I Love Logistics: Investing in the future of our workforces

It is crucial that we, as a sector, are working collaboratively to invest in the future of the workforce, writes Ruth Edwards, Business Development Director at Talent in Logistics.

2020 marks the launch of a new campaign designed to encourage new talent into existing and future roles within logistics. The new campaign is calling on professionals from the logistics sector to showcase their pride and commitment to attracting talent, developing people and keeping employees engaged within the sector.

In order to close the current skills gap, logistics organisations can no longer rest on their laurels and must be proactive in attracting and retaining talented individuals. For example, the UK currently faces an HGV driver shortage of 59,000 people. With the average age of HGV drivers being 48, the need to encourage more younger people to join the logistics workforce is clear.

The I LOVE LOGISTICS campaign is designed specifically for social media and looks to target young people in a positive and accessible way. There is a need to readdress the negative image of the sector, starting by highlighting those who are currently building careers in the industry.

With 63 per cent of UK organisations currently experiencing a skills shortage according to the FTA, it is crucial that logistics professionals share their experiences and encourage others to follow in a similar path. The campaign is open to all roles within the supply chain, whether they be in road, rail, air or sea, and welcomes the contributions of everyone.

Getting involved in the campaign is really simple. All people need to do is take a selfie and submit it to the Talent in Logistics team with a short summary about why they love logistics. We have also set up the social media tag #ILoveLogistics♥️ to spotlight all profiles and encourage others to share their own experiences. In addition, we have designed the I LOVE LOGISTICS♥️ badge to help promote the message.

Profile: Jo Mawditt, UK Operational Training Manager, Kuehne + Nagel 

Tell us about your progression.

I started work as an office junior, earning £4,500 per year, for an animal feed manufacturer. I got the logistics bug while doing holiday cover for the transport manager. I did my Management Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) at the age of 19 and worked in the parcels sector before moving to work as a transport manager for Pentex Oil, a land-based oil drilling company. At this point, I took my LGV C+E (Class 1) licence.

For a five-foot-two female I looked particularly fetching in overalls, steel toe capped rigger boots and a hard hat. It was a real grounding in a tough environment but the nine years I worked there taught me a lot about fleet management. It was always going to be hard to leave Pentex but the role of fleet manager came up at William Youngers, part of the Scottish and Newcastle brewery empire and I was lucky enough to get the job.

26 years later and I look back on a fantastic career. I was the youngest female transport manager ever at Scottish and Newcastle, taking charge of the biggest contract logistics customer-serving site when I was based in Elland, West Yorkshire. Alongside this, I managed distribution sites in Newark and Norwich. The transfer of the logistics division from Scottish and Newcastle to Kuehne + Nagel presented further opportunities and I worked on numerous projects securing new business. Finally, I took up the role of operational training manager for Kuehne + Nagel.

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

It would be easy to say being a woman in a man’s world, but that hasn’t really been the case. I think the biggest challenge has been to encourage my logistics colleagues to think further ahead than today and tomorrow. In the logistics sector we are programmed to look just at the here and now, and to be reactive rather than proactive. We don’t focus enough on planning ahead to foresee the challenges and opportunities of the future.

What do you most love about logistics?

It sounds a bit twee but the best bit about my job is the people I work with. It has its challenges at times but there is nothing better than seeing colleagues empowered to deliver quality training to their peers, managers seeing the benefits of a team working collectively towards the same aim and colleagues wanting to do a good job safely before going home to their families.

Why would you encourage others to work in logistics? 

Logistics is naturally fast-paced. I love the variety of businesses that we partner with, one minute we are moving and storing jet engines, the next it’s coffee beans and televisions. Where else would you get such a variety of opportunities along with each customer?