Freight association urges members to consider recruiting apprentices

As National Apprenticeship week comes to an end, the British International Freight Association has repeated its call for freight forwarding and logistics companies to consider recruiting apprentices.

An executive director of BIFA, Carl Hobbis said: “We know it’s a tough call, with the pandemic and the post transition period continuing to disrupt many freight forwarders’ operations.

“There has been a sharp decline in the number of individuals that have started their journey on the International Freight Forwarding specialist apprenticeship.

“Forwarding businesses have many difficult commercial decisions to make, but shelving apprenticeships should not be one of them.

“It is vital to continue to recruit freight forwarding apprentices and build capacity to start equipping a new generation with the knowledge and skills to face the challenges ahead in the post EU-Exit and post Covid-19 world.”

BIFA says that the fall in apprenticeships is not just a freight industry problem. Government statistics show a sharp decline in apprenticeship starts across the entire country. However, for the freight industry the issue is even more acute because of a huge upsurge in its workload both before and after the end of the EU-Exit transition period.

Hobbis,  who has management responsibility for BIFA’s training and development services, adds: “We are at an important crossroads and we must protect the future of the sector as we meet the changing supply chain management demands that have resulted from the pandemic and the UK’s exit from the EU.”

He says that the International Freight Forwarding specialist apprenticeship, which BIFA helped to create in 2018, is an ideal entry point for the industry with around 500 apprentices having taken the pathway already, with great success.

He adds that available finance should not be an issue. Significant funding is available as part of the government’s support scheme for training and apprenticeships. Until March 2021, to support employers to take on more apprentices, the government is offering up to £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire.

In a message to individuals considering an apprenticeship in the sector, BIFA points to the fact that the freight and logistics industry will always be needed in an increasingly globalised world where there will always be a need to manage international supply chains, which are in a constant state of flux.

It adds that EU-Exit is bringing new and different challenges and opportunities, such as the potential for new staff that need training to lead the way in customs procedures.

Hobbis concludes: “With over 1,400 members of BIFA all around the UK, there is likely to be a potential employer close to anyone that wishes to start an International Freight Forwarding specialist apprenticeship.

“Now, more than ever, we need to promote the industry and give young people employment opportunities. We have had an apprenticeship standard for international freight forwarding for three years and the sector has been in the news more than ever, so what a great time to encourage someone to consider a career in forwarding.”


How to use education partnerships to attract young talent in logistics

element digital

As a sector tackling a skills shortage and with tough times ahead for the economy, raising positive awareness of logistics industry careers with the next generation of talent is vitally important. But where should you start? And what are the benefits?

We spoke to Ian Nichol from Career Ready, Andy Page from Business on the Move, and Bethany Fovargue from NOVUS Trust for their advice and tips.

1. First, be clear what you want to achieve

Be very clear from the outset about what you want to achieve from your partnership with education, whether that is a school, university, or college. You can only know if you’re successful if you are clear about what you want to achieve in the first place. Also be clear about what business commitment you have, in terms of staff time and any resources you might be able to offer before you even engage. Get any approval needed before you start the conversation.

2. Do your research

Research the education provider, just like you would a business client to check they’re the right partner for you. There are school websites, prospectuses, and curricula available, so look at them all first. All schools are also now legally required to publish their careers policy, so that will provide insight into how it approaches engagement with employers. Also, check out who’s on the governing body and has specific responsibility for employer engagement, because that might be a useful discussion point or entry point. 

People in your own business may have already got contacts in the school or college, so check within your own staff team if anyone is already in contact with them, as they might be a useful source of information.

Plus, think about and understand some of the parameters that all schools have to work within. If you’re working with a school, do you know what exactly Ofsted is? And what the league tables are? Or if you want to work with a business school, expect that they want to 6 to 12 months ahead, especially in the current environment. 

3. Engage with the right person

To initially engage, try to make personal contact and avoid email. Start at the top if you can, as you’ve got to get CD leadership and senior management team behind what you want to do. Identify key personnel, such as someone in charge of work-related learning, or a key department for a particular subject or specialism. 

Be prepared with reference material to back up what you are talking about, such as a website or testimonials, and be clear on the nature of the relationship you are looking for. Is it a long-term relationship? Or a one-off engagement? Be honest and upfront.

4. Get the first meeting right!

It sounds obvious, but make sure you go into the right building, to the right site, especially schools that can have split site buildings! And make sure your car parking is arranged so you don’t lose planned meeting time.  

In terms of the sort of key issues and questions that you’re likely to discuss, don’t assume that you’re the first employer offering to do this sort of thing. Find out what the school’s been doing in this area before as there is unlikely to be a blank canvas to start from.

Go in listening mode to find out exactly what the school might be looking for. If they’ve got no ideas, then you can suggest some but try to start from where they are at. If you’re going in with a specific programme or offer, then make sure that it is clear and that you’ve got evidence that it works. Make it clear what you’re going to get out of it – that’s nothing to be embarrassed about as the relationship should be on the basis of mutual benefit, for education and business. 

Have a plan but be flexible. You may hit upon something in that meeting that you hadn’t anticipated but is a great opportunity so you can go away and consider how your business can meet that curriculum need.

5. Understand the barriers

The language and the cultures are different between business and education so businesspeople need to appreciate this in any engagement with schools. Response times from schools may be longer than businesses normally expect as teachers have limited time available to reply to emails.  Likewise, universities will need time to talk to their teaching staff before any decisions are made. Also, in the current climate, employers will need to be patient. There is catching up to do so many programmes may not resume for some time and may not be able to be face to face.

For university engagement, one of the biggest challenges is that the academic calendar runs very closely to the logistics calendar. So, it may be the Christmas peak when an institution is requesting a guest lecturer. In that case, businesses do not have to send a very senior figure – it really doesn’t matter who speaks as long as they are passionate about the company and the sector. Many businesses send apprentices into schools to speak with great results.

6. Get help from the experts

For businesses needing reassurance, there’s now an infrastructure in place via an organisation called the Careers and Enterprise Company, with more than 30 careers hubs in place in a range of local enterprise partnership areas. The hubs include schools, colleges, universities, and employers and each local enterprise partnership has an enterprise advisor, who’s there to advise employers and support them in engaging with schools. The local Chamber of Commerce may also have relationships in place.

There is a whole range of charities that engage with schools. Many charities have programmes that employers can tap into. Whether it’s delivering a talk for an hour, or something more involved, like mentoring, skills masterclasses, workplace visits, work placements or paid internships. These charities provide the infrastructure to ensure that businesses can engage successfully with schools and give employers the support for a successful outcome.

To make engagement with universities easier, there is usually an employability office in place to help employers get in front of young people and secure that talent. This can include jobs boards and graduate placement but generally offers a much more extensive service than this, enabling employers to choose how and when to engage with students.

7. Talk about what really matters

Educational partnerships are a great opportunity to promote your company brand, but also a great opportunity to promote the logistics profession and that is very important.  Aim to show students a range of different opportunities depending on what they want to do after they leave school or college. 

Avoid acronyms and jargon – these won’t mean anything to the young people you’re talking to. Keep it short and case study based is good for engagement. Share numbers where possible. What are your volumes? What are your turnovers? What inventory are you carrying? Young people are often awed by these statistics.

Always, give time for questions. Sometimes you’ll get good ones, sometimes you won’t. But it really helps to build that perception that we’re a profession that cares about young people’s development and that wants them to feel that we’re open, honest and they can interact with us. Allowing time for questions does that.

8. Demonstrate diversity

As well as enabling your organisation’s young people to be ambassadors for your business, it’s really important to show diversity where possible and try to steer away from the stereotypes of a white, male dominated industry.

Videos are a great thing to share in activity with education institutions, but ensure they are fit for purpose for the audience. Try to show the realities of different roles within the industry, alongside its diverse workforce.

9. Showcase your involvement

If you have the opportunity to shout about what you’re doing, then do! From a PR perspective, these programmes help to showcase the global, fast-paced, well paid profession that logistics is, as well as what your organisation is achieving. This could be within community newsletters or newspapers, trade press, associations, or your own channels, such as your websites and social media.

When you go to a school, parents are always very interested and as a result, local press are often interested in the good news story about what you are doing too.

Doing this will take time and effort, but if you put processes in place to do regular updates, yearly or quarterly for instance, it will help promote what you are doing to young talent.

10. Experience the benefits

Engaging with schools offers clear benefits in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility and giving back to the local community.  Staff from the business can also get involved, providing rewarding and enjoyable volunteering opportunities and great personal and professional development that boosts morale.

Partnering with educational institutions can also help to develop new talent pipelines for jobs and apprenticeships within your business and build your reputation as an employer of choice. It is a chance to inspire the next generation of talent – the group you’re talking to, and those who hear about it through ‘playground chat’, as well as to enrich the curriculum so that young people entering the world of work better understand it, and the skills they need to succeed. 

It also benefits the educators. For instance, employer engagements can help schools to achieve the Gatsby benchmarks which define the best careers provision and advice and guidance that schools can give to the students. Two of these benchmarks relate to the world of work, specifically encounters with employers and employees, and the experiences of workplaces. So, organisations can really bring those two benchmarks to life by engaging with schools and colleges.

More resources

To learn more about how to get started with education partnerships and the benefits this can bring to your business, listen to our Talent in Logistics podcast here:

Engaging with educational providers to help with youth employment

You can also download free resources educational resources and activities via our Learning Through Logistics zone. These have been collated by Talent in Logistics in collaboration with Business on the MoveCareer Ready Think Logistics, and NOVUS Trust. All of these resources are completely free and ideal for both parents and teachers to use to educate children and young people about the world of logistics, and why it’s so important.

Low Paid Workers Hit Hardest by COVID Economic Crisis

Covid Economic Crisis

The rise in unemployment brought about by the COVID-19 crisis is predominantly affecting those in low income jobs, according to research published by the IES this week.

The study, which ‘sets out early findings on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on low paid employees’, examines Labour Force Survey responses between February and April—at the peak of virus spread, but early in the economic wake of lockdown.

While figures showed no statistically significant change in the likelihood of high paid workers being in work, the employment rate for those in low paid positions dropped by 4% across the period, ‘equivalent to a fall in low paid dependent employment of approximately 140 thousand.’

The figures suggest that the Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support have not been sufficient to protect the livelihoods of ‘a sizable group’ of low-income workers. Yet, those who have managed to keep their jobs may also find themselves in a precarious position. Both high- and low-income workers reported a reduction in working hours, but again, ‘those in lower paid work were almost twice as likely to have worked fewer hours due to being laid off or put on short time working.

The hospitality and retail industries, in which the highest concentration of low paid workers are employed, have been among the hardest hit by the crisis. But the study also points to the economic vulnerability of low paid workers, identifying ‘their often more precarious employment conditions’ as a factor in their present hardship.

These conditions include being substantially more likely to be in temporary employment, working part time, or on zero hours contracts. Low paid workers are also more likely to be underemployed, i.e. working fewer hours than desired, and are more than twice as likely to be the heads of single parent families.

The study comes less than a month after data from HMRC showed that the number of Jobcentre claimants had risen by 126% between the start of lockdown and June, with an IES press release at the time stating ‘unemployment has risen more in the last two months than it did in the first year of the Great Depression.’

One of the measures being proposed to help alleviate the crisis is the £2bn temporary job creation scheme revealed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his summer statement. The scheme targets young people aged 18-24, one of the demographics most likely to be out of work. This was one of a raft of measures laid out in the speech, including a temporary cut in the VAT rate for the hospitality industry.

With the logistics industry posting record low unemployment in recent years according to the FTA, the impact of COVID-19 is yet to be seen. But logistics companies already looking to apprenticeship schemes to address the driver shortage will, for a limited time, be able to claim £2,000 for each apprentice they take on (£1,500 for apprentices aged over 25). The increase in people looking for work in a competitive market may be an opportunity for logistics companies to exploit, to the benefit of all involved.


How To Develop A Diverse Recruitment Approach

There can be no doubt that the logistics sector is facing a potentially catastrophic skills shortage. One of the most effective ways to combat this is to recruit from all available talent pools. However, in order to do this the sector must promote itself as an attractive career option to a wider range of candidates.

What practical steps can you take to develop a diverse recruitment approach? Read on for our top five tips…

What does diversity look like?

There are two main categories of diversity; inherent diversity which encompasses:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Age

And acquired diversity which covers factors such as:

  • Education
  • Experience
  • Values
  • Skills and knowledge.

UK legislation is already in place to ensure employers do not discriminate against candidates because of age, disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. If your organisation meets these requirements you may think that’s enough. However, the aim of your workplace should be to draw talent from a number of backgrounds in order to reflect the makeup of society, and this means more than just meeting minimum legal requirements.

Five steps to developing a diverse recruitment approach:

  1. Something as simple as more carefully worded job postings can increase the diversity of candidates applying for posts. Review job adverts for any biased wording and look objectively at your talent attraction methods. Do the images and videos on recruitment webpages and other branded resources reflect diversity and inclusivity?
  2. Introduce a blind CV/interview system. This process of removing identification details from CVs and applications will ensure candidates are evaluated purely on their skills and experience rather than factors that could potentially lead to biased decisions.
  3. Ensure organisational policies are in place to make sure all employees are treated fairly. If you do not already have one, put together a document that sets out your commitment to promoting equality and diversity in your workplace, particularly in areas like recruitment, training, and pay. You may also want to introduce formal diversity training for all employees.
  4. Review data on pay, progression and employee survey measures, or collect data to understand whether current employees feel the organisation is inclusive. This will help you to identify barriers to progression.
  5. Embrace flexible working arrangements. Many highly skilled people leave the workforce mid-career, for example to care for children, and this can result in a lack of diversity within many organisations. Ensure jobs allow flexibility, then review or implement flexible working policies.

When these steps are actioned you will start to see change happen organically, because diversity attracts diversity.

Why does it matter?

The need to broaden the appeal of the logistics sector as an employer has never been more vital. It was reported in the 2019 FTA Logistics Skills Report that 89.8% of workers describe themselves as ethnically white,  therefore only 10.2% of the logistics workforce within the UK is from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background. The logistics sector continues to be dominated by male workers (86.8%) and only 1% of Large Goods Vehicle drivers are female. With 80% of millennials believing that diversity and inclusion within an organisation is an important factor when deciding which company to work for, the culminating result is that many young, female and BAME candidates do not consider ours a desirable sector to work in. With the industry already feeling the effects of an ever-widening skills gap, this is a problem that can no longer be ignored.

A diverse workforce will bring its own rewards in terms of increasing cultural awareness, sensitivity, creativity and productivity, but to reap the full benefits of a diverse workforce it’s vital to create a truly inclusive environment where everyone can fulfill their potential.

Challenging First Impressions With Indeed

Matt Burney, Recruitment Evangelist from Indeed UK talks to us about challenging first impressions.

Hiring is an imperfect process and for many organisations remains flawed and problematic. One of the reasons for that is unconscious bias. Most companies and most individuals will say they are not biased in their approach to hiring, that they offer a fair and balanced approach to all candidates.

Yet we know that when it comes to jobseeker applications there is a bias toward brand names and even the schools listed on a CV. There’s a bias toward having specific degrees when that qualification might not be required for that role.

There are unconscious bias towards certain names and genders and whether or not they fit in with a certain image of who fits in a role within the company.

In organisations, senior leadership influences those issues, and in making sure hiring practices are fair. The challenge comes when these measures do not go quite far enough, when we do not address the root cause of bias and we are not able to expose our employees to their own unconscious bias.

We all know that with unemployment is at its lowest level since the 1970s, the search for the right jobseeker has become more difficult. Very often, we are looking in the right place but still not finding the people we need. Due to our own short-sightedness we can very often hire ‘good enough’ and not ‘great’ because our subconscious bias sends us down the wrong path.

If we see a heavily tattooed person do we immediately think they can take on a very corporate role? If we see a smaller than average woman do we immediately assume she cannot do a physical job? If we see an older person do we question if they are the right fit for a younger office?

We form these first impressions in under a tenth of a second and we do this instinctively with almost no relevant or supporting information. We perceive people based on first instance and not what we know.

There are ways around this. We should be cautious how we write job ads as they can lead to a male/female bias and the wording on career sites can do the same. Imagery can alienate people. 

We all love referrals, but referrals are fraught with problems. In comparison to white men: white women are 12% less likely to be referred, non-white men are 26% and non-white women are 35% less likely to be referred for a job. It doesn’t stop there: men can on average expect to receive £6,200 more than the average hire if referred for a role while women only receive £2,800.

In the UK, we have seen employers discriminate on several factors. White sounding names have a tendency to resonate more with recruiters and when the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ show submitted applications for 100 jobs from fictitious candidates – one called ‘Adam’ and the other ‘Mohammed’ – Adam gained 3-times more interview offers and was contacted by twice the number of recruiters compared to ‘Mohammed”. 

The National Centre for Social Research ran a similar test on nearly 1,000 roles in the UK with 3 different names; ‘Naiza Mahmood’, ‘Mariam Namegembe’ and ‘Alison Taylor. The shocking result was that the white sounding name was 74% more likely to receive a positive response.

We do not just discriminate on race or sex. When we interview people we tend to make very quick judgements, research has shown that predicting the outcome of a job interview can very accurately be done simply by watching the first 15 seconds of people’s interaction. A ‘hello’ and a handshake are all observers need to assess whether people are offered jobs or not.

Recruiters tend to identify with those who are like them. Those who look the same, have a similar work experience, went to the same university or school. 25% of managers Indeed surveyed who self-identified as graduating from a ‘top university’ said they preferred candidates from similar schools. One said: “Knowing that the person has a similar background to mine, did similar training, and similar schooling, that’s always a plus.”

Is this always a bad thing? Well, our bias forms a part of our social anchor and an anchor does stop us drifting into dangerous or uncharted territory, but it also keeps us rigidly in place and used incorrectly it will quickly sink us.

The important thing is to view this as an opportunity to address issues you may already know exist and to challenge your managers and your recruiters to think outside the box. When the recruitment market is as tight as it is currently organisations cannot afford to ignore talent. Removing bias from your process will provide more candidates who might have been overlooked before.

Wincanton’s Tienne Oates Wins Rising Star Of The Year 2019

Now here is a truly rising, and shooting, star that is paving the way for the next generation of professionals. As a graduate from Aston University, Tienne Oates is one passionate and inspiring individual, looking for ways to engage with emerging talent across the supply chain. Proving that she stands out from the crowd and making real differences to the sector, she picked up the title for Rising Star of the Year at the Talent in Logistics Awards in June 2019.

Whilst undertaking her everyday role as Logistics Project Manager at Wincanton, Tienne also involves herself in extra-curricular activities, demonstrating her desire to go above and beyond to succeed personally and professionally.

As a member of the West Midlands CILT committee as their Next Generation representative, this role allows her to shape CILT events to be inclusive and exciting for Millennials, Generation Z and Y. Tienne is also engaged in the NOVUS programme and has acted as an assessor at the University of Portsmouth, supporting the on-boarding of students onto the programme. As well as this, she is also the NOVUS poster person, volunteering to be the face of NOVUS for banners, leaflets and the website.

This combination of involvement in a wide variety of initiatives has given Tienne the opportunity to speak at conferences encouraging organisations to attract, recruit and retain young professionals to secure the next generation of talent in the sector. With her passion, poise and panache she was also recently named as a “Rising Star” in SHD Logistics Magazine’s “Logistics 100”.  

Tienne’s commitment to logistics as a profession will sure see her grow into an inspirational leader of the future. Speaking to her at the 2019 Talent in Logistics Awards, she was extremely delighted to be named as Rising Star of the Year and said: “This is a great achievement for me as I only recently graduated and my aim was to make my mark in the industry, which I hope I’m doing! To be recognised in a category with so many other up and coming members of the sectors is an honour in itself.

“I am currently on the Wincanton graduate scheme, so I will soon be moving placements which I am incredibly excited about. Over the next two years, I would love to be able to finish my graduate scheme and secure a senior management role.

“My aim is to get more younger people involved in the industry, logistics is such a hidden sector that young people don’t realise that there are so many options within so many different businesses that all have a logistics requirement, however through the use of Think Logistics and NOVUS it is providing young people with the information and guidance that they need.”

If you believe that you are pushing yourself to stand out from the crowd and make real differences to your company and the sector as a whole, then it’s time to enter the Talent in Logistics Awards 2020 Rising Star of the Year category. Entry dates for the 2020 Awards will be announced in the upcoming months. Find out more about the category here.

Kuehne + Nagel Wins Innovation In Recruitment 2019

Since its launch in 2010, Kuehne + Nagel’s graduate programme has continued to deliver to the pipeline of talent for the business, with graduates successfully progressing to leadership and technical roles. But Kuehne + Nagel doesn’t rest on its laurels; continuously seeking to make improvements to processes and the programme to keep attracting the best talent year on year. Last year, the Kuehne + Nagel team undertook a rigorous review of the graduate recruitment process, underpinned with statistical evidence, and this helped them clinch the Innovation in Recruitment award at the 2019 Talent in Logistics Awards in June 2019.

Having reviewed their annual recruitment process in 2018, the Future Talent team wanted to challenge the standard approach used in graduate selection processes; namely application forms. Kuehne + Nagel recognised that the first stage of any application process is always the most competitive, meaning this is where the majority of graduate candidates are de-selected. This is usually on biographic factors such as qualifications and work experience. However these factors are much less valid predictors of future success than motivation and behaviours, and therefore Kuehne + Nagel wanted to screen for these behaviours instead. To do this, the team replaced their first stage of the application process – a standard application form – with a motivation and behaviour-based video interview.

In making these changes, Kuehne + Nagel is now able to look for talent amongst those who may not be good at application forms, but absolutely possess the behaviours and motivations the company is really looking for. Each of the video interviews completed is reviewed by a member of the Kuehne + Nagel recruitment team, and assessed against the ‘KN Behaviours,’ a selection of key competencies that are at the heart of Kuehne + Nagel.

As a result of these changes made last year, Kuehne + Nagel has been able to progress an entirely new, and interestingly much more diverse, candidate pool to the latter stages of the graduate recruitment process.  

Kuehne + Nagel suggests that this process could be used widely across the logistics sector. The team states that: “Within the logistics sector particularly we need individuals who bring passion and enthusiasm to their role, who are happy to ‘get stuck in’, provide an excellent service to our customers, and contribute to keeping goods moving around the world. These qualities cannot always be determined from an application form, and therefore by using video interviews to screen for these behaviours rather than the biographic factors screened in applications, we are much more likely to find these candidates making their way to the offer stage”.

To promote their innovative solution, the team also conducted a full refresh of their graduate website, and new marketing materials were produced, including up-to-date job adverts and new programme leaflets to promote the programmes in a punchy and attractive way.

Attracting new talent into the industry is vital to keeping the workforce evolving and diverse, but with little positive coverage about the opportunities within the supply chain industry, it can be incredibly difficult. Speaking to Claire Piotrowski & Hayley Davies, part of the Future Talent team at Kuehne + Nagel, it is their mission to continue attracting the next generation of professionals into the sector.

On the night of the awards, the Kuehne + Nagel team were delighted to pick up the Innovation in Recruitment award. Claire Piotrowski, Head of Future Talent, said “We were very surprised to win this award, given the other fantastic shortlisted organisations, so we are absolutely thrilled. It’s always challenging to move away from processes that have embedded for many years, but I am pleased to say this journey has been a great success. We will continue to review our graduate processes each year to ensure that we are providing the best candidate experience, and offering to those candidates who are absolutely right for our business.”  

If you believe that your organisation has taken an innovative and effective approach to attracting talent, solving internal challenges with recruitment and address skills challenges, then it’s time to enter the Talent in Logistics Awards 2020 Innovation in Recruitment category. Entry dates for the 2020 Awards will be announced in the upcoming months. Find out more about the category here.

Why Business Must Act Now To Prevent A Worsening Global Talent Crisis

This article first appeared on the Cranfield School of Management website, written by Professor Emma Parry.

In workplaces around the world, great talent is getting harder and harder to find. The latest statistics show that, as technology continues to transform organisations and skills-needs are changing rapidly, global talent shortages are reaching new heights.

Some 45% of employers who took part in a recent global survey by the ManpowerGroup reported struggling to fill vacancies, with 27% saying applicants lacked either the hard skills (19%) or human strengths (8%) needed to fulfil those roles.

Now more than ever, say the survey authors, technical skills are hard to find and soft skills are hard to train.

These figures are very concerning, and it is clear more needs to be done to prevent a sustained global talent shortage, which would threaten global productivity, sustainability and growth. Individual organisations need to act now to secure the skilled talent they will need for today and tomorrow.

At Cranfield, we believe the key to plugging the talent gap is for organisations to develop a clear and effective people strategy aligned to their business objectives.

Following a strong people strategy that links HR metrics to business performance provides a solid foundation against which organisations can evaluate the potential impact of changes in the external environment caused by factors such as emerging technologies and artificial intelligence, as well as changing workforce demographics.

A clear, documented people strategy is also the tool HR teams need to create the ideal workforce, by setting out the conditions that will get the best out of existing employees, as well as the methodologies and processes that will see the organisation attract in new talent.

Addressing the skills revolution

As suggested by this research, there are four areas which an effective people strategy should cover. They are:


Firstly, employers should commit to investing in learning and development for their existing staff, upskilling individuals and teams to fill any gaps in their knowledge and equip them with new and useful skills for the workplace. According to the research, this is an option favoured by the majority (84%) of employers.


