Transport Labour Market & Skills – Call for Views and Ideas

Transport Labour Market & Skills – Call for Views and Ideas

In a bid to ‘super-charge’ the transport sector’s skills and build a workforce for the future, Talent in Logistics have worked with representative groups to gather views and ideas on the most significant labour market and skills challenges across the sector.

Gathering views from the transport sector

On 22nd March 2022 more than 100 delegates from warehousing, transport and logistics businesses, and training organisations, from across the UK met at the Talent in Logistics Conference. It is an event where Instructors, Trainers and Operations professionals join sector leaders for insight into training changes and real-world challenges faced by the warehousing, transport and logistics sector.

On the day, one of the sessions was devoted to answering questions on the recently launched “Transport and Labour Market & Skills” consultation. It was an interactive and collaborative session designed to get views from all the delegates representing large and small firms up and down the UK.

Talent in Logistics has drafted a formal response for the Government on behalf of the conference delegates.

Talent in Logistics Conference – Delegate Views and Ideas

  1. In your view, what skills does the transport sector need in the future?

While it is a given that drivers need to learn to operate the relevant class of vehicle(s), there may be opportunities to upskill so that they can provide a better, or wider service. Furthermore, it should be noted that drivers need very different skills sets to the Trainers or Operations staff.

People and customer service skills are essential across the transport sector, and it is clear that IT and digital skills would be increasingly important in the future. The ability to adapt to new technologies is therefore important including the ability to operate alternative fuelled vehicles (AFVs).

From a recruitment perspective, it is suggested that HR teams in the sector need to improve their marketing skills to attract new talent and help collectively change the perception of the sector. There is also an ageing workforce requiring skills that may assist older drivers and for those that move on to mentor and coach rising stars, they need the skills and knowledge to do this effectively.

Direct suggestions from the sector when posed this question include:

  • Computer / IT skills (for both drivers and trainers)
  • Digital skills
  • Functional skills in information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • Marketing careers in schools/colleges
  • Adaptability to ever changing technology
  • Skills to operate more vehicle power types, including Alternative Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs)
  • Maintenance / repair skills
  • Overall improvement in skills / continuous improvement
  • Skills to operate new technologies
  • Experience, understanding technology, understanding environment/alternative fuel, marketing/PR skills, communication, structure e.g. training, legislation
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Marketing skills to attract talent
  • People skills / Soft skills / Customer service skills
  • Skills to use planning tools
  • Skills that help an ageing workforce
  • Maths skills
  • Skills to help with flexibility
  • Management of people
  • Advocacy skills
  • Skills for mentoring / becoming a role model / coaching
  • Internal communications skills for Interdepartmental understanding
  1. How, in your view, can current qualification and training routes be made more accessible for those who want to pursue a career in the transport sector?

A key factor in making the training more accessible is cost and affordability for the target market. Availability of more blended learning options nationwide would help alongside more funding (and easier access to it) for vocational training, and funded routes for young people which work without employment (apprenticeships/traineeships for example require an employer), such as through schools and colleges (GCSE/A-Level/T-Level Logistics).

It is important that the sector becomes more attractive as a whole. Open days may help to spread the message, as well as Government backed advertising and promotions in relevant media channels and on social media. Plus, promoting the sector, and challenging negative preconceptions about it, in schools and colleges.

Other suggestions include offering “student loans” for young people to use to learn to be a professional driver, or providing incentives for young people. Retraining and developing the homeless community, ex-prisoners, and other minorities can be achieved through programmes designed specifically for these groups.

Quotes from our sector delegates include:

  • Affordability according to the realistic salaries offered in the job market
  • Encourage blended learning to incorporate a modern approach
  • Funding for vocational training (equivalent to the University route)
  • Routes which don’t require employer backing
  • Open days
  • Training / apprenticeship levy – encourage, promote understanding and actively assist
  • Advertising / Promotions in relevant media / channels / social media
  • Academies
  • Improved Apprenticeships
  • Publicised in schools/colleges that there are sector recognised national training qualifications
  • Improve funding,
  • Review restrictions e.g. insurance, licences
  • More Government funding
  • Loans to drivers
  • Incentives at a young age
  • Retraining and development of homeless
  • Prison services
  • Make the sector more attractive for people who are not attracted to it
  • Cut the “red tape”
  • Raise the profile of the sector in general
  • Level up logistics careers
  • Bring education closer to sector
  • Make more driving tests available
  1. What, in your view, are effective ways to attract young people and career changers into a career in the transport sector?

It is important for young people and career changers to clearly see the career routes and progression, so they can see that there are good prospects and rewards.

Competitive pay, rewards, and work-life balance are important, alongside visibility of good working conditions. Seeing a day in the life of a driver or person in the transport sector may make it look much more appealing. Good facilities onsite and on the road would also help improve the perception of the working day.

