Writing An Award-Winning Entry That Gets You Noticed

It’s time to celebrate yours, your teams and your company’s achievements!

You’ve decided you want to enter one of the Talent in Logistics Awards because of your fantastic achievements. But what are your next steps? Do you know how to plan for and write a good entry?

If writing award submissions is not your strong point, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

It doesn’t have to be difficult nor time consuming, but it does take focus and planning. As a team who has written and received our fair share of submissions, we have put together ‘Your Handy Guide: Writing An Award Winning Entry That Gets You Noticed’ resource to help you along the way.

Inside this resource you will find our top 10 do’s and don’ts, key information about the process and frequently asked questions.

Entries are now open for the Talent in Logistics Awards 2020, dedicated to celebrating those who have been successful in attracting, developing and engaging talent within logistics, as well as driving the sector forward. Entries deadline closes on Thursday 25 June 2020.

Time to recognise and reward the heroes in your logistics operation

Entries are now open for the Talent in Logistics Awards 2020, uniquely dedicated to recognising and rewarding the stand-out individuals, teams and organisations within our country’s vital logistics sector. 

The awards, which are free to enter, highlight those who have been successful in attracting, developing and engaging talent within logistics, as well as driving the industry forward. This has proven to be particularly essential for the logistics sector during the coronavirus pandemic where the supply chain is under greater pressure than ever.

“The magic of our sector is in the people and that is truer now than ever, where they are working tirelessly to keep our shops, hospitals and fuel stations stocked,” says Ruth. “It has never been more important to recognise and celebrate the unsung heroes on the front line of the supply chain, such as drivers and warehouse operatives.”

“These are challenging times, but there are brilliant people and initiatives in logistics that are helping to keep the country moving, and are ensuring that our sector thrives,” says Ruth. “Our awards are uniquely focused on people, ensuring that they get the recognition that they deserve.”

Award entry forms are available to download online until Thursday 25th June when entries will close. A shortlist will be announced shortly thereafter and winners will be announced on Thursday 1st October 2020 at an event the Concorde Centre in Manchester. 

Award entries will consist of a submission of up to 1000 words, along with the option to attach three supporting documents. Download entry forms at: www.talentinlogistics.co.uk/awards/categories/ 

The awards judging panel will be made up of experts, sector leaders and influencers from a variety of backgrounds including learning and development, human resources and industry leading publications.

Award categories for 2020 include ‘Innovation in Recruitment’ which will focus on recognising new and innovative ways of recruiting talent at all levels, along with ‘Collaboration in People Development’ which will reward collaborations that have nurtured and developed talent.

The ‘Innovative Training Programme’ award will recognise a company which has a well-constructed training programme that inspires people to develop and grow, whilst ‘Training Provider of the Year’ will focus on those who can demonstrate outstanding achievements in delivery for vocational education and training. 

The prestigious ‘Training Team of the Year’ award will look for a company that can demonstrate outstanding achievements and accomplishments in their field of expertise. 

The ‘Health, Safety & Wellbeing Initiative’ award will recognise an organisation that makes each employee feel cared for and valued. 

‘Best Place to Work’ will be awarded to a company that ensures its workforce (whether it’s 5 or 50,000 people) is at the heart of everything they do, whilst the ‘Industry Ambassador of the Year’ award will go to someone who really shines out as a star – someone who goes above and beyond everyday requirements.

Celebrating those who encourage the next level of talent, whether they manage a team of 100 or simply go out of their way to inspire, is the ‘Inspirational Leader of the Year’ award. 

The ‘Excellence in Coaching and Mentoring’ title will be given to an individual who can shows a willingness to share knowledge, skill and expertise with their team in order to provide long-term benefits.

The prestigious ‘Instructor of the Year’ award will be presented to an individual who is dedicated and motivated to nurturing professionals, whilst the ‘Rising Star of the Year’ award, which was introduced in 2019, recognises those who are on their way up in the world of logistics, hardworking, enthusiastic and eager to succeed.

“There’s an award for everyone, from HR, learning and development to training and operational professionals,” says Ruth. “Entering is a great way to focus on the positive during this challenging time.”

“We’re also spreading positivity and celebrating the amazing people in the sector through our current #ilovelogistics social media campaign”, Ruth says. “We’ll be on the look out for pictures and stories about why you’re proud to work on the front line of logistics or why you’re grateful to our country’s amazing logistics key workers, so be sure to get involved online.”

Tickets are now on sale for the annual Talent in Logistics Awards event. Buy online at: www.talentinlogistics.co.uk/awards/attend

For more information on entering the awards or attending the Awards evening, call the team on 01952 520216 or email talentinlogistics@captib.co.uk .

Covid-19: How to manage changes to your work life

With the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, remote and flexible working has become more commonplace within logistics companies across the UK. Meanwhile, driver hours legislation has been temporarily relaxed to allow for more deliveries. 

So how can you best adapt to the new working landscape in our sector?

Safety first

Those working within the supply chain are on the ‘front line’ and are crucial to keeping the country running. So, during what is a very stressful and demanding time for workers within the logistics sector, employers should ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff is maintained. 

And this is about more than just taking measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. It is about ensuring that safe working practices are upheld, even during busy times. For instance, that those on the road are not driving tired and those in the warehouse are not operating equipment they are not trained to use.

The mental health of employees must also be looked after too as they may be more susceptible than ever to workplace stress or anxiety. Homeworking presents particular challenges around mental health, employee satisfaction and engagement.

How to be a happy, healthy home worker

Just a few years back, studies suggested that half of the UK workforce would be working from home to some degree by 2020. However, the global pandemic means that many workers don’t currently have a choice when it comes to their working environment and those who would rather be in the field, on the shop floor or in the office are now working from home.

If you’re now unexpectedly working from home, this may be a big change to your working life, so it may take some time to adapt. However, here are 5 things that you can do to make the transition to working from home easier.

1. Stick to a routine

When you’re at home, you’re within an environment usually used for relaxing and unwinding after a long day, so it can be easy to fall into bad habits. 

From working in pyjamas to failing to prioritise your daily workload as there is no manager over your shoulder, what may seem like an insignificant change can have a real impact on your day. This can in turn affect your week, and so on, to the point where before you know it, it can feel like you can’t cope. 

On the other hand, with your work at your fingertips, it can be incredibly tempting to continue working long after you’d have usually left the office. What begins as ‘just getting this finished’ soon turns into it feeling like you haven’t actually had any time away from a screen! 

When working from home, be strict with yourself from the get-go. Start the day as you mean to go on by having a routine…and sticking to it! 

Get up when you usually would, have a shower, even go for a walk to ensure that you get some fresh air and be sure to stop for lunch everyday instead of snacking here and there. You’ll find that this can make the world of difference and helps to break the day up into smaller, more manageable sections.

2. Take regular breaks

If your job involves long periods of time on the computer, be sure to take regular breaks from staring at a screen. No matter what you’re doing, breaks are important for your well-being and your productivity, so its okay to make a cup of tea or coffee, step outside for a brief bit of fresh air or simply stretch your legs as you would in the office environment.

It might seem simple but this can be easily forgotten, especially when you’re already surrounded by your everyday home comforts.

3. Interaction is key!

How often do you find that you just go and speak to someone in the workplace because it’s easier than pinging them an email? 

You’re probably used to spending more time with your colleagues than your family, so one way to help manage the change to home working is to make sure that you don’t lose contact with your co-workers. 

Tools such as Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have proved in recent times how invaluable they are, allowing users to stay in touch, even if it’s just to say hello and ask how someone is getting on. 

At the moment, many people will feel isolated due to reduced social contact with not only colleagues, but friends and family members. Mental health is particularly important at this time and interaction can really help. 

Employers should continue to take care of the mental health of their employees while they are working remotely, and workers should ensure they speak to a manager if they are encountering mental health concerns due to the change in their working life.

4. Minimise all distraction

Just as you would in the normal office environment, try and avoid having anything around you that might steal your attention. This might be extremely difficult if you have children at home too! 

To begin with, it can be easy to assume that as you’re at home, you’ll be able to have a TV on in the background or even get some of the washing done during the day. However, that shouldn’t be the case.

Ensure that those who are in the house with you are aware that even though you’re home, you’re in ‘work mode’ during your regular working hours. If you’re able to, create a working space where you can set up each morning, completely focus and also easily walk away from at the end of the day.

5. Remember you’re not alone

You might be working from home alone, but you’re not truly alone. 

During these challenging times, it’s vital that you remember that the majority of the country is experiencing the same feelings as you are, the same hiccups, even the same internet problems! 

Thank You to the Heroes in Logistics!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the unsung heroes on the front line of the supply chain – such as drivers and warehouse operatives. We appreciate your efforts during this tough time and thank you for keeping our shops, hospitals and fuel stations stocked.

Join us in recognise and celebrating the amazing people working in the sector through our #ilovelogistics social media campaign. If you work in logistics, share your pictures and stories on social media of why you’re proud to work on the front line. If you appreciate the logistics workforce, share your pictures and stories and tell us why you’re grateful to our country’s amazing logistics key workers. Let’s get #ilovelogistics trending!

Or for resources that can help you learn more about engaging your workforce, even during this difficult time, click here or get in touch with our friendly team.

Talent in Logistics launches free jobs board during Covid-19

To assist logistics operations during Covid-19, Talent in Logistics has launched a jobs board in partnership with Smart recruit online, the award-winning talent attraction platform, to help promote current recruitment opportunities. 

“Dealing with the outbreak of Covid-19 is a big enough challenge for the logistics sector. There is high demand on the supply chain, with the need to keep shops, hospitals and fuel stations stocked,” says Ruth Edwards, Business Development Director at Talent in Logistics. “In these unusual times, we understand that extra resource and staff are needed to fulfil operational and delivery requirements.”

The jobs board, which launched on 27th March, is free, simple to set up and easy to navigate for employers, recruitment agencies and those in the search for current employment opportunities. 

“Mark Stephens, CEO at Smart recruit online says: “SRO are pleased to be working in partnership with Talent in Logistics, to help their members and the logistics business community address the real-life challenges associated with the recruitment and retention of staff. We aim to provide a range of highly advanced, free and low-cost solutions that can deliver tangible benefits, such as improvements to efficiency and effectiveness, as well as significantly driving down recruitment costs.”

To start posting current vacancies or search for current roles, visit www.talentinlogistics.co.uk/jobs/.

Keeping Spirits High During Covid-19: #ILoveLogistics


Now more than ever, our unsung heroes are the drivers and warehouse operatives on the front line, keeping our shops, hospitals and fuel stations stocked up. And now is the time to show how much we all appreciate their efforts.

Whether you work in logistics or not, as we face the challenges of COVID-19, the Talent in Logistics #ILoveLogistics campaign is something everybody should get involved in.

It’s a great way to recognise and celebrate our key workers. Let’s get behind our people and showcase how vital they are to keeping our country moving.

Get involved in the nationwide campaign today. Whether you’re on the front line or would like to support from home…

If you work in logistics

Share your pictures and stories on social media of you on the front line and why you are proud to work in the sector.

If you appreciate the logistics workforce

Share your pictures and stories on social media of you holding up your own #ILoveLogistics banner why you appreciate our key workers.


And don’t forget to use the hashtag


Let’s get trending!

Pandemonium Pandemic: Will Covid-19 Change the Face of Our Industry?

Coronavirus is a truly seismic event in our history. While the UK has faced pandemics before, most notably one-hundred years ago, the advances in medical technology and process since then have rendered this crisis a first of its kind. And since few of us living today were around to witness that cataclysm, we are in virgin territory. With people confined to their homes, and the NHS on red alert, a spotlight has been put on the supply chain, and we are under pressure to perform.

But even as this event brings home the reliance contemporary society has on logistics, for many of us it will open up questions over the future of the industry. Battening down the hatches at our organisations and plotting a course through the tempest is part of it. But we are likely to see profound effects beyond these exigencies, beyond even the cost to the economy. As the historian Alfred W. Crosby once said of the Spanish Flu, it ‘had a permanent influence not on the collectivities but on the atoms of human society – individuals.’ With Boris Johnson announcing a wartime government, and lockdowns worldwide, coronavirus may do the same.

One speculation flying round is that Covid-19 might bring about the rise of the four-day working week. A compressed work week has been much touted in recent years, and there is reason to believe shifting to this new model would yield benefits beyond the obvious boost to employee morale. Microsoft Japan piloted the four-day week in August last year and experienced an impressive 40% boost to productivity, along with reduced costs. Results in other tests have also been broadly encouraging, if less spectacular.

And now, the impact of social distancing, with much of the world under near-lockdown conditions, is likely to remove barriers to more widespread trials. Business as usual won’t wash in the coming weeks. As companies scramble to reorganise ready for work-from-home, staff shortages due to illness, and market disruption, they will have no choice but to adapt. For some that will include experimenting with models that allow them to raise productivity even under reduced working hours. It may well stick.

But if coronavirus is the catalyst that leads businesses to shunt white-collar workers over to shorter schedules, where does that leave blue-collar industries? From logistics roles like HGV driver to factory work and agricultural labour, there are a great many jobs in which productivity is directly proportional to hours worked. Those hours cannot simply be cut. Robotics and self-driving vehicles may be the future, but as of yet, those pallets don’t stack themselves.

Industries already struggling to recruit will suffer most if a sudden shift in the labour market renders their working week 20% longer in comparative terms, and that is exactly what will happen if most jobs drop to a four-day week. It is difficult to say precisely how big an impact this change would have on logistics, especially when much remains uncertain about the country’s exit from the European Union. But coronavirus demonstrates just how reliant our way of life has become on an effective logistics system. The meteoric rise of online shops and supermarkets is hardly likely to be checked by the illness, despite its disruptive properties. Being forced to stay home will only push consumers further into the arms of web-based retail. The UK needs delivery drivers.

Ultimately, this may be good news for logistics workers themselves. The demand for effective employees may force organisations to be more competitive in recruitment, and it is conceivable that the increase in the relative value of a skilled worker could lead to an improvement of the employee proposition. But it is difficult to foresee what this might look like, let alone whether it will occur.

Rather than try to predict the future, we must deal with the present. Doing so will require resilience and agility. It may force big changes, and not just at the organisational level. Indeed, action taken may be ineffective unless it is approached unilaterally, and with sufficient governmental support. But despite the dark cloud that lingers over us, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Whatever criticism may be made of governments’ swiftness and decisiveness in heading off the crisis, the scale and sophistication of the techniques used would have been unthinkable a century ago. For this we must thank advances in medical procedure from the level of individual care right up to the organisational level; from the treatments patients can expect in the ICU ward up to the kind of strategic and logistical planning that takes place at an intra-national level at the WHO. These advances were brought about by innovation in response to past crises like SARS, Ebola, and of course, Spanish Flu.

Coronavirus is a seismic event in our history, but we in logistics can learn a lot from the medical world as we craft our pandemic response. We will need to respond with agility, flexibility, and a clear-sighted appreciation of the way grand strategy meets ground-level delivery. If we can do that, despite its costs, this crisis might be the catalyst for positive change.

Recognising Your Blue-Collar Workforce

The logistics industry is in a state of flux. Disruptive forces, driven by the evolution of technology and social change, have upset the applecart. Issues with recruitment and retention and an ageing workforce have contributed to labour shortage. And as the recent FTA Logistics Skills Report points out, ‘Not enough young people are considering logistics, especially HGV driving, as a career option,’ with causes including ‘the cost of licence acquisition, lack of understanding of the sector, poor sector image, working hours and lack of quality driver facilities.’ With organisations feeling the crunch, what can be done internally to help?

Now more than ever, it is essential to develop, recognise, reward and retain workers. We need to show just how attractive and future-facing a career in our sector can be. That is especially true in the case of blue-collar positions such as forklift operator and HGV driver, which are suffering both due to obstacles to entry and perceived threat from automation. But in order to do that, we need to understand the needs and goals of those we seek to employ.

Naturally, a competitive wage is a big draw. Offering a pay package that at least keeps pace with competitors is an obvious way to make employees feel valued—or at the very least, stop them feeling underappreciated. But it would be wrong to think pay was the be-all and end-all for contemporary workers. As the FTA report demonstrates, working conditions, facilities, and general quality of life factor into the decisions of people entering the workforce. Opportunities for personal development, rewards or benefits that make life easier, and a sense of community may also be valued very highly by some employees.

From the business point of view, good professional development provides an antidote to skill gaps. Beyond this, it increases competence; skilled workers share good practice with others, so the effects are felt around your organisation, particularly when PD is solidly embedded and not just a luxury. From the employee’s point of view, the benefits of development are even more far-reaching. Employees can expect greater opportunities in future, a new challenge, and a sense of personal growth. What’s more, developing your workers shows you are willing to invest in them for your collective future. That is an important message when traditional roles and skillsets are under threat from technological change.

In an increasingly hectic society, people put a premium on ease, comfort and convenience. The rise of industry shakers such as Amazon, ASOS, Uber and Deliveroo is a testament to this. If it is true of customers, it’s also true of employees. That means benefits can outperform pure remuneration pound-for-pound in terms of perceived value. Gym membership, cycle to work, childcare vouchers, discounted shopping, life insurance, pension. Using the power of your organisation to help make life more manageable for employees is a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ deal. The benefits you elect to offer will affect your employee proposition differently for different demographics. An organisation looking to hire returnee mothers might build its portfolio of benefits in order to specifically target them.

In comparison to PD and benefits, the idea of ‘community’ can be more nebulous. For that reason, some dismiss talk of employee experience as woolly, or ‘touchy-feely’. But can employers afford to overlook the feelings of a mobile workforce that, like customers, can vote with its feet? What is clear is that paying lip service to community without putting solid team initiatives in place is not enough. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and savvy employees can recognise the difference between guff and genuine team culture. And as Philip Martin, of the Department for Transport, has pointed out, ‘PWC have found that 80% of millennials believe a diversity and inclusion policy is important when deciding to work for a company.’ Young people care about an organisation’s inclusivity, and social values.

Real teams recognise the value of contributions from individual members. One way to do that is through employee recognition programmes—personal thank you’s from a leadership invested in each member of the workforce. Perhaps the best way to make your employees feel valued is to value what they have to say. If possible, involve workers or representatives in decision making processes. Run ideas by them, especially top-down initiatives that come from management. Workers on ‘the ground floor’ have an advantage in accumulated frontline experience, and may spot potential pitfalls or ways to optimise procedure. They can also be a useful barometer when something isn’t going as planned.

What all these initiatives have in common is that they put people and relationships first. Your workforce is the most significant factor in success, so it makes sense to recognise their value and invest. In the spirit of this, Talent in Logistics offers its own Forklift Operator and LGV Driver competitions, which celebrate professionalism and ability while encouraging employees to ‘upskill’, and aim for the highest standards in their daily practice. Get in touch today to discuss this, or any of the issues raised in this post, further. We are eager to hear from you.

Event postponement due to coronavirus

In light of the evolving coronavirus situation, we have taken the decision to postpone our upcoming Talent in Logistics Engage Conference, originally due to take place on 21st April. Our Attract Conference has also been rescheduled to a new date and location.

We have also decided to postpone the live competitions for our Forklift Operator of the Year and LGV Driver of the Year awards. 

Talent in Logistics Conferences

Both of the conferences will now take place at Cranfield Management Development Centre in September as follows:

  • Attract Conference – 22nd September
  • Engage Conference – 23rd September

Tickets already purchased for both conferences will still be valid for the new date.

Talent in Logistics Live Competitions

Our 2020 live competitions have been rescheduled as follows:

  • LGV Driver of the Year live competition – between 2nd and 10th September (venues TBA)
  • Forklift Operator of the Year – regional live competitions (South, North, Midlands) between 2nd and 10th September (venues TBA)

Although these live competitions will now take place later than planned, the deadline for entering the awards remains unchanged and there are just 2 weeks left to enter!

