a lack of awareness surrounding the skills required to carve out a career in logistics, as well as poor insight into the number and variety of roles available.

More fundamentally there is an overall gap in understanding what logistics actually is and not just amongst young people but education providers and parents too. This lack of understanding means there aren’t enough young people enthused by a career in logistics. Of the current workforce just 9% are under 25 and 45% are over 45.

Increased competition for resources and a lack of skills required to meet demands created by existing and emerging technologies has led to recruitment and retention difficulties.

In the Tees Valley more than 8,000 people are currently employed in the logistics industry and this region along with many parts of the UK faces the challenge of raising the profile of logistics as well as accessing fresh talent and finding the time for training.

To help tackle these issues, PD Ports’ logistics division, PD Portcentric Logistics, in conjunction with Stockton Riverside College and national charity, Career Ready, has launched a new Logistics Academy on Teesside. Supported by NETA Training, the programme follows the successful implementation of a similar concept in Liverpool led by Think Logistics.

The aim is to collaborate with logistics providers, local hauliers and other like-minded businesses to deliver engaging and inspiring opportunities for young people that will deliver real value for everyone involved; the vision is to align the requirements of industry with the national curriculum.

PD Portcentric Logistics’ Director Jim French, who is also national chairman of the Road Haulage Association, said: “I’ve talked to young people of school leaving age and there’s a definite lack of awareness of what the logistics industry is about. Similarly, to my mind, there’s a lack of awareness amongst school teachers and parents as well.

“Logistics is a key part of all industries as it is about the movement and storage of products and people. Its purpose is to add value to a product or person by its location.

“This is a great opportunity to help raise awareness and we are only scratching the surface. There are currently 2.2m people employed in logistics in this country, that is one in 12 of UK workers, yet we face a great difficulty in attracting young people in to the industry.”

A shortage on our roads

Part of the issue faced by the industry that is made worse due to lack of awareness is the shortage of truck drivers.

Rising training and licencing costs have also played a part in amplifying this with less and less young people having the funds to enter this sector.

As well not being able to bring any young people in as drivers, businesses are suffering from a lack of licensed drivers available due to the substantial costs involved in obtaining a license and getting suitably qualified.

To address this issue, the Road Haulage Association has put a plan in place to ask government for more financial support to be given to companies that require qualified drivers to fulfil their business needs.


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