Changing the perception that “being a lorry driver is a last resort” is crucial alongside promoting equal opportunities. Work experience opportunities help, but creating a better focus in the school curriculum and optimising apprenticeships will help further.

Roadshows, open days, and career fairs may also have an important part to play. In addition, logistics and supply chain coverage in the national curriculum would aid understanding and appreciation of the crucial role of the sector.

Ideas from the sector include:

  • Visibility of career routes / progression
  • Work experience
  • Schools curriculum optimise apprenticeships – educational improvements
  • Entry level barriers
  • Day in the life of (DILO) work experience weeks
  • Insurance has barriers
  • Change perception – Image change away from “I ended up as a lorry driver”
  • Great working conditions
  • Good facilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Competitive pay
  • Good prospects
  • Rewards
  • Open days designed to attract young people
  • Warehouse to wheels – hunt for talent in the warehouse
  • Better truck stops
  • Roadshows / career fairs
  • Review expectation of Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT)
  • Equal opportunities
  • Attract Ex-emergency services and MOD
  • Engage with leavers who are already skilled
  • Introduce into schools
  • Reduce working hours
  • Promote and focus on work life balance
  • Aim at students, advertise for customers in stores
  • Apprenticeships
  • Awareness
  • Make it exciting and attractive to be part of the sector
  • Create an easier path
  • Bring education closer to sector
  • Promote diversity
  • More clear career progression and development path
  1. What, in your view, are the barriers to further increasing diversity, inclusion and social mobility in the transport sector?

Stereotyping, unconscious bias, and the culture in some companies is a key factor preventing diversity. With this in mind, it could be difficult to introduce new and young LGV/HGV drivers, minorities, and groups such as ex-prisoners or the homeless into careers in transport and logistics. For employers, now is a time to re-think recruitment strategies and longer term initiatives.

Poor facilities in businesses and on the roadside may also prevent some groups joining the sector. Especially when considered alongside perceived low pay, tough working hours, and poor work-life balance. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the sector which may also give the perception that there is no career progression.

There also seems to be a lack of proactive management across the sector from those with diverse backgrounds. Also, generally a lack of role models who would help encourage more diversity. For the younger generation, there are very few social media influencers in transport sector, so it rarely registers as a career opportunity for them.

Some suggested barriers within the sector include:

  • Sexual discrimination
  • Transport/logistics is not introduced / promoted at secondary school level
  • Stereotyping in companies
  • Difficult to employ new / young LGV drivers (insurance issues)
  • Lack of finance to assist with licence acquisition
  • Poor facilities
  • Costs of entry
  • Demographic issues (male/female balance, the ageing workforce)
  • Low pay
  • Lack of knowledge / understanding of the sector
  • Perception of (lack of) career progression
  • Lack of upskilling opportunties– not available or not selected for
  • Unconscious bias
  • Lack of proactive management with diverse backgrounds
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Very few/no social media influencers in transport sector
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Lack of flexible working
  • Poor safety
  • Company cultures needs to change
  • Few role models
  • Lack of accessibility
  • Geographic issues
  • Public transport network
  • Historical preconception
  • Expectation of women raising children
  1. How, in your view, can barriers to diversity, inclusion and social mobility in the transport sector be reduced?

More training across the sector will help to mitigate against unconscious bias in the workplace. Without making the transport sector a comfortable place to work for everyone, staff retention will be low and it will be hard to recruit.

At the same time, raising specific awareness among diverse/minority groups will help drive interest in a career in the transport sector.

Targeting each group with messages that mean something to them will help make career opportunities more attractive and welcoming. Open conversations and engagement with each group will further improve the effectiveness of any communications alongside case studies to show “people like me” making a success.

More engagement with schools and youth groups will help break some of the barriers and building respect for people working in the sector generally will help change perception and attitudes.

Better health and hygiene in companies and at truck stops may also assist in reducing anxiety for staff. While incentives, good pay and rewards will make the job attractive, it may only mask some of the underlying issues described above.

Ideas from the sector about reducing barriers to diversity include:

  • Better health and hygiene in companies and truck stops
  • Opportunities at graduate level/many years of experience – introductions should be offered for all levels
  • More engagement with schools/youth groups
  • Investing in people
  • Build respect for what we do!
  • Consultation / engage with government
  • Get schools / education bodies involved
  • Training within sector to mitigate against unconscious bias
  • Proactive engagement with diverse backgrounds
  • Challenge public opinion, raise profile of sector to opinions
  • Reduce red tape
  • Open conversations
  • Feedback from operators/warehouse operatives
  • Case studies – to show “people like me” making a success
  • Incentives

About Talent in Logistics

Since 2017, not-for-profit organisation Talent in Logistics has been building a community of industry experts, sector leaders, employers of all sizes and training providers who share a common interest in helping the multi-modal logistics sector overcome people and skills challenges.

