How to ace your networking in a remote-working world


In recent months, it’s been challenging to meet with current contacts, let alone to connect with new ones or network within your industry. But, even though most events have gone online and there are travel restrictions and social distancing to contend with, you can still network!

Want to know how? Read on for some top tips from Talent in Logistics and Samantha Leleu, General Manager at Pertemps Driving Division, sponsor of the virtual networking session at the upcoming Talent in Logistics Awards on 1st October. 

1. Be prepared

Make the most of any networking opportunity by being prepared. Think about your ‘elevator pitch’ in advance. The right pitch will make you and the company you are representing stand out to your listener and be interesting, memorable and succinct. It’ll also mean you don’t feel put on the spot when asked the inevitable, ‘So what do you do?’

Also, do your research on who will be attending any meeting or event in question. 

“Ask the event organisers for their list of attendees. Sometimes these will be provided, other times they won’t. But if you don’t ask, you won’t get,” says Samantha Leleu.

When doing your research, don’t just focus on which companies will be attending, think on more of a personal note. For example, do you have anything in common with the key people you’d like to meet, such as someone you’ve both worked with in the past? 

It’s always best to show that you know your stuff and don’t feel as if you’re out of the loop, so read the company’s recent news, blogs and social media updates.

Even if you go to an in-person event or meeting, sharing business cards may not be a popular move at the moment, so why not connect on LinkedIn instead? A virtual business card that you can include if you’re emailing new contacts is helpful too.

2. Take advantage of industry webinars

Throughout recent months, industry webinars have come into their own. Although time is at a premium, setting aside time for a webinar is largely achievable and enables you to keep up to date with your sector, and also to connect with like-minded individuals who are facing the same industry challenges as you.  

“There are many born networkers in this world, but for some, live events and human conversations can be challenging,” says Ruth Edwards, Business Development Director for Talent in Logistics. “For some, webinars are an easier way to interact with key industry figures without instantly plunging yourself into the networking deep-end!”. 

Ask questions to show other attendees that you’re present, and what issues matter to you, which helps to position yourself as a key figure within the sector. You could also consider sponsoring a webinar or hosting one of your own with a topic that appeals to those you’re trying to connect with.

3. Think of it as a date!

Dress to impress! You can’t make a first impression twice and if you dress too formal or too casual for the occasion, you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable. This is just as true if you’re on a webcam as if you’re at an event in person. 

You might feel nervous if you haven’t previously attending many events but don’t forget to smile…not only will it make you look more approachable but people will see that you’re having a good time and be more likely to make conversation.

“Remember to be engaged,” says Ruth. “Even online you can keep eye contact and demonstrate active listening.”

“Be sure that you don’t dominate the conversation! A conversation is a two-way transaction so be sure to ask lots of questions to find out more about this person and their role,” says Samantha. “Not only will this result in a better conversation, it will be far more memorable for both parties involved.”

4. Get under the same roof as the experts

What better opportunity to network than when your peers and leading industry figures are together? Even though nowadays they will be more likely under the same ‘virtual roof’ rather than in a conference centre! 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses quickly adapted their business operations to include digital events as opposed to physical ones where social distancing proved to be challenging, if not impossible. 

“Many events, including our Talent in Logistics Annual Conference, have gone online, but you still get the same chance to see what like-minded people are experiencing, overcoming or succeeding at,” says Ruth. “Hearing how industry experts approach business is always a hugely beneficial experience.”

5. Follow up proactively

The networking event itself is important, but what you do within the following 24 hours is also key. 

“Whilst things are fresh in your mind, it’s always a good idea to take a look at the business cards you picked up throughout the day. Make personal notes on them of conversations had or memorable quotes or events discussed to mention when you follow up”, says Samantha. “This will seem much more personal and can go a long way in the future. When doing follow-ups, never forget to thank the event organisers. It’s funny how far a thank you can go when it comes to future events.”

Apply the same practice with your virtual contacts – keep notes and reminders, and send a personalised follow up on email or social media.

6. Enjoy yourself!

During challenging times, enjoyment can seem a lower priority. However, it’s as important as ever to reflect on industry successes and celebrate. That’s why at our upcoming online Talent in Logistics Awards event, Pertemps Driving Division is our partner for a virtual networking session.

Register for free to attend the Talent in Logistics Awards to benefit from a unique online networking opportunity, as well as a whole evening of interaction, positivity, recognition and celebration that honours those in our industry who have worked so hard of late to keep the country running.

The Talent in Logistics Awards are dedicated to recognising and rewarding the people that keep the logistics sector and country, moving every day throughout the whole supply chain, with categories highlighting not only stand-out individuals but the teams and organisations that have gone above and beyond to make real differences.

After the turbulence and challenges of recent months, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate our fantastic logistics sector together! For more information on attending the awards or sponsoring an awards category, visit,  call 01952 520216 or email

Making distance learning a reality in logistics

In part one of this blog, we shared a discussion with Simon Tindall, Head of New Business BDU, and Liz Hanway, Sector Lead for Transport and Logistics BDU, from the Open University about how learning and development has changed, in particular in relation to e-learning and distance learning, and what that could mean for logistics.

Here we share the next instalment, looking at topics how distance learning can support the future skills agenda, and what resources are available now to employers and employees in the logistics sector, including those on furlough or facing redundancy. Read on for more or listen to the original interview in our latest Talent in Logistics podcast.

Boris Johnson recently delivered a speech at Dudley College, and he said about the skills agenda, about levelling up Britain, and the investment in infrastructure. He talked specifically about apprenticeships. Distance learning is going to form a big part of that skills agenda going forward. What do you think needs to be done to make this a reality? 

[Simon Tindall]: – Well, I think some of it is already a reality today. When the recession started, we began doing quite a lot of work with UK governments across the four nations to build awareness of what skills opportunities there already were. So, we were involved in a digital skills toolkit that the government launched a couple of months ago, which links to Open University courses.

One of the key things that people don’t always understand about the Open University is that we have a very strong social remit and subsequently, that manifests itself in a huge provision of free education. Through our Open Learn Portal, we have something like around 10,000 hours of free online content, which covers everything from basic Maths and English to softer skills. 

The other key piece is what’s the next progression, and I think that comes back to tying skills availability and skills attainment to job opportunity. People want to undertake skills to get them to their next career goal, be that to get a job, to get a better job, to get promoted, etc. There is still work to be done to link skills provision towards job availability so that people can directly see that by undertaking a number of courses they get to the next stage of their career.

[Liz Hanway]: A lot of industries that I’m speaking to at the moment are having to make that awful decision of bringing people back from furlough and potentially having to make them redundant and they care about these people, but their hands are tied. How can they best support those people? Where can they signpost them to? Part of my role is helping them to do that. There are resources out there. 

In terms of making distance learning a reality, there needs to be some key steering groups to actually make this signposting possible. We need employers to really push it as well.

If I think about the logistics sector specifically, I think it is definitely one that needs some guidance and some tools for people, including young people. Do you agree?

[LH]: Definitely. The world is changing quite dramatically. And even in the world of logistics, we’re crying out for HGV drivers, but in 10 years’ time, are we going to have automated vehicles? Are we going to have drones dropping parcels for us? All of these are new challenges where you need forward thinking managers, but you also need to recognise that you need a workforce that isn’t necessarily progressing up a ladder but has very transferable skills, understands what those transferable skills are, and can move around the business. 