Nominations for both the Forklift Operator of the Year and LGV Driver of the Year must be received by 3rd April 2020 – this deadline will not be extended.

Nominate now.

Talent in Logistics Awards

We are currently operating in line with government and NHS guidelines and are continually reviewing the situation with the health, safety and wellbeing of our team, customers and partners in mind.  At present, the Talent in Logistics Awards is due to go ahead as planned on 1st October in Manchester.

Should anything further change regarding our Talent in Logistics event calendar, this will be announced on our website and social media channels.

Protecting people in logistics

Rescheduling the conferences and competitions ensures we have time to deliver safe and secure events, whilst still providing professionals with the right knowledge and tools to succeed when it comes to engaging, attracting and rewarding talent within our sector.

We would like to thank our delegates, customers and partners for their continued support and patience throughout these highly unusual circumstances.

If you have any questions about the changes to our conferences and competitions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Logistics is undeniably one of the most important career paths in the world. Without the planning and execution of the distribution of goods, society as we know it would cease to function.

The complexities of the logistics sector mean there is a huge variety of roles and a wide range of skills that can be transferred to a career in the sector and plenty of opportunity for progression.

For National Careers Week (NCW) – 2nd to 7th March 2020 – we are taking to social media, and sharing some of the fascinating career paths available to help attract new talent into the sector. This week we have teamed up with a variety of logistics operations to share some of the job opportunities available, and how you can get your foot through the door. Plus, we hear from sector professionals who work in road, rail, air and sea as they let us in on their career profiles.

Whether you choose to enter the sector as a school leaver, apprentice, graduate, or looking for a completely new route along your career journey, the logistics sector is rich with opportunities that are complex and demanding, yet well-rewarding.


Chris Coulson, National HSEQ Manager, Howard Tenens Ltd

How long have you worked in logistics?
Since 1987, when I joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps / Royal Logistic Corps (British Army).

What did you want to do when you grew up?  
I always wanted to join the Army and be a soldier.

Tell us a little about your progression?

I left the British Army after 14 years’ service in 2001, as a newly qualified health and safety professional. Having just completed my NEBOSH National General Certificate as part of my resettlement programme, I started working for a small family run business looking after health and safety, but was made redundant after 2 years.  
I then started working for Excel Logistics in a large warehouse in Corby, as the Health, Safety, Site Services and Training Manager, whilst there I became a Fire Extinguisher / Fire Marshall Instructor.  When I left, I started working for G4S Cash Services as 1 of 2 health and safety managers, jointly looking after 64 sites throughout the UK.  Whilst at G4S, I completed my NEBOSH Diploma and NEBOSH Fire Risk and Safety Management qualifications which enabled to further my career and knowledge.  I then went on to work for my current employer – Howard Tenens – as the National HSEQ Manager, responsible for 14 warehouse sites throughout the UK.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your logistics career?

Changing people’s beliefs, attitudes and cultures towards good health and safety management practices and them having a clearer understanding of why it is important.

What do you most love about your career?

No two days are the same, there are different challenges to overcome on a daily basis.  Seeing the expression on someone’s face when they eventually ‘get it’, compared to what they might have thought about health and safety when they woke up that morning.

Why would you encourage others to work in logistics?

The variety of the job, learning new skills and meeting lots of interesting like-minded people.

And finally, what is a fun, random fact about you?

I’m a secret caravaner.

Mitchell West, Operational Key Account Manager – Aerospace, DB Schenker

How long have you worked in logistics?

8 years.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

A pilot.

Tell us a little about your progression?

I began my career as a multimodal apprentice in the Bournemouth branch of DB Schenker, covering air, road and sea freight whilst completing a Level 2 and 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship. After roughly 18 months, I was offered a full-time position in the air import team, working within one of the aerospace key accounts. I remained in the Bournemouth office for about 3 years, covering various other aerospace accounts as well as a few other sectors, cosmetics being one of them. To further my progression, I decided to move to London where there was a much wider base for opportunities across a huge network of freight forwarders. I initially left DB Schenker to work for another forwarder, Nippon Express, but after around 3 months an opportunity to join the DB Schenker head office at Heathrow within their dedicated aerospace team was presented to me. I came back as an Import Operator and quickly got to grips with the work, the team and the department and I was thankfully offered the position of Aerospace Team Leader after just 6 months. A roll that encompassed overseeing imports, exports and a dedicated key account team of 13 (all airfreight). I spent roughly 18 months in this role, faced a lot of challenges but overall this was the position the prepared me for where I am today. I’ve since been promoted to the Operational Key Account Manager, where I act as both the Operations Manager for the whole aerospace team (now 28 people including the previous team and the AOG team) and the Key Account Manager for the team where I meet regularly with customers, ensure service is up to scratch and look to further develop the business and relationships with said customers.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your logistics career?

Transition from Import Operator to Team leader whilst being the youngest member of the team.

What do you most love about your career?

The variety. No two days are the same, I’ve gone from standing in a hanger watching a Leonardo 101 helicopter being loaded into the front of an Antonov Cargo plane, to spending a day scanning documents to customer for customs clearance, to getting a call at 5pm and hoping on the next flight to Hamburg with a box under my arm. And everything in between.

Why would you encourage others to work in logistics?

Excuse the cliché, but possibilities are endless. A company the size of DB Schenker has every function, imports/exports, air freight/sea freight, marketing, sales, forklift drivers, the list goes on. The roles are always challenging, and every day something new can be learnt. Another cliché for you… every day is a school day.

And finally, what is a fun, random fact about you?

On that trip to Hamburg, I arrived at the hotel and they’d over booked. I had to share a room with a stranger from Germany for the night.

Giulio Vecchio, Traffic Router, Europa Road Limited

How long have you worked in logistics?

12 years in total. My first job within the sector was route planning for drivers, making deliveries of Foodstuffs to markets and stores.  Every day was a different challenge which was based on orders received.  At Europa, the challenges have been different. I was introduced to a completely different side of logistics by routing trailers and rigid vehicles for the Northampton office for general groupage cargo. That meant routing today, then looking after those drivers the following day to ensure all work was completed, and on time. Now I route the Artic Fleet at Dartford and look after those drivers also during the day.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

I have a great love for animals so, in my younger days back in South Africa, I wanted to be a wildlife conservationist.

Tell us a little about your progression?

I started in the sector with no experience. During my time working in different companies, I have gained a lot of knowledge from various people about the do’s and don’ts.  When I started my career at Europa, it was with the help of a close-knit team that I was able to run the entire Northampton area fleet alone, with both the Class 1 & 2 fleet.  When the company decided on a different direction of the business, I was able to transfer my skillset to working on the Trailer Fleet at Dartford.  Working alongside experienced colleagues, my knowledge is now of a higher level to be able to be left to control not only the daily operation, but to work with dozens of third party hauliers the length and breadth of the country in order to manage volume as well as costs making our operation as professional and cost effective as it can be.  I am always looking for opportunities within my position and hope to gain my Transport Manager CPC in 2020, that I know my colleagues and indeed company will support me in achieving.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your logistics career?

There are a fair few, like road/bridge closures, customers wanting additional collections on arrival meaning a re-route of other drivers to make the day effective, keeping drivers working within the confines of driver hour and working time directive regulations, but snow has always proved to be the most challenging.

What do you most love about your career?

Every day comes with new challenges, not all great but thankfully I work within a team that are always willing to help if called upon.

Why would you encourage others to work in logistics?

Logistics can be a highly satisfying job, but also one that requires discipline and teamwork. It is one of the most important career fields in the world. Without the planning and distribution of resources, there would be food and fuel shortages and goods would cease to be delivered… No internet shopping, eeeek!!!

And finally, what is a fun, random fact about you?

Some people say they would hate to sit at home all day… not me!! As long as Magda and the pets are with me I would be more than happy to stay at home.

Heather Waugh, Train Driver/Locomotive Engineer, Freightliner Group/G&W

How long have you worked in logistics?

Before starting my career as a Train Driver, I started my role in logistics with Royal Mail as an Operational Manager. 10 years later, I moved to Scotrail and started my role as a Train Driver for just over 12 years, before moving to Freightliner and have been here for 1 year.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a sports journalist.

Tell us a little about your progression?

I became the youngest Operational Manager in Royal Mail, aged 20, running a delivery office of 70 postmen. I progressed to Training and Development, and then Planning Manager, before leaving Royal Mail to become a Train Driver with Scotrail in 2006.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your logistics career?

In Royal Mail, I had to deal with a bomb scare at 5am on a freezing cold winter morning. I had to get the staff transported to another delivery office, deal with the emergency services, and then put in place measures to ensure the mail wasn’t delayed!  Safety is always the primary concern, and then ensuring minimal disruption.

As a Train Driver, my biggest and worst challenge was sadly dealing with a fatality.  The incident happened at a train station which meant I had to react quickly to move all passengers on the platform away from the area, and then move the passengers from within my own train away from the station, without anyone becoming distressed.  Despite the incredibly distressing circumstances, you always have to put safety first and ensure you communicate with all the relevant people, i.e. signaller, emergency services, and passengers. 

This is when you really appreciate being part of the amazing ‘railway family’ who go over and above to make sure you are supported at times like that.

What do you most love about your career?

It is a real privilege to be entrusted to drive these amazing trains.  Locomotives with up to 10,000 brake horse power and pulling loads of around 2,000 tonnes.  You are responsible for delivering items safely and on time. You aren’t just protecting the reputation of your own company, but you are fulfilling the promise of your customers to theirs.  You are delivering for hundreds of businesses.  Failing them damages, their reputation which is why I enjoy working for Freightliner as they genuinely go the extra mile to ensure we don’t let our customers down.

And I love the environment within the railway.  Amazing people who look after each other.

Why would you encourage others to work in logistics?

