The Opportunities Within Apprenticeships

Following the recent National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), we explore what kind of supply chain and logistics apprenticeships are available, how they have impacted the next generation of professionals and how the sector has successfully implemented them into their employment strategies.

Attracting new talent is a real focus for the sector and with a mix of career opportunities available, apprenticeships are one of the best educational paths to introduce millennials and Generation Z to the world of logistics.

Most apprenticeships now offer qualifications from Intermediate (Level 2) to Degree (Level 7), plus offer training (both on-and off-the job), a competitive salary and the opportunity to really start climbing the career ladder.

Apprenticeships are a good way of offering that first step onto the career ladder in a way that gives candidates a view across an entire business, allowing them identify a specialism that best suits their interests and skill set.

If you’re not convinced logistics is a sector you want to work in? Hear from Royal Mail and Aldi apprentices, among others, to find out how they benefited from the schemes available and how they are continuing to pursue careers in the field.

Entry level apprenticeships

There is a large number of entry level apprenticeships available across the logistics sector, offering roles from little or no experience and providing training for qualifications and a professional career.

Freight Forwarding Apprentices interviewed by BIFA described their apprenticeship experiences:

  • ‘A way to learn the entire industry’
  • ‘No end to the opportunities presented’
  • ‘A mix of challenges and opportunities’
  • ‘While freight forwarding isn’t something people tend to think of as a career, once you are involved, it’s actually really exciting and different to most jobs.’

Here are some of the entry level apprenticeships available across the sector:

The GTG Warehousing and Storage Apprenticeship

  • Leads to a Level 2 qualification in warehousing and storage
  • Is usually completed in 12 months
  • Covers areas including:
  • Developing effective working relationships with colleagues and logistics operators
  • Operating equipment to perform work requirements
  • Maintaining health, safety and security in logistics operations
  • Placing goods in storage
  • Forklift training on completion of the course
  • The core skills needed include; communication, problem solving and working with others

The Aldi Driving Apprenticeship

  • Leads to acquisition of Cat C+E Licences
  • Includes mentorship throughout
  • Covers all areas of driving LGV vehicles, starting with little or no experience other than a standard UK drivers licence
  • Overall knowledge of the operation – including time in the transport yard and warehouse, making sure you understand the whole process

One of the great things regularly offered by organisations for younger apprentices is a ‘buddy’, often a former apprentice or young person who has been identified as a future leader. While the line manager continues to set the standards and expectations and support in their daily work, the buddy system is there to assist more in a pastoral format. They are there to offer any advice about settling in, or to listen if an apprentice wanted to open up about any issues.

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree Apprenticeships often combine a full-time job role, alongside a number of modules and placements in order to provide a high level of practical training leading to a permanent role, as well as the theoretical support that leads to an academic degree.

The Royal Mail Logistics Management Apprenticeship

  • Offers a number of placements including distribution, processing and air
  • Allows you to manage a team from 25-40 people from day one
  • Provides knowledge from experienced mentors
  • