Businesses step-up to cultivate future talent
Date: 09/09/2015

Businesses step-up to cultivate future talent

NORTH-EAST businesses have come out in force to see how together, we can help tackle the region’s logistics skills gap.

Stockton Riverside College, in conjunction with NETA Training Trust, Think Logistics and national charity, Career Ready, has announced a scheme aimed at encouraging more young people to consider a career in the sector.

The Logistics Academy will raise students’ awareness of the industry and the job opportunities within it by delivering industry-focused masterclasses, mentoring and internship opportunities, running alongside their full-time courses.

A call for businesses to get involved saw a host of industry leaders and organisations come together in a launch event, discussing the problems faced by the sector and finding out how the Academy could help cultivate new talent.

“The establishment of this Logistics Academy is a much needed intervention for a wide range of interested parties in the industry and represents a massive step forward for Teesside,” said Russ McCallion, Group HR Director for PD Ports, of which its logistics division, PD Portcentric Logistics, is among those to have already put their weight behind the scheme.

“As the promise of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ comes closer to fruition, it is vital that our region equips itself well and ensures that it is an integral part of that strategic regeneration of the whole of the North.”

He said: “Logistics will play a key role in the delivery of that vision, and it is essential that young people recognise that exciting and rewarding careers are available to them in a wide variety of roles across the industry.”

Also working with the College to develop a programme framework that will meet the sector’s specific needs, is transport and distribution giant, Devereux Transport. Director Ken Devereux said: “Transport firms have always had to recruit and train staff and deal with such issues independently. It is generally accepted that as time goes on there are less people entering the industry.

“The North-east used to have a large transport infrastructure, but the workforce is shrinking and aging and we’ve got to do something about that. The Academy is certainly a step in the right direction.”

National figures show the sector needs to recruit approximately 450,000 news workers in the next five years (with 1.2m workers needed between 2012 and 2020), and in the UK there’s a LGV driver shortage of between 30,000 and 45,000.

Taking a lead on the Stockton Riverside College-run Logistics Academy is Jim French, Director of PD Portcentric Logistics and national chairman of the Road Haulage Association. Of the Academy launch he said: “It is encouraging to see that so many people and businesses are responding in such a positive way. Logistics is a highly competitive industry yet it’s great to see businesses coming together. The thing bringing them together is a clear sector need.”

The Academy will be delivered in partnership with Career Ready, a national charity working with schools, colleges and employers to help open up the world of work to young people.

North East Regional Manager for Career Ready, Karen Fuller, said: “Our aim is to build bridges between education and employment for young people.”

Of the event she said: “This is one of the biggest launch events that we have seen. It is testament to the College and the area’s employers who are keen to get involved and hopefully recruit from the talent pool of students.”

Stockton Riverside College’s Director of Business Development, Michelle Elliott, said: “It was great to see so many employers attend the launch event. Employer involvement is crucial if we are to work together to address the needs of the Logistics sector.”

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