Ultimately, you want to come to work and know you’ve made a difference.  Every day in logistics, you are delivering on promises. The promises that your employer has made, and the promises that your customers have made.  It is rewarding to know you’ve played a part in such a vital industry.  And when things go wrong, for example, weather, mechanical issues, etc. it challenges everyone to come up with solutions. 

And finally, what is a fun, random fact about you?

When I was younger, I played football and took part in a pre-cursor to the Women’s European Cup in Verona, Italy. Incredibly, we won, and when we returned to Scotland with the trophy, we were given a Civic Reception by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and also led the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Cavalcade which was attended by over 100,000 people! A brilliant experience!

Learn more about these fascinating career paths, plus more, by downloading the full Logistics Career Guide for FREE.

NRI launches new LGV assessor qualification

The National Register of Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Instructors (NRI), which is led by the road transport industry and endorsed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), has launched the first nationally recognised LGV assessor qualification, the aim of which is to acknowledge skillsets and provide new professional development opportunities.

The new qualification, which was rolled out in May 2019, enables successful candidates to join the NRI’s LGV Assessor Register for five years. On qualifying, the successful candidates are issued with an LGV Assessor ID card and are added to the online register on the NRI website.

So far, more than 20 people have joined the NRI LGV Assessor register and the NRI is seeing a continually high level of enquiries regarding the new assessor examination. Carlisle-based SP Training trained Dave Stones of Yodel, resulting in Dave becoming one of the first assessors to be examined and to qualify for their NRI assessor card.

On joining the register, assessors have access to free technical advice, exclusive professional development opportunities and discounts on selected products and services from NRI partner organisations. The qualification also enables assessors to prove to employers that they have been independently examined, have achieved the required skill levels and knowledge, and are committed to upholding high quality LGV driver assessment standards.

“It’s important that there is consistency across assessment and marking. Providing standardisation that is transferrable across the industry will improve efficiency,” said Managing Director for SP Training Tony Higgins. “One of SP Training’s key objectives is to help companies meet consistent safety standards so we welcome the assessor qualification and the benefits it will bring to both individual operators and the industry as a whole.”

An LGV assessor is typically responsible for conducting LGV driver assessments and monitoring driver performance. Assessments can be conducted for numerous reasons, such as following an incident, an extended period of leave or evaluating driver skills prior to offering employment. Assessors cannot conduct driver training or examinations and are often former, or current, LGV drivers on route to becoming an LGV Instructor.

“Before now, there was no formal recognition for the important role of LGV assessor,” said Dave Cox. “Although this is something brand new to the industry, it has already received a warm welcome as businesses want to ensure that those responsible for assessing LGV drivers are independently and professionally qualified.”

Employers can find details of NRI registered Instructors and assessors and more information by visiting www.lgvinstructorregister.com.

eTruck – an innovative approach to learning

The logistics industry is facing an unprecedented change as digitalisation opens up innovative ways to improve workplace experience. From electric trucks and increased cyber security systems to Big data and Artificial Intelligence, new technologies are enabling greater efficiency and, thus, boosted productivity.

Lift truck operator training has traditionally dealt with two main challenges. Firstly, operator training that is not designed with a focus on behavioural change and, secondly, employers that require drivers to attend a full five-day course at significant time and financial expense. To tackle these issues, RTITB introduced eTruck UK in January 2020, a unique digital storytelling tool that aims to increase training effectiveness while reducing training time by as much as two days per course.

RTITB has, over the past 50 years, set industry-leading training standards designed specifically to change behaviours and make measurable improvements to efficiency, risk and safety. In the past, this has included setting training standards for goods vehicle driver licence acquisition training, driver assessment, Driver CPC Periodic Training across a number of sectors including supply chain, freight forwarding and warehousing. As technology develops, so too do the tools available to the sector to ensure that drivers receive the most effective training possible to enable them to react to increasing customer and employer demands.

Telling the right story

“eTruck UK uses digital storytelling to teach operators the reasons behind driver behaviour and why people make bad decisions, alongside the relevant theory,” says Laura Nelson, Managing Director for RTITB. “eTruck will make training more interesting and engaging and give drivers the chance to learn at their own pace”. 

eTruck UK is an online system, enabling candidates to complete the theory training on a computer or tablet, in the workplace or at home, before attending practical training and taking their final assessments. For a novice, this can reduce the time taken to complete counterbalance lift truck operator training from five to three days. The innovative training tool, developed by MA Systems in Sweden, provides a new way to cover the theory content for Materials Handling Equipment Operator Training, ensuring that the content is balanced for all candidates by removing any instructor bias towards any topics over others. 

What about employers?

The system is also beneficial for employers as reduced training times help keep downtime and costs to a minimum. Employers training forklift operators are able to save up to two lost days per person per course, with large logistics companies able to claw back thousands of costly training hours every year. eTruck UK also provides reassurances to companies that their operators are safer and better prepared for the workplace. This leaves instructors free to spend less time in the classroom and more time delivering hands-on practical training. Should providers wish, eTruck UK can also be used as part of a five-day course to improve theory learning engagement.

What are the benefits? Through its story-based approach, the system helps employers by delivering core messages in an engaging and accessible way. Research has shown facts delivered via a story are 20 times more likely to be remembered. When presented in this way, candidates learn by following a story that encourages them to think about the effects that their actions and decisions have on others. eTruck tackles decision making under pressure and provides an insight into the wider context of the workplace and where lift truck operations fit in. 

MyRTITB app – a new way of learning

eTruck follows the launch of the MyRTITB TrainingFriend app, which seeks to use digital tools to improve training outcomes. “The development of eTruck is part of RTITB’s mission to inspire a digital, technology-led revolution in lift truck training,” says Laura. The app, which was designed to make training administration and assessment completely paperless for the first time, harnesses current technology to improve both operators testing standards and training compliance.

“These new offerings are not gimmicks – they are robust, future-proof solutions which will be a standard part of all lift truck operator training and testing in future,” says Laura. Operator training has been largely the same for 20 years or more which is why the team at RTITB view it at essential that the sector innovates to improve training effectiveness and boost operator standards and safety.

eTruck UK was made available in January 2020 as part of RTITB Counterbalance Lift Truck Operator training. It is also covered as a core element in all RTITB Lift Truck Instructor training. With eTruck UK, a lifetime license must be purchased for each trainee. This enables operators to return to content when they wish to refresh their knowledge, giving employers, instructors and supervisors opportunities to use eTruck as part of toolbox talks. 

To enable employers to explore the benefits of self-paced learning and digital storytelling further, RTITB is hosting a half-day seminar “Digital learning in training – making it efficient and powerful” on the 27th January at their Head Office in Telford. 

Foster a culture of safety to transform a business

Instilling and expanding health and safety practice within every logistics operator will be crucial to securing business growth.

Over 1.4 million people suffer from work-related injuries and ill-health, costing UK companies £15 billion every year. This is according to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). “Behind these statistics are real people whose lives have been affected,” says Ian Taylor, Chief Executive of the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH).   

With consumer demand for fast and dynamic service increasing, the focus is often on growing the logistical capacity of a company eager not to waste the profit opportunities. Yet every company must promote the health and wellbeing of its staff and ensure that they are able to work in a safe environment. Companies that invest in this area will reap a multitude of benefits.

Ensuring safety in expansion

Not so long ago, Staffordshire based company Transcentral was focused exclusively on providing same day delivery services. The team’s experience and dedication meant they had a loyal customer base, which included several well-known brands. To support the company’s continued growth, the decision was taken to start offering warehousing and storage services. This expansion required significant investment, not only to get the right premises but also to develop in-house expertise, including health and safety.

When the expansion plans for Transcentral were first outlined, its now Health and Safety Manager, Chad Bott, was not an official employee. He worked in the construction industry but helped with his family’s business whenever he could. Everyone knew Chad was passionate about health and safety, so it made perfect sense to take this opportunity to divert Chad’s career path and for him to become a key player in Transcentral.

“I asked the health and safety professionals that I knew how I could develop my skills and knowledge,” says Chad. He found NEBOSH the best option available. NEBOSH is a UK-based independent examination board providing vocational qualifications in health, safety and environmental practice. Within 12 months, Chad had passed four NEBOSH certified courses, covering general health and safety, construction, fire and the environment. He used the knowledge gained from his studies to develop a complete health, safety and environmental management system for Transcentral.

NEBOSH courses and qualifications range from three-day introductory courses to full Diploma and Masters level degrees. They can be learnt online or in the classroom depending on a person’s learning style, their work and personal commitments. Learning is delivered by the network of accredited learning partners, of which there are over 600 in more than 130 countries. The most popular qualification is the NEBOSH General Certificate, with over 300,000 people around the world holding one of these certificates.

Transforming every part of the business

According to Chad, Transcentral has since been able to implement risk assessments, method statements, environmental policies and traffic management walkways. He insists that each one has been vital to facilitating business growth. As well as investing in the development of its team, Transcentral ploughed money into a new state-of-the art 45,000 square foot warehouse.

“The transformation of the business has been immense, and it simply wouldn’t have been possible without NEBOSH studies and qualifications,” says Chad. Transcentral now boasts a five-star health and safety rating from an international soft drinks manufacturer. “Without NEBOSH I doubt we would have won that tender,” he adds. “We have benefitted financially and culturally from the changes. Everyone feels valued and our team has become stronger than ever.”

Chad also cites positive impacts he has felt on a more personal level, stating that he now has a clear sense of direction and is fully dedicated to the health and safety profession. Next year, Chad will further his expertise by enrolling on a NEBOSH National Diploma course. “For me, it’s been great. I just generally feel more confident and now have a job I love, which allows me to make a difference.”

He strongly recommends NEBOSH qualifications to others working in small businesses. Reflecting on other small companies looking to expand, as outlined in the sentencing guidelines, the level of ignorance concerning health and safety can be quite concerning. Chad concludes that,“from a health and safety point of view, investing in a NEBOSH qualification is essential for any small business.”