Talent in Logistics hosts a range of events (physical and virtual) to connect the multi-modal logistics community. Through conferences, webinars, and its annual Awards event,  Talent in Logistics provides a forum for learning and sharing actionable insights.

With its unique and total focus on people in multimodal logistics, Talent in Logistics is dedicated to providing high quality, accessible resources for the industry. This includes podcasts, research, white papers, publications and podcasts, alongside a free Jobs Board and ‘Learning Through Logistics’ resources to help encourage future generations of talent.

Davies Turner scores hat-trick with new board appointments


Leading UK independent freight forwarding group Davies Turner has made several important additions to the board of directors at its surface freight and logistics subsidiary Davies Turner & Co.

Head of Ocean, Tony Cole who leads on Davies Turner & Co’s ocean freight forwarding services, has joined Darren McLaughlan who heads up the subsidiary’s operations in Scotland, on the board, along with Jason Edwards, who is head of freight services for the company in South West England.

Tony Cole

Darren McLaughlan

Jason Edwards

Tony Cole joined Davies Turner in 1990 as ocean import manager and subsequent positions have also seen him head up the company’s Far East trade lanes. Whilst Head of Supply Chain Services, Mr Cole was instrumental in the launch and development of Davies Turner’s direct weekly Express China-UK Rail consol services in 2018, which go from strength to strength with bookings increasing continually.

Darren McLaughlan joined Davies Turner in 2008 and is branch manager at Davies Turner & Co’s freight and logistics centre in Cumbernauld, where his exceptional commercial and entrepreneurial skills have helped to make it a highly profitable branch.

Davies Turner’s freight operations in the South West of England is managed by Jason Edwards, who joined Davies Turner in 2000, and in addition to the Bristol sites, also supports Davies Turner & Co’s operations at its Southampton and Bridgend offices.

Davies Turner Group chairman, Philip Stephenson said: “In our 152nd year in the same family ownership, these appointments are part of an ongoing process at every level of the group to build our winning teams and safeguard the future.

“We have every confidence in the ability of the additional directors at operational level within our surface freight subsidiary to help the existing board to inject new ideas and energy to take Davies Turner & Co to the next stage in its development and expansion.”

PD Ports Scoops Gold Heath and Safety Award


PD Ports has rounded off the month of March with a fourth award win in as many weeks after landing an internationally-recognised standard for its commitment to health and safety.

The port operator received GOLD status from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) for the second consecutive year, and the third overall, for continuing to uphold the highest health and safety standards across its 12 nationwide locations.

The award completes a full-house for PD Ports who has also recently been awarded Maritime UK’s Business of the Year, CILT’s People Development Award and NEPIC’s Corporate Environmental trophy. PD Ports CEO, Frans Calje, was delighted that the Company had received national recognition in each of its key focus areas.

“Health and safety is central to everything we do and our number one aim is for everyone to return home safely to their families at the end of the working day.  Awards such as this recognise just how far we have come in driving a safety first philosophy across the Group,” said Frans.

“There is real momentum within PD Ports at the moment, as demonstrated by four award wins in as many weeks, and we must use that momentum to continue our proven track record of boosting economic growth, attracting long-term private investment at no cost to the public purse and creating high quality, permanent jobs.

“This is a fantastic time for all involved with PD Ports but our work is by no means complete – people development, health and safety and sustainability will remain at the top of our agenda as we continue to drive this business forward and support the government’s levelling up agenda.”

Organisations receiving a RoSPA Award are recognised as being world-leaders in health and safety practice and, every year, nearly 2,000 entrants vie to achieve the highest possible accolade in what is the UK’s longest-running Health and Safety industry awards.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s Achievements Director, said: “This is a fantastic and well-deserved accomplishment. All our award entrants demonstrate their unwavering commitment and passion for keeping people safe at work.

“By receiving this recognition PD Ports joins like-minded businesses and organisations worldwide, who represent the very best in their approach to Health and Safety. I would like to add my personal thanks for all the work that it has taken to secure this well-deserved award – congratulations to all those involved, who champion and drive up Health and Safety standards every day. You are a fantastic example to others in your sector.”

PD Ports will collect its award at the official ceremony held in London next month.

Trucklink EU Secures DVSA Earned Recognition Accreditation


Trucklink EU is proud to officially become an ‘exemplary’ operator in the UK’s palletised freight distribution sector having been accredited on the DVSA’s highly prestigious Earned Recognition Scheme.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Earned Recognition scheme is a scheme for all operators who can demonstrate a strong track record of compliance and adherence to standards. Operators must be able to show that they have robust systems and processes that promote effective and proactive transport management. Once successfully accepted into the scheme, operators will enjoy the benefit of a reduced burden of enforcement.

