Fuelling Professional Development

Clipper’s objective is simple: to keep clients ahead of the retail curve. To do this, the industry needs to ensure it successfully attracts and develops talent, says Richard Cowlishaw, Group HR Director at Clipper Logistics.

The logistics industry is evolving and retailers are demanding evermore innovative services to respond to the latest shifts in consumer behaviour. The sector is seeing a distinct shortage of future leaders entering the workforce, therefore, the need to develop and retain talent is on the rise. Furthermore, the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, which will cause many European workers to leave the UK, will likely see the industry hit a critical new low.

At Clipper, we have responded to these issues with a forward-thinking solution, an apprenticeship degree programme, specialising in leadership and supply chain management. Over the course of three and a half years, Clipper promises to educate the next generation of students in line with emerging technologies and a cutting-edge curriculum, to guarantee the highest quality of professional development.

Additionally, we are championing an internal 18-month graduate scheme aimed at developing the skills, knowledge and ambitions of our recruits, to help them embark on long, varied and successful journeys within the logistics sector. Every year, course material is updated in line with new developments and tailored to its students’ needs to inspire their transition towards managerial positions.

Clipper Logistics has been operating at the forefront of retail logistics for over two decades, from 47 sites across the UK and Europe. With a peak workforce of over 10,000 people, the business is celebrated for continually evolving to meet the needs of retailers by developing innovative solutions.

The opportunity of apprenticeships

Funded through a national apprenticeship employer levy, apprenticeships allow individuals to gain a degree as part of their employment. By implementing these programmes, Clipper expects to improve the future of logistics with a significantly more knowledgeable intake of candidates boasting real-world experience.

Clipper believes that the training and development of its people benefits not only them, but Clipper as a business. Training helps staff understand and meet the requirements of their current role, whilst preparing them for future promotions and career moves. Clipper works closely with its teams to identify the training each individual needs in order to do their job to the best of their ability.

Apprenticeship programmes at Clipper are offered to both those just entering the industry, as well as existing employees, whilst additional staff training opportunities are also offered, including:

A driver CPC programme, using state-of-the-art simulation cabs
In-house training modules aimed at management and leaders

In addition to its apprenticeship programmes, Clipper has also forged a relationship with Derby University to develop a training programme to support the students who were already undertaking a degree in Logistics and Supply Chain

Management. Together with the university, Clipper is able to provide students with the ability to obtain real world skills and experience, while completing the programme within the logistics environment.

Team Clipper

Across the board, there is a need for the sector to support workers at every level, from providing the best education to supplying the tools people need to succeed. To ensure this level of personal development continues, we developed Team Clipper. This initiative celebrates the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience found across each of the Clipper sites and encourages staff to work as a team. This initiative demonstrates Clipper’s commitment to recruiting, developing and nurturing the best talent in the logistics industry.

Fresh Start

There are over 11 million marginalised people in the UK, including some with disabilities, physical or mental illnesses, ex-offenders, ex-homeless people and refugees. In April 2018, Clipper launched Fresh Start, an initiative to focus on alternative sources of recruitment in the event of a labour shortage following Brexit.

Working with a variety of partners, Clipper has been able to offer a greater number of employment opportunities for individuals wishing to enter the workforce, while enabling the business to create bespoke labour solutions based on individual client needs. By supporting vulnerable people, Fresh Start has created a more diverse and inclusive, loyal and longer-serving workforce. The initiative has now become a significant arm of Clipper’s recruitment strategy, with over 400 people employed through the programme so far and a retention rate of 92 per cent.

Developing systems that not only retain but also invest in employees is paramount to driving growth and preparing businesses for the challenges that lie ahead, both in terms of the evolving retail landscape and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Clipper currently works with some of the most celebrated brands on the High Street, including John Lewis, Asda, Superdry and Wilko, and has also been at the forefront of e-fulfilment for over ten years, working with the likes of PrettyLittleThing and ASOS.