What I am seeing is people sadly losing their jobs in the logistics area, and they may have been in that environment for their whole working lives.  So, I’m working very closely with, for example, a baggage handling company, and actually the employees probably have all the skills to help Royal Mail and get all our post delivered. So, it’s about working with employers to make those skills analysis, mapping them out and helping them put them back into employment where there is work. 

You mentioned the OU has got courses that people can utilize for free and that can help them with those transferable skills, soft skills etc. Can you tell people where they can access some of that information, and if there’s any specific resources that might help if they worked in the logistics sector?

The first place to go to is the Open Learn site, which has got all our free course material or Google “skills for work” or “skills for life”. Skills for work has anything from leadership or management to effective timekeeping. On skills for life, there’s a new one we’ve just done with Money Saving Expert. There might be people who are now faced with a situation where there may be on furlough only getting 80% of their salary and they need to know how to better budget for things. There are also some courses on bereavement as people have potentially been losing people during this. Then, the second thing to look at is “Open Learn DWP”.

And then I would say specifically to employers, as I’m hearing quite a lot that learning and development budgets are being cut, that it’s about working with what you might have. So obviously there is still the apprenticeship levy and many larger employers are saying they haven’t spent it yet. So just to remind people that small companies can still take advantage of this 90% of funding for potentially putting employees on a degree program or a lower level apprenticeship program.

From the OU, we can support on the leadership and management side of the apprenticeship, so you could even currently get an MBA qualification through an apprenticeship. The other big thing that a lot of logistics companies are looking at is the move to digital transformation. So, we do the digital apprenticeship as well. If it is lower levels that people are looking at, we will try and do a bit of a mapping with the employer and we’ve got several partners that we might be able to signpost employers on to.

There is a whole host in the free open learn site I mentioned earlier. So just to name a few courses that I think would be interesting. 

  • Succeed in learning – looks at people and identifies the common skills that they’ve got and what skills they can transfer into their next job, or career role
  • Effective communication in the workplace – managers now, that are probably used to seeing their colleagues and/or team face to face, have now got rely on communication by phone, or by e-mail. So different ways of working.
  • Transport and sustainability – where leaders are maybe thinking about changes you might have to do in your operations, and how actually can we do this long-term. There is a similar one on supply chain sustainability too. 
  • Managing virtual projects  If you think about what’s going on in, in transport, one of the many changes is how you actually manage projects. So, you might have projects that have started, and now you have large teams all over the place, you’ve got now manage these projects virtually. 
  • How teams work – that looks at all the different behaviours, how do you motivate your team when you’re not seeing them? You’re not having necessarily having one to ones, you’re all in different places, you’re online and what things you need to be aware of.

If organisations do have some learning and development budget, I would encourage them to think about not necessarily signing people for full degrees, but maybe bite size courses – the Open University has short courses. 

Or you can just take a module from that degree program. You can come to the university and study many different modules over a period of time (say, 15 years) and come out with what we call an open degree – it’s basically a bespoke degree to yourself. 

We’ve got some really good courses at a postgraduate level if you’ve got senior leaders. 

For more information on the Open University, visit 

Talent in Logistics Podcast

For more insightful podcasts to help those in the logistics sector look after the wellbeing of their employees, as well as their business, be sure to check out all out latest podcasts – with two new ones added each month.

Tips to kickstart your perfect Personal Development Plan

Personal Development Plan

Ongoing development and awareness of a clear career pathway are both key factors for many employees when it comes to their engagement with an employer. With challenging times potentially ahead for the logistics sector, it’s more important than ever for employers to retain their valuable talent. That’s why it’s a great time to ensure that you and your employees have the right development plans in place.

Not sure where to start with creating Personal Development Plans (PDPs)?

First, stop, and reflect

It would be easy to download a PDP template from the internet and start filling it in, but it’s important to do some self-reflection or self-assessment first. Skipping this step will make the PDP less effective, as well as a more difficult process to complete.

Start by considering some key questions:

  • What do you like or dislike doing? – There will always be some tasks that you prefer to do over others, but if you are thinking of a career change or moving to a different job role, then this is an important area to focus on so that you can ensure you’re fulfilled and happy in your new role.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? – There is always a case to try and work on improving your weaknesses, but this doesn’t have to be the focus. Maybe it is more important to maximise your strengths instead and become even more highly skilled or expert.
  • What do you want to achieve? And how you will measure your success? – It’s important to consider how you want things to be different going forward and how you will know when you’ve progressed. Also, to consider how this will improve your performance and what effect it will have on the business.
  • How do you want others to view you? – Thinking about your own “brand” is part of your personal development. You should consider the relationships you have with your stakeholders – so employees, customers, sector peers, line management, project management teams, senior leaders – and how these could improve.

The Johari Window

Another method for self-assessment is a very well-known and popular model (in the world of HR) called the Johari Window.

This technique encourages you to consider what is/isn’t known to yourself and what is/isn’t known to others and has a four-box window – one of which is the Arena. This is what people can easily see and what you like to share about yourself.

The aim for your personal development journey is to get as many things as possible into the Arena, with less in the other boxes – the Blindspot, Façade and Unknown.  To do this you may need to share more skills openly, embark on some self-discovery, or ask for feedback, to discover what others see in you, that you may not be aware of. Which leads us to the need for 360-degree feedback.

How to gather 360-degree feedback

The purpose of this is to gather the thoughts and perceptions about you from your stakeholders to help guide your development journey.

For instance, if you’re looking to move into a certain management position, there may be key skills needed to do that. Through the 360-feedback process, you could ask people how they think you perform in those areas, whether that’s delegation, time management, communication, or anything else. Or maybe you want to see how people think you are performing against certain business objectives, such as customer service, communicating change, working as part of a team etc.

Before embarking on collecting feedback, it’s good practice to check with management that they are comfortable with this. Explain why you want to do it and why now, what business problem this may help to solve, what makes this important to you and what outcomes you want to achieve.

You could do this with face to face conversations, via email or preferably via an anonymous online survey (there are many free tools for this out there) or paper questionnaire. However, a good feedback survey will:

  • Not be too time consuming and long as to put people off – be selective with questions and set a deadline for responses
  • Have well structured questions so they are answered in the manner you intend
  • Be tailored to different people depending on their role (if relevant)
  • Encourage people to be honest
  • Be anonymous where possible, and should not have an impact on your relationships with any stakeholders
  • Link to your particular objectives, projects, or key soft skills

In general, 360-degree feedback can be a great thing to implement business wide to create a culture of honest feedback and to put ownership in the hands of the individual. However, rules should be communicated to ensure this process is treated with maturity and guidance on how to provide constructive feedback can be helpful.

SWOT analysis

After you have asked questions of yourself and gathered feedback from others, you can start to do some further assessment.

A good place to start is with a SWOT analysis. This works just as well for an individual as it does for businesses. To recap:

  • S is for Strengths
  • W is Weaknesses
  • O is for Opportunities
  • T is for Threats

You should have by now identified your strengths and weaknesses it should be simple to write a list of these under the relevant heading. However, the more challenging, yet most useful part of completing a personal SWOT analysis, is the opportunities and threats.

Opportunities will help you identify where you could go, what trends you could take advantage of, what you could capitalise on. In threats you should consider what could happen if you don’t maximise your strengths, improve the weaknesses and grab hold of the opportunities. What’s coming up that could get in the way? Keeping threats in mind can help to motivate you and push you to continually develop.

The Personal Development Circle

You may find that a SWOT analysis doesn’t work for you. In that case, you may prefer to map things out with a Personal Development Circle.

Choose four key areas of development – these should be bespoke to you. For instance, your character, profile, knowledge, and skills. You could also look at this with the 4 P’s in mind – People, Processes, Platform (Software and Systems) and Performance (against KPI’s/Objectives).

Once you have decided on your development areas and created your circle, start to write down some development actions to take against these.

Personal Development Plan

Personal Development Plan templates

Once you have completed the self-reflection, received and evaluated feedback, and considered all the outcomes, your assessment is complete. Next comes the really important part – creating your personal development plan! This is what will help you get that job or promotion. But remember, you can’t create an effective plan without the assessment phase first.

To enable you to take this next step, we have created a free resource download which contains example templates for Personal Development Plans. You can choose the one that works best for you and complete it to form the basis of your plan.

Download Personal Development Plan templates now.

Your development should never stop!

Remember, developing your Personal Development Plan is not a one off. You need to have support, follow up and reflection.

  • Reflect upon your learning experience, so remembering why you did it and what you have learnt
  • Think about how you have put theory into practice and put your learning to work
  • Improve the knowledge of your teams/peers by sharing your learning with them if you can

And don’t forget to measure the overall impact your learning has had on the work you do. So, at some point, go back to the self-assessment phase and do the whole process all over again so that your plan is up to date.

Watch Personal Development Plan webinar

To learn more on this topic and how to fill in our Personal Development Plan templates, watch a recording of our recent webinar.

And good luck!

How has learning and development changed during Covid-19?

During recent months, once ordinary day to day processes and activities have changed massively for many across the logistics sector. With travel restrictions, lockdown, and social distancing to adhere to, there has no doubt been an effect on how those within our sector are delivering training and employee development strategies.

For our podcast series, the Talent in Logistics team recently caught up with Simon Tindall, Head of New Business BDU, and Liz Hanway, Sector Lead for Transport and Logistics BDU, from the Open University to find out how learning and development has changed, in particular in relation to e-learning and distance learning.  

In part one of a two-part blog, we see what they had to say about distance learning trends, why it’s a good thing, what the challenges are, and how to take the first steps towards implementing online learning in your training and development.

Read on to learn more or listen to the full podcast now.

When we look at trends since Covid-19 hit and we went into lockdown has there been an increase in people enquiring and enrolling on courses at the Open University?

[Simon Tindall]: I think what we’ve seen is not necessarily a huge change as such, but a significant acceleration of demand. So, prior to Covid, we always knew that people are increasingly looking at smaller and more modular courses. They were looking to do more education on the fly if you like and continue to upskill throughout their career, and this move towards generalists, rather than specialists that employers are looking for. 

Within the first eight weeks of the lockdown, we saw something like a trebling of activity on Open Learn which is a free educational portal. We saw over a million enrolments on courses within the eight week period and, although that has plateaued a little bit as Lockdown has progressed, we’ve certainly seen this huge adaptation towards people looking at online learning and distance learning options as being very feasible. So, we expect, as we come out of recovery, for that trend, to pretty much continue. 

[Liz Hanway]: Interestingly, our PR agency has also helped do some polling to see what activity has been going on. Almost half of the people on that pulse said they felt very uncertain about their current job role, and 24% of them have taken on additional learning opportunities. That is in part to increase their employability skills, but also a sense of feeling the need to protect the value of their skills in their current workplace, so that if redundancies are being made they are showing that they’ve got the highest skills possible to keep their current job. 

The biggest rise that we have seen – 39% – is among 18 to 24-year olds. One in four of those admitted that they would like to have more direction from their employers when it comes to learning new skills. With younger team members at 38%, most keen to have a steer from their leaders on how to remain employable post coronavirus. 

So, what we’ve seen at the Open University is a change in that the age population of who we’re educating has also come down. Prior to this, we were probably more post-25, and now we are seeing more 18 to 24-year olds as well.

At the moment, there’s a logical reason as to why people might look at Open University or distance learning, because we’re in a time where it’s not as easy to get into a classroom to train. But why do you think students choose distance learning over more traditional classroom-based learning?

[LH]: – I think the world has been changing – we’ve been moving more to a digital world and Covid has just accelerated that. I think people are thinking more and more about the lifestyle they want and the costs – I know for myself, I’m actually saving quite a bit of money not commuting into the office. I’m actually having more time with my children to play Monopoly. And thinking more about what my personal drivers are in life, not just my work-life balance.

I think this is what people are now reflecting on during the Covid pandemic – what do I want to do? My future career? How can I progress maybe in that company? And protect my job? But, equally, is this a wakeup call to doing something differently? 

So why people might choose distance learning? Number one is, ultimately, we are a great university, but we are, because of our major delivery, cheaper than traditional universities. It doesn’t cost £27,000 to do a degree with us. We can give you the flexibility and lifestyle that’s around it. So, we don’t, dictate that you come on campus and have to do lectures at a certain time. 

The sort of person that comes and studies at the university is really self-driven, they are doing it because they want to do it. I know that sounds daft but when I went to university, it was the thing I had to do because my parents said, “pick a course, off, you go”. We find people at the Open University have very much decided it’s a personal journey that they are on. These are people that are very confident, self-motivated, and able to balance that online learning.

The Open University was set up to educate adult learners that probably weren’t as confident in learning, and we still have that in place, so people will come to the university who haven’t studied before and can go at a pace that suits them. The Open University were top within the UK, potentially Europe, for disabled students, with 17% within that category, so a lot of students are attracted to our accessibility.  All our courses are designed with dyslexia or colour blindness in mind

We have extra validation so course can be delivered online. Most universities will primarily face to face teach, and then whack on a PowerPoint at the end. When we say distance learning education, what we’ve actually done is research around the methodologies that actually work.

[ST]: Ultimately it just comes down to flexibility, so the way the courses are structured, and the delivery mechanism allows people to build their educational balance or education around other commitments, be that work or family commitments.

I think one of the key areas is particularly if you have ties to staying in the home environment, for example if you’re a carer or, in the current situation, when you’re isolating or shielding in some way. That flexibility and the ability to access from home becomes really important. It’s like working from home – prior to the crisis, people did it, but it was generally still seen as people should be in the office. I think some of those myths have been largely broken over the last 3 or 4 months.

What are the challenges in distance learning?

[ST]: I think the biggest challenge is that you are largely doing it on your own. The flexibility is great, but you also need a self-discipline to actually complete the work assignments, and to self-motivate, as well. There is also the obvious challenge that a lot of online learning is very much done in isolation.

The way that we try and structure our formal education, is doing far more as a social activity. So, in the same way as with a bricks and mortar university, you would be split into various tutor groups and you would have a physical tutor that supporting you. We replicate that structure online, so it’s not as if you’re just doing this course totally in isolation. 

[LH]: –You have got to be self-disciplined. There are going to be days where you think “I don’t want to do this”, and you’ve got no one else around you in a classroom environment to say “come on. The other thing you’ve got to do is be really good at managing your time.  75% of our students who are studying at the University are doing it around other personal commitments and in employment, so they have to really plan when it is time to study.

We do a lot of work with training providers within the logistics sector, and they predominantly deliver hands-on training (driver training for example), but what are the first steps they can take to deliver parts of their courses via online methods?

[LH]: – First, identify what it is that they want the learner to come away with. Even with very technical courses, there may still be some softer skills surrounding it. Not every course is going to be viable to teach online especially in transport and logistics. You’re not going to learn to drive a forklift truck by going on an online course. What you might learn is how to manage your time more efficiently, or how to lead a team, and all that’s behind it. 

What I would say to suppliers is really look at the courses you’re doing already and start to break them up into bite sized chunks. Establish what the elements are that really need to be taught face to face. What are the elements that you could migrate to an online blended learning platform? And just to clarify what we mean by online – it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be looking at a computer screen. It could still be that you’re interacting with people, but just not in a face-to-face environment. 

[ST]: – Having people in a face-to-face environment in a classroom is expensive. And for employers, it’s an expensive opportunity cost, because learners could be working instead of training. So, it’s about how do you optimise that classroom time more effectively? What elements can actually be studied prior to the training beginning and started online? Thinking about driving a forklift truck and how it operates – you could study the underlying theories online, before coming to the classroom, so you’re far better prepared. Optimising the classroom time more effectively is one of the first steps. 

In terms of how the OU can help, obviously we produce all of our own content across our whole curriculum at degree level, and also our whole online learning for education elements as well. We also produce for other parties as well, so we have a commercial division where we’re using Open University methodologies, pedagogies, and expertise to actually bring that impact of training to other parties. And if people are interested, we are more than happy to do that, either as an own brand product or to look at joint ventures in those types of areas.

I’ve seen some interesting articles that talk about the fact that employers sometimes favour those who have come through traditional education compared to someone that’s got their degree through distance learning because they don’t see it as the credible option. What would you say to that? 

[ST]: – One of the key things that what we find is to the contrary – quite often Open University degrees are actually more highly valued, because, as we talked about, you need a lot of self-discipline. Typically, most of the people to undertake an open degree, or open university degree, are working and balancing, and they tend to be a little bit older. And, so, I think employers recognise it shows a lot more about the character of that potential employee than if they have just gone through a standard route of studying at 18-19. 

There was a survey on LinkedIn of around a quarter of a million LinkedIn profiles in the UK completed about six to nine months ago and it said that the highest university, where people got qualifications for managing directors and CEOs, wasn’t Oxford or Cambridge, but it was actually the Open University 

[LH]: –I think the world’s starting to recognise that the types of people that are doing these courses are bringing with them valuable new learning skills, but also work skills with them as well. When you finish your degree, and come to do a job, you’re probably in a much better position because you have all the attributes that an employer is looking for. 

People are very shocked to hear that actually OU is in the top 100 global business schools, and that we are in the top 19 in England alone, with triple accreditation for the business school and its MBA. 

Do you think for yourselves as OU and for distance learning as a whole there’s going to be a change for the long term? And might we see more schools, colleges, and traditional universities taking a more distance-based learning approach?

[ST]: I think remote learning is always changing and continues to do so. The current situation accelerated a lot of things that we’re already beginning to change. I think one of the big, exciting areas is that we’ve already got debates going on in the UK around open schools, and how do you put more online provision in within schools and colleges. I think also for the universities, the whole sector is being challenged dramatically over the next two to three years, by their lack of preparation, or lack of online provision. 

Perhaps the most interesting things that you see within the world of work is this acceleration of linking academic education more closely to job and skill needs moving forward. I think what you are going to see is tighter integration between skills and universities and certainly the Open University doing a lot more in the area of skills training. 

Equally, this trend towards continual learning, that is going to carry on, and change from being bigger chunks of qualifications, to being picking up skills to get your next career move or your next promotion.

[LH]: I think with the move to online, what I’m also seeing is people that might not necessarily have got their GCSE Maths or English and didn’t want to go to night school or college, or had the fear of walking into an examination hall, are now realizing that they can do these qualifications online. I’m definitely seeing a lot more employers contacting me to see if they can help employees get their GCSE Maths and English qualifications.

Talent in Logistics Podcast

The second part of this blog will take a look at what Liz and Simon think about how distance learning can support the future skills agenda, and what resources are available now to employers and employees in the logistics sector, including those on furlough or facing redundancy.

Or, listen to the full podcast now to hear more.

You could also listen to our other recent podcasts, which include guidance for employers on employees returning to work post-pandemic with Woodfines Solicitors, and a thought provoking discussion around equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace with Clipper Logistics.

Sponsor: Find and compare the best online courses to fit your learning needs!

How can we overcome barriers to learning in logistics and transport? Part 3

This is the final part of our blog series looking at how logistics organisations can overcome common barriers to training and development.

In the first instalment, we covered justifying time and budget for training and overcoming negative attitudes to training and we’ve also covered getting managers on board with training. These shared ideas and advice from the audience of instructors, in-house trainers and training providers that attended an interactive session at our Talent in Logistics Develop Conference in January.

Now, let’s look at their advice relating to two more example scenarios. Do they sound familiar?

How can you make training accessible?

The scenario:

A survey was conducted with your blue-collar workforce recently and they were asked about training. Their responses varied but the overwhelming themes were that studying is too hard and so they wouldn’t be able to do it, and that learning is just not fun. How can you work to change these views?

Delegates’ ideas and recommendations:

Why does the workforce think they are they can’t do it? Is it because they are older and don’t understand the technology being used in training? Or are they young and feel inexperienced compared to colleagues? In these scenarios it may be more of a confidence building exercise than anything else.

It’s possible that they don’t enjoy training because they have a different learning style that isn’t being catered for. Maybe they could benefit from using something like a VR simulator instead of PowerPoint classroom training?

What’s the best way to tackle poor performance on training courses?

The scenario:

Your organisation has a policy where all operatives who reach a supervisory level of responsibility are to attend a mandatory Lift Truck Instructor course for their CPD. The course pass rates for these particular candidates are below average and the people that run the course confirm that the candidates lack engagement from the moment they arrive. Other people from within the organisation are calling out for development but don’t appear to have the same opportunities.

Delegates’ ideas and recommendations:

First, the company should question why this policy is in place and if it is the right thing. Clearly, it’s not right for the business as the people that matter don’t love it. Is there more relevant training that could be offered? Find out by asking them!

If you have operators that are keen and capable of being instructors, it might be better to train them instead of the supervisors – there seems to be a big difference in attitude. There could be brilliant operators being overlooked and this is a waste of talent. It’s about making sure that the right progression programmes are in place.

If supervisors are being sent on an instructor course simply as a tick box for CPD it is more likely they will be disengaged with the training. Once at supervisory level, will a member of staff have time to also be an Instructor? It could seem overwhelming to their workload and that is why they don’t want to pass the course.

Managing and developing talent

There isn’t a one size fits all solution when it comes to developing people in logistics and transport – every organisation is different. However, no matter what your challenges are, Talent in Logistics can help.

Download free resources on our website, read the Talent in Logistics Journal for the latest news and thought leadership, or attend one of our events.

Talent in Logistics Event Calendar

Our next event is the Talent in Logistics Engage Conference on 21st April 2020. Here, delegates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to feel more confident, more prepared and ready to keep their workforce better engaged than ever before. Book your place now.

Over the summer, the Forklift Operator of the Year and LGV Driver of the Year live competitions take place, celebrating our industry’s best talent.

Then on 10th September, our Talent in Logistics Attract Conference will focus on how the best reach the range of potential employees needed to bridge the skills gap in transport and logistics.

Our year of events culminates in a celebration of excellence in our sector at the Talent in Logistics Awards in October. Full details to be announced soon, including how you can enter the awards to reward and recognise your talented employees and your best people development initiatives.

How can we overcome barriers to learning in logistics and transport? Part 2

This blog is the second instalment in our series bring together the ideas and recommendations from real Instructors, in-house trainers and training providers when it comes to overcoming barriers to developing people in the logistics and transport sector.

These helpful insights came from our recent Talent in Logistics Develop Conference, which included an interactive session where delegates worked in teams to discuss some of our sectors most common training challenges.

Our first blog in the series looked at how to justify time and budget for training and overcoming negative attitudes to training. In this instalment, we look at another all-too familiar scenario.

How to get managers on board with training

The scenario:

Bob is a senior manager at your organisation and he most certainly has an influence on his team, but Bob does not practice what he preaches when it comes to learning and development. He doesn’t keep up to date with industry changes, he doesn’t challenge himself, he isn’t curious of what other teams are doing. So why should his team? What could you say to Bob?

Delegates’ ideas and recommendations:

It would be a good idea to assess Bob’s intentions. Why is he acting that way? What are his motives at work?

As a senior leader, it would be interesting to know what training Bob has done himself. Has he ever been invested in? It would be good to look at all senior management as part of this exercise so that he doesn’t feel singled out.

Bob certainly needs his KPIs assessed. These should include how he can better influence his team.

It’s most important to find ways to help Bob lead from the front. Go back to the old acronym – TEAM, Together We Achieve More.

Logistics training resources and advice

Whether you’re experiencing issues because you’ve got a ‘Bob’ in your workforce, or you’re facing other people development challenges – you’re not alone! Talent in Logistics has a range of resources to help support you.

Talent in Logistics blog

Our Develop blog posts are a great place to find out more about the benefits of developing talent, specific to the transport and logistics sector. Armed with this information, this could help you get senior managers on board with training and people development programmes at every level.

The Talent in Logistics Journal

Have you signed up to receive your free Talent in Logistics Journal yet? The TLJ is a magazine completely dedicated to the people in our sector, and how to best attract, develop and engage them.

Every issue contains insightful advice and thought leadership articles. In the latest issue, Bob might be interested to read the Develop section to learn about the Europa Worldwide Group’s RAPID Career Development Programme, or e-Truck, a new innovative approach to learning from RTITB.

Read the Talent in Logistics Journal now or sign up to our newsletter to receive a free copy.

Talent in Logistics Conferences

Our Develop Conference in January was a huge success. Read more about the event. But we are already hard at work on our next event – the Talent in Logistics Engage Conference on 21st April 2020.

This would be a great place for Bob to learn about how to engage with his team to increase productivity, reduce staff turnover, improve absence and safety incident rates and much more.

Book Engage Conference tickets now or find out more.

How can we overcome barriers to learning in logistics and transport? Part 1

At the recent Talent in Logistics Develop Conference, we asked our audience of instructors, in-house trainers and training providers to share their expertise when it comes to how logistics organisations can overcome common barriers to training and development.

More than 100 delegates worked together in teams to discuss example scenarios that represented some of the frequently faced training issues in the transport and logistics sector.

This is the first in a series of three blogs sharing delegate’s ideas and recommendations from the session. These examples might sound familiar and the advice may help you overcome some of your own internal challenges.

How can you justify time and budget for training?

The scenario:

Your organisation only trains to deliver short terms results and performance, the senior leaders claim that the cost for training far outweighs the benefit it delivers to the business. Occasionally they change their tune but then money gets a bit tight or the business gets busy and the training is removed from the schedule/budget.

Delegates’ ideas and recommendations:

The Health and Safety or Training departments need to educate senior leaders on why they shouldn’t cut training. You should explain relevant regulations and legislation and refer to Approved Codes of Practice.

Explain to the organisation about how investing in time to train now, could reduce downtime in the future with enhanced productivity. Safety levels would also improve and there would be less accidents, this would mean less damage to stock and machinery which would save money. Maybe using a case study of similar organisations that have ended up with fines where they haven’t met standards would help.

Senior management need to understand that it is better to pay a couple of thousand pounds on training every few years rather than paying out tens of thousands of pounds when there is an accident. It could be helpful to do some networking with other organisations to find out what they are doing and do some benchmarking.

Getting an in-house trainer has lots of benefits for training – it makes the team into more of a family and enables the trainer to identify their colleagues’ needs and address them. It could also allow you to split training up internally to take place over a period of time, flexing around peak times, rather than leaving it until the last minute and putting everyone under pressure.

It sounds like the workforce at this organisation won’t feel like they are being invested in and treated as the valuable asset that they are, they probably feel like they are just a number. Maybe changing the view on training and development would also help the company with staff retention, and therefore reduce recruitment costs.

How can a business overcome negative attitudes to training?

The scenario:

Your organisation has a workforce that is extremely disengaged, this becomes very apparent during times of change. When training is delivered on new processes and procedures there are lots of comments about how ‘it will never work’, ‘we have seen it all before’ and ‘what would the management know about our job role’. Sound familiar? How could you try and address this?

Delegates’ ideas and recommendations:

To tackle a disengaged workforce, it’s a good idea to reinforce the benefits of training. Sometimes by focusing on the personal benefits of training it’s easier to win hearts and minds.

Training highlights real challenges and situations encountered on the road or in an operational environment. The workforce think the managers don’t understand, so perhaps management could consider going ‘back to the floor’ and taking a ‘show not tell’ approach.

It might be helpful to look at examples from other companies who are getting it right, or, if there is disengagement with management, look at peer-to-peer training as an alternative.

It’s important to get open feedback after training. Technology could be used to do a staff engagement survey easily at grass roots level. In this scenario, the management should try and find out what the employee’s want, consider what’s possible and identify a middle ground.

More help with overcoming training challenges

These are just the first two example scenarios and some ideas on how to address them. Look out for the next blog in the series, which will look at the hot topic of getting managers on board with training.

In the meantime, you can learn plenty more about managing and developing talent in logistics and transport businesses through the Develop blogs on our website and in the Talent in Logistics Journal.

In the latest issue, you can get ideas about developing talent with a career development programme or read one logistics professional’s story on how they progressed from Apprentice to Account Manager.

Talent in Logistics Engage Conference

To help support you in engaging your logistics workforce, the Talent in Logistics Engage Conference will take place on 21st April 2020. The event will look in detail at how to boost employee engagement and the specific benefits this can bring to businesses in the transport and logistics sector.

Book Engage Conference tickets now or find out more.

Helping trainers develop their people at our first Talent in Logistics Conference of 2020

On Wednesday 22nd January we were delighted to welcome more than a hundred instructors, trainers, professional training providers and internal training teams working within transport and logistics to our first Talent in Logistics event of the year – the Develop Conference.

The conference, which was newly created for 2020 to help support those responsible for training and developing people in transport and logistics operations, saw a line-up of top industry speakers delivering seminars, panel discussions and even a mock crown court trial.

It was fantastic to see so many training businesses and in-house trainers come together at the event in Manchester to collaborate, share expertise and work together to solve our sector’s unique training challenges.

But don’t just take our word that it was a great event, here’s what some of our delegates had to say:

“This is the first time that I had attended one of your courses and really enjoyed the whole day. There was so much information and guidance on offer to help me along with my career. Well done to all involved.”

 “Thank you for arranging the event and for inviting some very informative speakers. I learnt some valuable information and found it to be very useful.”

“Excellent and informative event. Keep up the excellent work TIL.”

Develop Conference Highlights

This was followed by a presentation looking at Driver CPC: 10 Years On, and a Vocational Training Update, delivered by two experts from the DVSA, Elizabeth Heaton, National Standards and Accreditation Service Manager and Ian Gainford, Assistant Chief Driving Examiner – Policy Manager.

10 years on, there are now 1200 Driver CPC approved centres and 3200 approved courses with 600,000 drivers in scope, 500,000 of which are LGV drivers.  In the past 5 years, 26 million training hours have been uploaded, with 800,000 Driver Qualification Cards (DQCs) issued, 190,000 of which were for the Driver CPC Initial Qualification. 

The session revealed current Driver CPC developments from the DVSA which include working with subject matter experts from TfL, HSE and Highways England to promote and publish approved course content, including materials such as quizzes and DVDs.  A voluntary register for Driver CPC trainers has also been launched in partnership with the National Register of LGV Instructors to recognise skills, support CPD and raise standards.

DVSA also shared some of its up-to-date plans for Driver CPC include a greater focus on safety-related subjects, e-learning options and possible recognition of ADR and other EU mandated training.

“Keep up to date with new information, advice and technology and you’ll be a better, safer driver” was a quote from DVSA’s Chief Driving Examiner Mark Winn shared in the presentation. In line with this, DVSA provided up-to-date information on the future of vocational LGV driver training.

This included details of the driving examiner service (DES) project which is rolling out the use an iPad App to help make the administration of the driving test quicker and easier. This aims to reduce the potential for fraud and speed up the issue of licenses to successful candidates. A number of other changes are proposed to the contents of the various LGV driving tests. Most categories will require far fewer stops and fewer questions to be covered in the practical test.

Logistics apprenticeships, automation and more!

Apprenticeships continue to be a key point for discussion for anyone working in people development in our sector. So, a session with Stuart McDonagh, Internal Quality Assurance at Merlin Supply Chain Solutions asked ‘Apprenticeships: What Does Good Look Like?’.

Stuart focused on the WHAT, WHY and HOW of apprenticeships, from the perspective of the employer, learner, training provider and awarding/funding bodies. He summarised this as “Good looks like what you and the Apprentice need to fulfil all of the requirements, for their role and your program.” He also flagged three hot topics for employers and trainers to be aware of when it comes to delivering apprenticeships: safeguarding requirements, on the job training calculations and employer ESFA accounts (replacing non-levy accounts).

Sally Gilson, Ian Gainford and Stuart McDonagh were then joined by Ryan Robbins, Senior Behavioural Sciences Researcher for TRL for an engaging panel discussion, debating ‘Automation & Technology: What Training Will Instructors Be Delivering in the Future?’.

Alternative fuels were discussed as potentially a bigger short-term change to be aware of than autonomous vehicles, with potentially big infrastructure changes required to adopt these solutions.  With many more systems to learn, and an ageing workforce that does not always find technologies easy, the consensus was that the roll out of autonomous vehicle technologies may still be a way off.  However, some technologies are likely to affect training in the shorter term. For instance, the use of eye tracking technology in hazard perception tests.

 Andy Coram, Head of Risk Management & Head of Change Office at Home Office, then presented a highly topical session focused on how the transport and logistics sector can go about ‘Preventing Clandestine Entrants & Human Trafficking’.

The UK is currently trying to deal with a migrant crisis and constantly implementing new measures at the borders in France in an aim to prevent clandestine entrants.  However, LGV drivers and their employers play a big role in this with security of the vehicle of paramount importance.

For drivers this can be as simple as locking the cab and trailer doors, securing them using a tilt cord, seal or padlocks, checking for signs of tampering and reporting concerns to the police. A new vehicle security advice film has been launched by the Home Office to support drivers.

The professional development opportunities continued during the lunch break with a rare chance to network with, and learn from, other training professionals. A thought-provoking session followed looking at “Engagement: How Do We Overcome Barriers to Learning”, led by Talent in Logistics very own Ruth Edwards and Richard Brewer, Technical Services Manager (LGV), RTITB.  Scenarios were based on real feedback from the sector, covering areas such as poor trainee engagement, lack of management support and funding for training programmes and bad attitudes to training. Look out for our upcoming blog series which reveals how our delegates at the conference recommended tackling each of the different scenarios presented.

Improving logistics and transport safety with training

David Goss, Technical Manager from British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), along with Adam Smith, Chairman of the Accrediting Bodies Association (ABA) then hosted a session to inform attendees about a number of key updates, titled ‘Industrial Trucks: Training Standards & Safety Update’.

This included an update on the ISO 21262 “Industrial trucks: Safety rules for application, operation and maintenance” standard due for publication in September 2020. This will provide guidance for operators and trainers and recommendations regarding training programmes.  Also covered was the ISO 5053 series –Industrial trucks –Vocabulary and how the ABA has input into the international truck classifications and descriptions.

The session continued with information and National Forklift Safety Day 2020, which will be focused on the segregation of pedestrians from MHE as 43% of forklift RIDDOR reports are impacts with a person. Improving this could cover from training and PPE through to using different equipment and changing layout or infrastructure. Visit the BITA website to find out more.

The Develop Conference culminated with a unique mock crown court hearing led by Woodfines Solicitors, providing a sobering insight into the aftermath of workplace transport accidents; confirming exactly why the correct training is so important for those at all levels in logistics and transport.

In the session, the delegates at the conference acted as members of the jury to hear the tragic case of Mr John Smith, a forklift truck driver who was involved in a fatal accident at work at the company’s distribution centre following a collision with a lorry.  The case focused on allegations of alcohol misuse, a failure by the company to heed relevant warnings and improper and insufficient risk assessments.  Having heard from the prosecution and the defence, the Develop Conference jury ultimately found the defendant guilty!

Talent in Logistics Engage Conference

Although the Develop Conference is over for another year, we have plenty of resources to help logistics and transport trainers develop their people on our website here.

What’s more, it’s just a few months until our next event! The Talent in Logistics Engage Conference turns the spotlight onto engaging with employees to increase productivity, as well as ways to reduce staff turnover and improve absence and safety incident rates. 

The Engage Conference takes place on 21st April 2020 at the Cranfield Management Development Centre in Bedford.  Don’t miss out! Book tickets now or find out more.

Or if you have any questions about our 2020 Talent in Logistics Event Calendar, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Five ways to tackle your logistics skills shortage

Five ways to tackle your logistics skills shortage

The transport and logistics sector faces a multitude of challenges when it comes to talent, from driver shortages and skills gaps to an ageing workforce. What’s more, research detailed in our downloadable Talent in Logistics Whitepaper “Changing Perceptions: Attracting Young Talent into Logistics” found that only 8% of young respondents felt that logistics was an attractive career option.

So, what can businesses do to help address this logistics skills shortage?

We asked a number of experts from our sector for their take on this all-important issue.

“To anyone facing skills shortage, I would urge them to think differently,” says Jennifer Swain, Head of Talent Acquisition at Clipper Logistics, whose Fresh Start campaign won a Talent in Logistics Award last year. “Applying the same recruitment methods as you did during times when candidates were abundant will only result in failure. It is important to be strategic and think about how you can create further reach.”

Professor Edward Sweeney, Director of the Logistics and Systems Institute at Aston University builds on this.

“Talent retention is just as important as talent attraction,” he says. “Make sure that current staff at all levels are fully empowered and operating in a high-performance team environment. In this context, keep staff apprised of developments in the company and the wider supply chain of which it is part.”

“Always have one eye on the future,” says Sally Gilson, Head of Skills at the Freight Transport Association (FTA). “Think about how you’re developing your workforce and where your skills gaps are.”

But what could that mean in practice?

Here are 5 top tips from Talent in Logistics to attract and develop new talent, helping to protect the future of the logistics industry.

1. Be a great place to work!

Start by making your company a great place to work. If your current employees are happy then news will spread, and other people will want to come and work for you. Jennifer Swain from Clipper agrees.

“One of the main areas for businesses to address is the strength and visibility of your brand and your Employer Value Proposition,” says Jennifer Swain of Clipper.

2. Focus on youth recruitment in your logistics operations

Does your business offer younger employees the things that are important to them in a job?

Having a diverse and inclusive culture, a strong environment strategy, a happy and supportive workplace and ways to develop and succeed are all attractive propositions to millennial and Generation Z workers. Make sure you tell younger potential employees about these things when you market your opportunities and your business as a workplace. Don’t be an #OKBoomer !

The world of transport and logistics can offer many people long-term careers with fantastic development opportunities, yet our White Paper found that young people are unaware of this. It’s vital that you tell them!

3. Look at alternative labour sources

While youth employment and engaging with schools and colleges is important, there are other groups which could fill vital roles in our sector. For instance, what about mothers returning to work after maternity leave? Dads wanting a career change? Or how about the older generation that could enjoy some time on the road as an HGV driver now their children have grown up and left home?

When recruiting for a role, think about how you can sell your roles and your organisation to different groups. “Consider flexible working and changing shift patterns to attract full time parents and retired people or reach out to ex-offenders or individuals with disabilities,” suggests Clipper’s Jennifer Swain.

4. Be competitive

When trying to attract candidates into logistics roles, it’s not enough to offer something comparable to other warehouse or haulage businesses. You’re competing for these candidates with roles in other industries, from retail to fast food outlets. To be truly competitive, you need to show potential employees what you can offer that they don’t.

Once talent is on board, it’s then vital to keep it.

“Your workforce will be more engaged if you invest in them,” adds FTA’s Sally Gilson. “Keep training going throughout employees careers and this will help with staff retention. If staff feel valued, they are much less likely to leave.”

5. Keep up with changes in the logistics sector

Our sector is constantly changing, so it’s important to think ahead and keep up with the next logistics challenges.

For instance, many businesses are looking at ways to ‘remove the need’ for staff. One proposed solution in the transport sector is modal shift, which could enable more freight to be transported by rail rather than road, making the LGV driver shortage less of an issue for employers.

There are similar considerations around reverse logistics and making lorry runs more productive. As well as the obvious positive environmental impact, it is more cost-effective to ensure that trucks come back to depot with full loads, while also requiring less drivers.

Professor Edward Sweeney raises the importance of ‘image shift’ when it comes to tackling skills shortage, moving “away from dirty trucks and big sheds to environmentally sustainable, globally connected and technologically advanced supply chains.”

Likewise, to protect the environment there is a need to educate people on the impact of ordering items online despite intending to return many of them. These returns have a big environmental impact that reaches further than just the transport and fuel costs, packaging for example. However, reducing returns also lessens the requirement for delivery vehicles on the road and those that drive them.

But how might trends like these affect your business operation and the recruitment and development of your people?

This is one of the ways in which our 2020 calendar of Talent in Logistics Conferences can help you!

Talent in Logistics Develop Conference

Created with logistics training professionals in mind, a key focus of the Talent in Logistics Develop Conference is future skills challenges and how you can address employee development challenges. Join us for the conference on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at Hotel Football in Manchester to learn more from sector experts and your peers. Register for the Develop Conference.

Talent in Logistics Engage Conference

The next event of the year is our Engage Conference, focused on core topics such as how to engage with employees to increase productivity, reduce staff turnover, improve absence and safety incident rates. It takes place on 21st April 2020 at the Cranfield Management Development Centre in Bedford. Book tickets or find out more.

Live Forklift Operator and LGV Driver Competitions

The Talent in Logistics Live Competitions are dedicated to recognising and rewarding the Forklift Operators and LGV Drivers that keep the logistics sector moving every day. What better way to show you value the talent in your organisation and encourage employee loyalty?

The Forklift Operator of the Year competition roadshow will take place at venues across the UK in June 2020, while the LGV Driver of the Year competition will culminate with a live final on 23rd June at Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire.

Entries for the live competitions open in January 2020, and close in April. Enter now!

Winners of both competitions will be announced at the Talent in Logistics Awards in October 2020. Details of this prestigious event, dedicated to celebrating the best talent in logistics and transport, will be announced soon. Register your interest in the Talent in Logistics Awards to be the first to know all the details!

Talent in Logistics Attract Conference

The Talent in Logistics Attract Conference, on 10th September 2020 at the GTG Training Centre in Wolverhampton, is focused on helping you learn how to reach the range of potential employees needed to bridge the skills gap in the transport and logistics sector. Register your place now!

If you have any questions about our 2020 Talent in Logistics Event Calendar, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Why your Instructors should attend industry events

Why Instructors Should Attend Industry Events

In the ever-changing logistics industry, it can be challenging to know where to begin when it comes to retaining and developing your trainers and instructors.

However, a good place to start is ensuring that your trainers and instructors receive regular training themselves and attend industry events. Here’s 5 reasons why.

1. Professional development is valued

What may at the time feel like losing staff members for a portion of time, be it a few hours to a few days, is a small price to pay when it comes to staff retention and development.

A survey carried out in 2018 found that two thirds of people leave their jobs due to a lack of training and development.

Continuous training throughout the year and regularly attending events will ensure that your instructors feel valued within the workplace and will ensure that time is well spent, not wasted.

2. Investment increases engagement

Investing in the people that lead your training teams can initially seem both costly and somewhat risky. What if you pay for instructors to attend an event and then a few months down the line, they leave your company? (And leave you out of pocket).

According to a study by ACAS, replacing a salaried employee can cost in excess of £30,000 once you’ve added up agency fees, advertising costs, HR and management time, as well as the potential cost of hiring temporary staff to provide cover in a process that can take an average of up to 7 months.

When people feel invested in, they are more motivated, engaged and loyal, leading to a lower rate of staff turnover. So in fact, investing in training and conferences for instructors could save you money!

3. It benefits your business

By gaining a new level of knowledge and understanding through continuous training and attending industry events, instructors will come back to your business and have the ability to deliver a better standard of training. This can result in greater safety throughout the workplace, as well as greater levels of efficiency and will help your business to grow and succeed.

4. Networking benefits learning

What better opportunity for instructors to speak to the relevant figures in your sector than at a conference, organised by those who understand it?

For example, with logistics experts all under one roof, there’s no better time to network with key people in your sector than at the Talent in Logistics Develop Conference in January 2020. It’s a perfect way for instructors to learn from their peers and take best practice and new knowledge back to the workplace.

5. Keep up with an ever-changing industry

The logistics sector is constantly changing, so it’s important to ensure that you think ahead, keep up with your competition and be ready for the challenges that are just around the corner.

How will your business need to adapt to developing a workforce in the face of increasing automation, for example? What standards and legislation are changing for workplace transport in the future? What can we expect next for transport and logistics apprenticeships?

Attend the Develop Conference on 22nd January 2020

Instructors can find out the answers to these questions (and more) at the Develop Conference on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at Hotel Football in Manchester.

By attending, instructors and training providers can learn from sector experts and network with peers so that they can bring valuable new knowledge, skills and ideas back to your business.

Tickets for the Develop Conference are an affordable investment in your talent at just £75+VAT. Click here to register for the conference or for more information, contact the team on or call 01952 520216.

For more advice and thought-provoking articles to aid in developing your instructors, you can also sign up for a free issue of the Talent in Logistics Journal online now.

How technology can help lift truck, LGV and logistics trainers

How technology can help lift truck, LGV and logistics trainers

We often hear resistance from trainers and instructors when it comes to utilising training technologies for logistics eLearning.  

Some believe that the use of eLearning, or similar, is not as engaging, some worry it will put people out of a job, and others feel that the quality of training isn’t as good as when its delivered hands-on by a skilled professional.

However, if the right logistics training technologies are used correctly, they can create an opportunity for instructors and trainers, not a threat.

Re-thinking logistics e-learning

When it comes to transport and logistics training, e-Learning has mixed reviews. The term will usually just conjure up thoughts of decks of clickable PowerPoint slides online.  While these may have worked for some organisations, for others they delivered poor engagement. Meanwhile, training providers struggled to explain to potential clients why reading a series of slides alone may not be enough to ensure high quality theory training.

However, just because some transport and logistics trainers have had a bad experience, it doesn’t mean that lift truck eLearning or LGV eLearning should be written off. In fact, there are organisations that are re-thinking the whole approach for delivering theory training.

Digital storytelling

For instance, workplace transport regulatory body RTITB has recently launched eTruck UK, an online digital storytelling platform where candidates learn by following a story that tackles complex themes enabling candidates to complete their lift truck theory training before attending practical training and taking their final assessments. 

In future, could training of this type become an alternative to what some consider ‘boring’ theory training?

The opportunity for AR

AR (augmented reality) or VR (virtual reality) have been available in the training industry for some time. However, while giants such as Walmart have made VR a core part of their employee training, the logistics and transport sector has been slower to adopt this type of training technology. 

However, for some businesses these technologies can be used throughout the learning journey by training departments looking to increase engagement, reduce cost and improve safety.  For example, a lift truck training simulator could offer significant benefits to big organisations who deliver training on-site and large training providers, with the benefit that they can train a greater number of operators. 

Rather than going straight to the training area, learning can be accelerated by building the trainees’ muscle memory on a realistic forklift simulator in the classroom and improving their awareness of space and hazards from the outset.  While lift truck training simulators cannot replace Basic Training, they can certainly be used to aid it, as well as supporting Specific Job Training and Familiarisation Training. 

Playing with the idea of training

Logistics and transport training – the theory side in particular – can have a reputation for being boring. However, logistics training technology is a great way to make learning fun! 

The global mobile gaming market is set to be worth $68.5 billion by the end of 2019 and trainers can harness that interest by using apps and games as highly effective training tools. Just take the example of Coca Cola, who used an app-based video game to deliver leadership training which received a 99% recommendation rate from those who completed it.  That’s a level of feedback that most lift truck or LGV trainers would be delighted with!

Seize the opportunity of training technology

Just as parking assistance sensors don’t take the place of a driver, transport training technology and logistics eLearning is not there to replace instructors and trainers, but to help them. 

By adopting carefully chosen new training technologies, logistics industry trainers could find new ways to improve engagement, efficiency and training effectiveness. That’s why this will be a key point on the agenda at the upcoming Talent in Logistics Develop Conference.

Don’t be left behind, particularly if you are a training business. You may find that it will help your business grow, give you more time and make you more profitable. All the while, making the trainees even better at their jobs!

Join us for the event on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at Hotel Football in Manchester to learn more about how trainers can benefit from emerging training technologies, as well as hearing from transport and logistics industry experts about some of the other important topics that currently affect instructors, trainers, training managers and L&D professionals.

Register for the Develop Conference or contact us to learn more.

Also, make sure you sign up for a free issue of the Talent in Logistics Journal online at


AO Logistics Wins Innovative Training Programme 2019

Launched in 2013, AO Logistics’ STAR Programme was launched and created in order to identify where their current talent lay. Judges were convinced that this well-constructed talent training programme inspires professionals to develop and grow in their careers, and so, they picked up the title for Innovative Training Programme at the Talent in Logistics Awards 2019.

The 12-month programme was designed to be a self-actualisation initiative for keen AO’ers who want to develop their soft skills, business acumen and to become the best version of themselves that they can be.

As AO was growing, they had been successful in spotting and up-skilling their workforce, but needed a platform for their current talent to be recognised. Those enrolled on the programme were given the opportunity to be involved in mater-classes delivered by the senior team, team-working activities and charity fundraising projects. Over the course of the 12 months, employees are then congratulated for their efforts via the STAR Programme Graduation and Awards.

The stand out qualities and purpose for this programme is for AO’s talented people to be the best that they can be. Speaking to Helen Hookway, Head of People & Development for AO, on the night of the awards, she was delighted to pick up the Innovative Training Programme award on behalf of AO and said: “It feels amazing to win this award because we are incredibly proud of our STAR programme. It has been running for six years now and is an internally designed programme which promotes our culture and values at its core.

“We have had some amazing successes with ‘STAR’, seeing 65 internal promotions from 63 graduates including discovering over two thirds of our depot Managers in AO’ers who have completed the programme. To date, 81% of our STAR graduates have remained with AO. Our STARS have also raised over £80,000 for local charities as part of their “giving something back” challenge. STAR is going from strength to strength and has become a key element of our internal talent management strategy. We add and take away elements every year to keep it current and fresh, and we hope that it will run for many years to come.”

If you believe that your talent training programme inspires professionals to develop and grow in the workplace, then it’s time to enter the Talent in Logistics Awards 2020 Innovative Training Programme category. Entry dates for the 2020 Awards will be announced in the upcoming months. Find out more about the category here.