Operators who successfully achieve DVSA Earned Recognition status will possess a proven culture of compliance. By allowing DVSA to remotely monitor their compliance systems, checks can be carried out which will provide the assurance and confidence that the operator is effectively managing the transport operation and functioning in a compliant manner. In exchange, these operators may benefit from a reduced number of inconvenient and costly roadside checks and visits from enforcement officers thereby reducing the administrative burden of regulation on those who achieve high levels of compliance.

This scheme ensures that compliant operators with DVSA Earned Recognition status obtain best business value from the enforcement regime and creates a model that will drive up compliance and enable others to aspire to. It also enables DVSA to divert its resource to target the seriously and serially non-compliant where the risks to road safety are highest.

The road haulage company, which is a shareholder member of Pall-Ex, the No. 1 pallet network for quality pallet delivery and shipping, received its government endorsement last week, having proved both its drivers and vehicles meet the elevated standards of the scheme and demonstrating their commitment to compliance and best practice.

Trucklink EU has made considerable investments by updating systems and technology to ensure it met the standards demanded by the DVSA – which includes safety inspection records, MOT logs and measuring driver activity.

Nigel Todd, Managing Director of Trucklink EU, said: “I’m delighted to announce our achievement in securing the ‘DVSA Earned Recognition’ accreditation. This has been an intense journey of studying, implementing new technology, training, collaboration and scrutiny throughout our operations. The scheme will allow us to demonstrate to industry stakeholders and partners the excellent standards we adopt here at Trucklink EU.

“It’s strengthened our focus on compliance and demonstrates that road safety remains the highest priority for us.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to each and every member of staff here at Trucklink EU who have all played their part in securing this accreditation.

We now look forward to continuing to work with the DVSA to make Britain’s road safer for everyone.”

PD Ports Unveils Programme To Offer Glimpse Of Future Careers


Following two years of unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, PD Ports, the largest private employer in the Tees Valley, is renewing its call for businesses to do all they can to tackle the skills gaps, and challenge stereotypes and raise aspirations.

First trialled pre-pandemic in 2019, PD Ports has now officially revamped and relaunched its innovative Teesport Explorers programme.

The programme, which aims to give primary school children their first glimpse of potential future careers during a trip around one of the most progressive ports in the UK, will now be rolled out to primary schools across the Tees Valley in order to open the eyes of as many young people as possible.

Kirsten Donkin, Head of PR, Marketing and Communications at PD Ports, said: “Our first pilot programme of the Teesport Explorers was a great success but unfortunately our plans were brought to a halt as the pandemic took hold soon after.

“Instead of being deterred, we have used the past two years to redevelop the programme, build our relationships with local schools and really focus our attention on building a structured set of materials and programmes that will enable us to support the next generation whilst promoting careers in our industry.

“As a business, we have long advocated for our colleagues to do all they can to support young people, especially throughout the pandemic as the outlook for jobs and career prospects looked bleak.

“We recognise that the earlier in life children are exposed to career experiences, the greater the impact and the greater the chance of positively influencing perceptions and that’s why the relaunch of Teesport Explorers is the first step in a range of initiatives we plan to launch as a business to really drive opportunities for generations to come.”

The programme forms part of PD Ports’ widespread commitment to supporting young people and in February, the Company welcomed 30 children from Middlesbrough-based Pennyman Primary Academy on an exclusive re-launch trip to spend time with PD Ports staff from the marketing team, engineering department, harbour police, transport team and operations whilst taking in all the sights and sounds that the port has to offer.

Rachel Reynolds, a Year 5 Teacher at Pennyman who accompanied her class on their visit, said: “The port visit was an incredible opportunity for our children. It was immediately evident that it broadened their horizons and inspired future career choices they may make. We all had a fantastic time and hope we are able to return again someday soon.”

The re-launch of the programme is part of a continuation of PD Ports’ ‘Project Hope’ initiative launched in 2020 to engage partners in business, communities, charity and Government to find new ways to inspire young people.

BIFA Reintroduces Face To Face Training Programme

Personal Development Plan


Personal Development Plan

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has confirmed that some of its extensive portfolio of training courses will return to being conducted in person, as it strengthens the team of people that deliver that training.

“Delegates have shown their appreciation for being able to complete our various courses online since classroom training was suspended in March 2020. They have also expressed their desire to receive face-to-face training. Hence, we plan to reintroduce classroom sessions from late April 2022,” explains executive director Carl Hobbis, who has overall responsibility for BIFA’s training activities.

“Whilst we will recommence face-to-face training, our successful online training courses will continue.”

The first course to return to the classroom on 27 April 2022 at Heathrow, will be Customs Essentials. This is a one-day course that provides knowledge around the key customs documentation and regimes. It is ideal for someone with a basic understanding of the industry.

There will be a return to the classroom for BIFA’s four-day BTEC Intermediate Award in Customs Export and Import Procedures, commencing in May. This course is designed for those that would prefer a formal qualification and covers a wide range of customs-related topics.