Secondly, employers should look to attract the talent that they cannot build in-house through robust recruitment processes that cast the net wide and – if they need to – seek to fail early to avoid wasting time and effort on the wrong people. Businesses should be aware of the need to pay competitive market price for the skills they need, and to improve compensation for existing staff accordingly.


The survey found 87% of workers were open to doing alternative forms of work, but – conversely – that only 32% of organisations were willing to use contractors and other forms of alternative work models. But new challenges will require organisations to think differently when it comes to who works for them – and how. Businesses would be wise to cultivate communities of talent outside of their organisations that they can draw on flexibly as needed.


The final way in which employers can help to plug their talent gaps is to help people within their organisation to move up to new roles within the business, or outside of it if necessary. The survey found just 56% of employers claim to do this already.

In conclusion, it is clear to see that we are facing a global talent shortage, but the good news is that there is still time to do something about it. Organisations should act now to shore up their strategies – before it is too late.


How To Create A Successful Learning & Development Strategy

What is an L&D Strategy?

A learning and development strategy is a framework that facilitates an organisation’s development of its workforce’s capabilities, skills and competencies in order to remain successful and grow.

How can an L&D strategy work in the logistics sector?

For the logistics sector specifically, learning and development is rarely seen as one of the selling points. We recently conducted a survey of students at WorldSkills UK in which only 3.8% had any desire to pursue a career in the logistics sector. This is in part down to the perceived lack of career progression and development within the sector.

This suggests that strong and effectively communicated learning and development strategies can play a really important role in attracting and keeping talent in the sector.

What is an L&D strategy used for?

An L&D strategy is used to develop employees and practices in order to achieve the business’ overall development goals.

A good L&D strategy:

  • Has measurable goals, objectives and outcomes.
  • Is a framework, a systematic process that can be built upon over time.
  • Should be based on where the company is currently at, identifying areas of potential improvement.
  • Should develop both the business and the individuals within it.

Top Tips for creating and implementing a strong L&D Strategy:

Be united in your goals

While the strategy will likely be conceived at the top level of the business, it needs to be bought into by every member of the team at all levels, or it won’t be successful. Everyone needs to be headed in the same direction.

This is an opportunity to create a culture for the business and truly involve employees in the growth of their own workplace. It is also a good time to gather feedback from employees about their individual goals. It can also facilitate a conversation about career path opportunities and progression planning.

Employees should feel like they have some control of their own self-development – it’s not for the organisation to have total input.

Identify the gaps

What are the opportunities for development within your team? Identifying the gaps in your team is the first step to developing them in ways that will most benefit them.

Engage employees in this task, they will likely want to develop themselves as much as you do so find out what they think their strengths and weaknesses are. You could do this by using an informal survey, or by asking them to complete a skills matrix, an example of which can be found here.

Remember, not all of your team will have the same skills gaps and not everyone will be best suited to learn every new skill. Try and identify which team members will respond best to which types of training, in order to get the best results from everyone.

Find the potential

Although all of your team should be trained to a strong standard, there may be certain team members that really shine. If a team member has recently completed a course or module, bring them back to share their insight and learning to their peers. This could be done in a formal mentor/coaching capacity or through informal group discussions,. It is a great way of using the strength of your team to give back and inspire those that are currently undertaking the same training, or are considering it.

This will also help set the bar higher for the rest of your team, giving them something to aim for while making sure your star performers are being challenged and using their new found skills.

Make it personal

While the L&D strategy encompasses the entire business, your employees are your entire business and any benefits to them will also directly benefit the business goals, so make it work for them.

A one-size-fits-all plan will not work in motivating and up-skilling your employees and could even leave some feeling alienated and unheard. The strategy should be specific, but flexible enough that it can be customised for each individual’s learning needs, both in what they want to achieve and how they can best achieve it.

For example, some team members may prefer to work as part of a team, so sending them on team training courses would work really well for them. However, others may be more individual learners and be happy taking on tasks and projects with minimal supervision.

One well known learning and development strategy is the 70:20:10 model, which can be highly effective. This is a commonly used formula that suggests that individuals’ knowledge should come from the following areas:

Hands-on experience (70% job) is the most beneficial, allowing employees to refine role-related skills, address challenges and interact with influential people.

Learning form others (20%) through coaching and mentoring, for example, lead to encouragement and feedback, which are key benefits. Finally, and maybe surprisingly, only 10% of time is recommended to be spent on traditional academic learning and educational events.

Consider each member’s unique preferences of working and learning to get the best results overall.

Make it achievable and monitorable

While the strategy can be flexible and creative in order to get the most out of your team, the team needs clear expectations and KPIs.

Make sure you identify ‘what good looks like’ at the outset. If the objectives aren’t clear, they will be very hard to put actions in place to meet them and not having clear progress check-ins can leave teams de-motivated.

There are a number of ways that development can be monitored, including personal development plans that are regularly visited with feedback, or competency assessments for example.

For groups or graduates that are following similar development plans, online portals, forums and corporate social networks can be really effective for sharing learnings.

Overall, a learning and development strategy is vital in driving your business forward and developing your employees. Employees who feel like you value their development and progression as much as they do are more likely to be loyal and committed to the company, while their increased level of ability will provide continued results for your business – it’s a win-win.

Remember, a well-rounded learning development strategy should be measurable, adaptable and tailored to your team’s strengths and weaknesses.


What To Expect When Employing Generation Z Workers

This article was first published on Executive Grapevine, with the permission to feature on Talent in Logistics site. 

Whilst the media furore around the social and economic habits of the Millennial generation rages on, a new generation of workers have quietly penetrated the workplace. This cohort is known as Generation Z.

According to ZeroCater, the demographic that spans from 1997 to the early 2010s make up an average of 25% of the western population and may well have a drastically different outlook on the workplace.

Gen Z’s professional outlook is reported to be far more pragmatic than their predecessors; this is due to their upbringing throughout an economic recession. Whilst Millennials are known for spending lavishly on experiences, Gen Z are far more concerned about financial stability and saving their cash.

Whilst the Millennial generation grew up with the early development of smart mobile technology and the social media boom, Gen Z was equipped from a young age to interact with cutting-edge technology from both a recreational and educational perspective.

A massive 98% of Gen Z own a smartphone, whilst 92% have a significant digital footprint and 50% claim to spend up to ten hours a day connected to the internet.

Work habits 

Technology has revolutionised the professional world and whilst the relevance of corporate communication services such as Slack are growing exponentially, coming of age as digital natives have prompted a key preferential shift amongst Generation Z to physical interactions.

72% of polled individuals claimed to prefer a face-to-face meetings over a digital conversation and whilst start-up culture booms in other generations, 80% of Gen Z want to work for a mid-to-large sized company.

In terms of key values, Generation Z is massively invested in race and gender equality. 72% agree that racial equality is the most important issue they face today, whilst 36% state that they expect their employer to consider equality as the most crucial concern in the workplace.

Career expectations

Financial stability and the ability to work in their dream sector are the two greatest aspirations that Gen Z holds, and it’s willing to work hard to get them; 75% expect to work in multiple roles within an organisation, whilst 77% expect to work harder than previous generations.

The two key workplace expectations of Gen Z are an empowering working culture and the potential for clear paths to career growth. Despite their technological fluency, Generation Z claims that the two most important skills that it can bring to the workplace are communication and problem solving.

As the number of Gen Z’s in the professional field grows, the demographic’s influence and impact on the workplace grows with it; will the generation be a revolutionary step forward for the UK’s industries? Only time will tell.

Andy Kaye: From Graduate To CEO

Nearly 30 years ago, Andy Kaye started his career as a Business Studies graduate. Today he is a well-known entrepreneurial leader in the logistics industry.

Renowned for his passion and dedication to transforming the development of young talent, Andy reflects on what he has learned along his journey and why he is keen to inspire the next generation of professionals.

Andy reflects back to his own education, and states that courses and programs were mainly related to individual activities, such as transportation and warehousing. There was little attempt to integrate and balance these activities and there was not much of an opportunity to learn about the broader concepts within the overall supply chain sector and its role in modern businesses.

After completing his BA Hons in Business Studies at Nottingham Trent University in 1989, Andy was the only one out of 72 on his course who had fallen into a logistics role. After joining Exel Logistics as a graduate trainee he undertook a number of roles before becoming Director of Logistics at the Storehouse Group. A role that led him to lead and implement the strategy to integrate the supply chains of BHS and Mothercare.

When the internet bubble burst in 2000, he went on to join a start-up dot com business which unfortunately went into liquidation, however unperturbed this downfall inspired Andy, and with his flourishing career behind him, he set about founding and developing the ’Bis’ business before managing a merger with George Henderson & Partners to form Bis Henderson Group Ltd – the provider of choice for the supply chain and logistics industry, offering fully integrated, future-fit solutions under four specialist divisions: Consulting, Recruitment, Academy and Space

Bis Henderson academy, was designed to engage with those individuals who are looking for apprenticeship level training, from Intermediate to Higher level. Andy’s mission is to address the growing ‘skills gap’ and to develop motivated, engaged and well-equipped leaders of the future.

In 2013 Andy identified a gap in the market to attract talent into industry by providing degree courses which specialise in supply chain and logistics management, backed by the chance of placements and jobs with leading bluechip companies. Andy founded the Novus Trust, a not-for-profit organisation which works with numerous universities and company sponsors to design and deliver degree courses, offer students the opportunity to take part in summer work experience, provide third year work placements and finally provide a guaranteed offer of a graduate job on graduation, should the student achieve a 2:1 or better.

To further support his mission, Andy joined the board of Think Logistics in 2014 – a body of industry professionals who come together to support the continued expansion of opportunities within the industry. The team works hand-in-hand with Career Ready to offer young people mentoring, master classes, workshops, workplace visits and paid internships aiming to raise the profile of the logistics industry and increase their awareness of the career pathways available to them.

Over the years, Andy hasn’t seen much change to the way logistics is perceived by younger audiences and believes that as an industry we should be doing more to promote the roles available.

He says: “Without logistics, how would we have medicine in our hospitals, food in our fridge or music equipment at our festivals?”

The next professionals of the future may not be considering a career in logistics, but they may fall into it, and with Andy and his teams’ support along the way, they too are likely to prosper.