On 26 May 2022, BIFA’s Freight Forwarding Essentials course will re-commence in person. This one-day course is ideal for someone new to the industry and provides a basic knowledge around the key documentation, modes of transport, insurance, bookings, charges and consolidations.

Hobbis adds, “Despite having to deliver our entire portfolio of courses online in 2021, it was an excellent year for the trade association’s training programme, culminating in our decision to appoint an additional full-time trainer to our training delivery team.”

Lisa Rose has joined BIFA as trainer – freight and customs procedures, giving the trade association a four-strong team based in Manchester, Birmingham and Feltham, which will enable it to deliver more training days for its members during 2022.

Lisa, who joins BIFA from Intelligent Global Logistics, will be based in the Midlands, and has over 20 years of experience in freight forwarding and logistics. This includes management and supervisory roles, including branch manager, covering sales, customs, customer service, documentation, special projects, and key account management. Prior to Intelligent Global Logistics, she worked in senior roles at Air Menzies International for over a decade.

Hobbis added: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Lisa to the team that delivers our freight and customs training. She has extensive industry experience, and in 2020 achieved a distinction in BIFA’s BTEC in Customs Export and Import Procedures, so has practical experience of the trade association’s training activities. Having her onboard will help us to further demonstrate that BIFA’s freight and customs training programmes are the most engaging in the industry.”

BIFA director general, Robert Keen adds: “Our previous prediction that Brexit, the switch from CHIEF to CDS, and the development of a relevant freight forwarding apprenticeship, would lead to a significant increase in the demand for our training programmes, has been proved correct.

“We hope to see more of our members start to take on more apprentices and Lisa’s appointment strengthens the team to have the resources in place to handle any further increase in demand that accompanies the growth in apprentice employment.”

Management must change to secure next generation of lift truck operators, Talent in Logistics research shows

Management must change to secure next generation of lift truck operators, Talent in Logistics research shows

A recent survey by Talent in Logistics, sponsored by UKMHA (UK Material Handling Association), found that more than half (51%) of male lift truck operators aged 30 and over do not find their management to be trustworthy and honest.  52% would also not recommend their job to family and friends.

These insights, and others, are revealed in a new report titled “What lift truck operators really think of their job”.  The research report also reveals that 47% of the 30-plus male demographic surveyed don’t agree that they are recognised for the job they do and just 42% feel that their opinion matters when a company is looking to change things.

“We are in the midst of a national warehousing skills shortage, so employers must take action now to retain skilled lift truck operators,” says Ruth Edwards, Operations Director for Talent in Logistics. “It is clear that some changes are needed at management level to improve communications, build trust, and make operators feel valued.”

“Lift truck operators are an ageing, and predominantly male, workforce – 48% of those taking our survey were aged 51 or over. So, as well as fixing these inherent issues, recruiting new talent is key,” she continues.

Female operators (60%) and employees aged 18-21 (100%) said they’d rather have a good manager than a 5% pay-rise, highlighting the importance of management on employee satisfaction and engagement.

“Positively, our research showed that these younger workers and female operators are incredibly loyal – 88% of the female operators and 100% of the 18–21-year-olds said they could see themselves working for the same company in two years.” says Ruth. “Their responses in the survey provide a good insight into what employers need to do in order to attract more people from these groups into the workforce.”

Young people are particularly interested in career development, with 94% of respondents aged 18-30 saying they want to progress in their career.

Work/life balance is also a high priority for young people, with 100% of the 18–21-year-olds saying they would prefer a better work/life balance than a 5% pay rise, and 65% of 18-30 year olds saying the same.

Some of the factors contributing to job satisfaction for younger employees include flexible working options, feeling heard and respected, and having the training they need to do their job effectively.  Wellbeing is another important area and, encouragingly, 86% of female operators said they feel the company cares about their mental wellbeing. The same percentage (86%) of female operators also said they find their company leaders easy to talk to.

The report also includes suggestions from lift truck operators as to how to attract workers into the profession, including the question of pay. The survey found that more than 50% of all lift truck operators surveyed agreed that they are not well paid for the job they do. All groups put equal or more importance on a 5% pay rise than on a comprehensive healthcare package.

Tim Waples, Chief Executive of UKMHA, who sponsored the survey and report added: “This report highlights some real issues within our industry that must be addressed. Lift truck operators play a vital role in the supply chain and logistics and, to ensure the welfare and retention of staff, employers must do more to ensure the safety of operators (and bystanders), whilst looking at what reward and recognition they have in place to ensure these experienced people feel valued in the vital role that they fulfil.”

Ruth from Talent in Logistics adds: “Much of the news about skills and labour shortages has been focused on LGV drivers but it should not be forgotten that a shortage also exists in lift truck operator and warehouse roles. I urge employers to read the report to gain valuable insights on how to better retain operators, and create a talent pipeline for the future.”

To download the report ‘What do lift truck operators really think of their job?’, click here.

For more information, call the team on 01952 520216 or email

PD Ports Announces Company-Wide Diversity Pledge To Tackle Gender Imbalance


This International Women’s Day, PD Ports, owner and operator of Teesport and one of the UK’s most progressive port groups, has announced its company-wide diversity pledge, making clear its intent to create a more diverse workplace and creating an environment that embraces change and supports progress.

The port operator has engaged diversity and inclusion consultancy Diverse Matters to begin a three month intensive audit process of the business that will enable PD Ports to build a benchmark Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

The first phase of the project will see PD Ports engage in desktop audits, policy reviews, focussed interviews and engagement surveys in order to make a full assessment of any potential diversity and inclusion improvements that can be made.

CEO Frans Calje said: “Our industry as a whole has a historic gender imbalance where women are significantly underrepresented. Studies suggest that women account for only 11% of the overall maritime workforce and, perhaps even more startling, it is estimated that less than 1% of that are women in operational roles.

“We must do what we can to tackle those issues and ensure that opportunities within our industry are accessible and attractive to all which is why I am delighted that we are starting on this journey of discovery so that we can really take hold of the issue and take practical steps to address gender equality and inclusion.

“It is also important, however, to recognise that diversity is a much wider issue. Our aim is that, by tackling issues of gender inequality, we can use our findings as a benchmark that will enable us to continue our growth as an adaptable and accepting business; whilst continuing to build a richer and more immersive business for the future.”

It is a well-known fact that people are at the heart of PD Ports and the Company has now embarked on this statement journey in the hope of further supporting its people whilst building a richer and more immersive business for the future.

PD Ports has a long and proud history of supporting young people, a commitment that now exceeds 20 years and is backed by award-winning apprenticeship programmes and partnerships with institutions such as the High Tide Foundation, the Tees Valley Logistics Academy, Teesside University and the Education Training Collective.

With this new pledge, the port operator is hoping to tackle issues around gender imbalance within its industry head-on, an approach praised by Natasha Broomfield-Reid, Director at Diverse Matters.

“We are looking forward to working with PD Ports over the coming months,” said Natasha.  “This is an opportunity for us to review good practice, areas for development and support the company with next steps in enhancing practice.  This will also enable us to get to know the company and its people.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Break the Bias’ – this is a time where we can think how we can be more inclusive to women in the workplace and a workplace that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive for everyone.”

BIFA Shows Support for National Careers Week

BIFA Shows Support for National Careers Week

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is supporting the forthcoming National Careers Week 2022 with a series of events aimed at demonstrating its commitment to promoting careers in logistics.

National Careers Week 2022 runs from 7 to 12 March and is a celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK.

The aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people leaving education.

With youth unemployment remaining high and BIFA members concerned about the shortage of certain industry skills, there has never been a bigger need for careers guidance to be promoted.

Throughout the week, BIFA will undertake a number of events, supported by a range of resources on its social media pages to encourage members to expand their own learning; showcasing the range of training courses available from BIFA’s Training team.

For BIFA, the week will commence with an online seminar entitled ’10 Reasons To Consider A Career In Logistics’ at 13:00 on 7 March.

In it, BIFA executive director, Carl Hobbis, who is responsible for all elements of BIFA’s Freight and Customs training, will be joined by Kyle Lawrence, chair of the London East region of BIFA’s Young Forwarder Network (YFN) – a networking group set-up for young people or those new to the industry – and finalist in 2018 for Apprentice of the Year in the BIFA Freight Service awards.

In this interactive session, using Kahoot, Carl will provide guidance to those considering a career in logistics, whilst Kyle will deliver the perspective of young people within the YFN about what they think of the industry since joining it.

Thursday 10 March at 15:30 will see BIFA’s latest Young Forwarder Network event taking place with guest speaker Sam Greenhalgh – vice president of sales Europe at Zencargo and host of industry podcast ‘What’s In The Box?’.

Sam’s career in the shipping industry started at the age of 16, when he joined a leading service provider on an apprenticeship scheme. Since then, he’s been on an incredible journey working in various roles. He is passionate about the freight and logistics business, and his podcast brings together industry leaders to discuss the hot topics and trends in logistics.

BIFA hopes that Sam’s story will inspire and empower young forwarders to consider their next steps in the industry.

The trade association’s events will culminate with a free one-hour online event on Friday 11 March at 14:00 during which James Billingham, a director of the Skills Office Network, will provide a comprehensive overview of how BIFA members can upskill their existing workforce by using apprenticeships and will show how they can help to resolve their ongoing skills shortages.

Billingham has over 20 years of experience in logistics skills and training. He worked closely with BIFA, and a group of freight forwarding companies, during the development of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, and advises employers and training providers on all matters concerning apprenticeships.

Hobbis says: “National Careers Week 2022 is the perfect platform to advise and inspire the next generation as they enter the world of work.

“The week encourages education providers to bring together students, local employers and advisers through careers events and activities.”

In addition to inspiring school/college leavers, BIFA believes that this week will also be a great opportunity for those already in logistics to focus on the next step in their careers.

“With a few days to go before the start of National Careers Week, we are urging BIFA Members to sign up, join up and promote the logistics industry as a career of choice within their local communities.

“In essence every week is National Careers Week for BIFA, and we remain committed to promoting logistics as an industry of choice for the next generation, plus supporting our members in achieving their own career ambitions.”

HR Hubs at the Heart of Europa

HR Hubs at the Heart of Europa

Pioneering independent logistics operator Europa Worldwide Group has completed the first phase of its substantial human capital transformation programme.

Europa Worldwide Group currently employs over 1,100 staff in the UK. It has expanded significantly across all divisions and locations in recent years, thanks to its bold growth strategy. This aims to achieve an ambitious £400m turnover target. Forecasts predict an upward workforce recruitment trajectory, ensuring the firm remains on track to deliver this vision.

The milestone marks the culmination of many months of hard work behind the scenes. The objective is to ensure the Human Resources (HR) function is strategically aligned with the organisation’s intended future direction and is fully embedded across all areas of the business.

As part of this approach, eight Human Resources Business Partners (HRPBs) have been appointed following a competitive recruitment process. This represents a 160 per cent increase in the core HR team, bringing the full complement up to 13 staff members.

Each HRBP is responsible for looking after specific divisions within Europa Worldwide Group’s commercial portfolio; Europa Road, Europa Warehouse, Europa Air & Sea, Europa Show freight, Europa Contact Centre, and Continental Cargo Carriers.

Emma Jackson, Debi Rodgers, Bradley Earp, Juliette Battison, Sherelle White, Clare Maund, Aimee Stokes, and Debra Marks bring with them a wealth of experience to the roles. Each has worked in a broad range of sectors and offers invaluable expertise across all areas of the employment lifecycle.

These eight external recruits join the firm at an exciting time, with a new HR structure having recently been introduced at Europa Worldwide Group. The HRBPs will report to the Head of Human Resources, Elaine Robertson FCIPD ACIPP. She has spearheaded the design and delivery of this transformation programme through the global people and culture strategy.

It is centred around the introduction of dedicated HR hubs across the business. These are a combination of physical workstation resources at Europa’s largest sites – packed with crucial HR information tailored to each employee – as well as the development of the HRBP offering.

In its most recent financial results, Europa Worldwide Group announced a record turnover of £210m for 2020, with target projections of £260m for 2021 and £300m for 2022. Profits are expected to be £10m in 2021, an increase of £6.4m over 2020 levels.

Around 77 per cent (859) of Europa’s staff work out of the 3plc sites in Birmingham, Corby, and Dartford. As well has being given responsibility for looking after the different divisions, the HRBPs have also been allocated to each of these sites.

Bradley Earp and Clare Maund will support Birmingham; Juliette Battisson and Debra Marks will look after Corby; Angie Reece, Emma Jackson, Sherelle White and Aimee Stokes will assist Dartford; and Debi Rogers will split her time helping Birmingham and Dartford.

Elaine Robertson, Head of HR, commented: “Providing the right HR support for a growing business is crucial. Our ambition is to harness the talents of all employees so they can reach their potential and enable Europa Worldwide Group to achieve its commercial expectations.

“Increasing the ratio of staff to HRBPs is a tactical priority. The goal is to seamlessly blend the overarching HR function into all operational teams. By facilitating, supporting, and empowering employees and their managers, the HRBPs and HR Hubs will enable better staff engagement and stronger business partnerships.

“I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our new HRPBs who join Europa at a pivotal time in its history. The Group prides itself on providing career opportunities for all. By putting a new structure in place to support this, the expanded HR team will be able to deliver day to day activities more efficiently whilst nurturing future talent.”

Underpinning the HRPBs and HR Hubs is a brand new, state of the art HR system which is set for implementation across the 18 Europa sites in the new year. All staff, be they office, road, warehouse or virtually based, will be able to access this ‘one-stop HR shop’ using the latest cloud technology.

The objective is to organise all HR services – including payroll, benefits, workforce, and talent management – in a single application. By allowing employees to access their personal HR information through the HR Hubs, processes will be pared back. This means the HRBPs will be able to focus on the strategic work that will boost productivity and commercial outputs.

The recruitment of a Learning and Development Business Partner is also underway, which will further complement this approach. The successful candidate will create and deliver bespoke training programmes to enhance the existing skills and capabilities of every employee operating at all levels within the Group.






Europa Worldwide Group has featured in The Sunday Times Top Track 250 for three years running and in The Sunday Times Profit Track 100 Covid-19 edition.

Shears opens new transport facility in latest investment

Shears opens new transport facility in latest investment

Bournemouth-based logistics company Shears Bros. (Transport) Ltd has opened a new transport facility in its latest investment to deliver service excellence.

The new transport hub is located on Bournemouth Airport’s Aviation Business Park, just a few hundred metres from the Shears’ existing premises.

The 21,500 sq ft warehouse, which has recently been fully refurbished, will become Shears’ transport hub handling palletised freight for the Pall-Ex network, of which it is a wholly owned subsidiary.

The existing unit on Aviation Business Park will evolve into a dedicated warehousing and fulfilment facility, further strengthening Shears’ service offering.

In addition to this investment, Shears has recently welcomed a new General Manager to lead the business into its new era.

Mark Houghton joined the business in November 2021 and brings with him vast experience in the logistics industry, which he has already put to good use in his time at Shears.

Having managed the operation for a prominent logistics firm, handling returns for some of the UK’s top online retailers and running service centres for a national courier, Mark believes he is well equipped to take on this new challenge.

Speaking about what attracted him to Shears, Mark comments: “The role with Shears is an opportunity for me to grow as the company also grows.

“Being able to lead the business forward at such an exciting time is an opportunity that doesn’t present itself very often in the logistics industry. I’m really excited to see where the journey takes us.”

Mark will oversee the continuation of Shears’ growth and support all staff in achieving the excellent service that the business is renowned for in Bournemouth and the surrounding Dorset and Wiltshire areas.

Colin Hawkins, Pall-Ex Group’s Director of Owned Operations has been instrumental in the acquisition of the new premises and to Mark’s appointment.

On both developments, he comments: “Shears is yet again taking great strides in improving its service offering for customers across the South West.

“Our new facility just a few hundred meters from the existing site means that we can offer greater flexibility and levels of service whilst increasing our overall operating capacity.

“Mark has many years of experience and has a proven record of delivering outstanding results wherever he has worked. I have no doubt that this will be the case at Shears and I look forward to working with him as Shears continues to evolve.”

For more information about Shears, please visit:

Pall-Ex’s Warehouse to Wheels scheme delivers first graduate to combat industry shortages

Pall-Ex’s Warehouse to Wheels scheme delivers first graduate to combat industry shortages

Pall-Ex’s Warehouse to Wheels programme, which aims to provide warehouse staff with the opportunity to progress into HGV driver roles, has delivered its first graduate.

The initiative has been identified as a key tool in combatting the ongoing driver shortages that have long been present in the logistics sector but have only recently come to the wider public’s attention.

Pall-Ex’s first graduate from the Warehouse to Wheels scheme is Kirill Sapelkin, who began his journey with the Leicestershire based logistics company in 2018 as a forklift truck driver.

Having shown skill and a willingness to learn, Kirill was offered the opportunity to enrol in Warehouse to Wheels when it began in 2020.

Kirill undertook training that was funded by Pall-Ex to become one of the business’ shunter drivers, responsible for the management and movement of trailers at its Ellistown hub.

Now, having passed his Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) and gained his HGV C Licence, he is qualified to drive HGVs up to 44 tonnes on the public highway.

This provides Kirill with improved career opportunities and increases his earning potential thanks to his attainment of a highly sought-after qualification.

Consequently, Kirill’s progress also benefits Pall-Ex, as it now has access to another HGV driver in a time when these skilled workers are in such short supply.

Speaking about his journey and his hopes for the future, Kirill said: “The Warehouse to Wheels programme has given me a great opportunity to progress my career and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of taking their career further.

“I’m pleased that the managers here at Pall-Ex believed in me and gave me this opportunity and I am looking forward to the next stages.”

The Senior Management team at Pall-Ex is very aware of the impact that driver shortages could have on the business and its palletised freight network, composed of over 90 independent transport companies.

Pall-Ex’s Operations Director, Paul Pegg, has overseen the implementation of the Warehouse to Wheels scheme.

On this, and Kirill’s achievement, he comments: “We are really proud of Kirill and his progression through the Warehouse to Wheels programme.

“Kirill has excelled in every role he has held with us here at Pall-Ex, and I have no doubts that he will continue to be an integral team member now as a driver.

“Our Warehouse to Wheels scheme is designed to support staff and help them reach their full potential, whilst helping the business develop a valuable, skilled workforce so we are really pleased to see the first graduate of many start their driving journey.”

To discover more about Pall-Ex and the roles available, please visit:

Pall-Ex Group is an award-winning network of hauliers comprising two leading UK pallet networks (Fortec Distribution Network and Pall-Ex UK), four subsidiary UK logistics businesses and ten European networks. A renowned name in logistics, Pall-Ex delivers an efficient and reliable palletised freight distribution service, backed by innovative technology and a first-class network of established shareholder SMEs. With its headquarters and central UK hub located in the heart of the Midlands, Pall-Ex is driving excellence in all areas, transporting more than 40,000 pallets across the globe every day.