Andy’s determination and success to grow and shape the industry, scooped him the Lifetime Contribution Award at the 2018 Talent in Logistics awards ceremony. For 2019, we have changed the name slightly to Industry Ambassador Award and as one of the judges for this category, he will be looking for the people that have gone the extra mile to make a difference, shown innovation to gain the best results and those with a clear vision to improve the industry.

To find out more about the 2019 Industry Ambassador Award, click here.

Getting Military Into Logistics With Pertemps

Logistics is an essential part of the military, with members being trained to a high standard of driving and maintenance, equipping soldiers with a trade for life. This is why logistics and transport companies can find great benefits from recruiting army leavers, not only as a way of managing the current driver shortage but as a way of closing the current skills gap. By taking the driving skills learnt within the military, and honing them to a commercial environment, a wide range of possibilities are opened not only for the employer but for the employee themselves to step straight into a stable and respected career.

Pertemps has worked alongside the military, working with army reservists, service leavers and veterans to support their transition out of the military and into steady employment for a number of years. Here, Major Darren Knight talks us through his role at Pertemps and the successes they’ve seen through their close partnership with the military:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into this role at Pertemps:

“I was full time in the military for 24 years, completed my full service in the regular army from 16 years of age and joined the army reserves as a Captain following my retirement. I initially made contact with Pertemps through my role in employer engagement, which consisted of building relationships with companies that would support employees who wanted to be part of the Army Reserves and therefore needed more flexibility around working hours to fulfil this role.

“Through working closely with the military, Pertemps realised that service leavers offered a huge range of skills and potential that would be mutually beneficial, and so brought me on board full-time to assist with this innovative solution to the issues of a driver shortfall and lack of employment options for Service Leavers.”

How does the programme work?

“My background is in transport logistics, and while many members of the military are trained to have the correct vehicle licences for LGV driving, they lack experience both with articulated vehicles and in a commercial environment. This can often lead to difficulties in finding work when they leave the Armed Forces, because the processes of getting a Driver CPC or a digital tachograph card are just alien to them, which leaves them unequipped for the job itself.

“Our focus is to take the range of skills they’ve built up through their time in the military, including driving, and transfer them into a commercial environment. We would ideally work with candidates during their last two years of service to assess the level of training they may need. Pertemps has designed a course which meets the needs of driver negligence insurance and is recognised within the industry, meaning candidates are equipped to enter the logistics industry as comfortably and smoothly as possible.

“In addition to working closely with Career Transition Partnership (CTP), we work alongside a number of charities including, RFEA, Poppy Factory and Walking With Wounded. Working with service leavers and veterans to make sure they have any additional support that may be required to ensure they have the best chance at employment after service, as well as supporting them in their resettlement into civilian life.”

ERS Gold Awards 2016 at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

What benefits does the programme offer service leavers?

“The partnership between Pertemps and the military is in the first instance incredibly beneficial for the transport and logistics industry itself as, with some support, it provides the industry with capable and loyal employees with a huge range of skills and strong work ethic. The main thing however, is to develop the confidence of these Service Leavers, Veterans and Reservists which is a great strength at Pertemps, as we can offer training, support and mentoring, plus the employment at the end, so we’re a one-stop-shop.

“Speaking very generally, personnel from the forces do tend to struggle initially re-integrating into the civilian lifestyle coming from a very regimented existence, often being in the military from the age of 16 up to retirement at 40. Having specialised knowledge of this, Pertemps can tailor its training and support in a way that will get the most out of candidates and provide them with the strongest start to resettlement.

“For example, when undertaking courses within the military, every detail is very clearly communicated to the individual, where they need to be, when, what the course includes, etc. So when we send out training instructions we format them in the same way as the joining instructions, they are used to, as this is set out in a familiar way which tends to give the individual that bit of extra confidence.

“Often one of the things we find when working with Service Leavers, is that the resettlement process requires a lot of patience, which the industry isn’t always in a position to give. The programme we run, starting from before they’ve completed their military service, means that we have the time and knowledge to offer support for every individual, no matter what their needs.”

What successes have you seen so far?

“So far, our team has helped over 400 people get into employment after leaving the military in the past four years. However, for me it’s the individual stories of diversity and support that are the main success. One instance saw us working with a charity partner to resettle a service leaver back into work. He had high levels of PTSD, but after starting him as a Driver’s Mate accompanying a driver for just one hour a day, over a few months he learned to control his triggers, develop his confidence and is now driving solo full time – that’s the real life impact that this process has.

“I think it’s incredibly important that as an industry we work together to look after people and provide them with the time and support they may need in order to achieve success away from the military and contribute to the ever-growing logistics industry, and implementing teams like ours into businesses is an effective way of doing that.”

About Pertemps

With over 55 years of experience, Pertemps is an independently family run recruitment business and one of the largest providers of staffing solutions for the logistics industry in the UK. Pertemps also delivers quality driver training services to enhance skill, behaviours and on-road safety at all levels to businesses nationwide.

Pertemps has had links with the military since 2014 through the Armed Forces Covenant – a pledge from businesses to support the wider military community. Through this link and an awareness of the need to seek out alternative recruitment avenues due to a workforce shortage, Pertemps employed Major Darren Knight as Forces Liaison Manager to work with army reservists, service leavers and veterans to support their transition out of the military and into steady employment. Pertemps was awarded the MoD’s Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award in 2016.

For more information on the work Pertemps does, please visit: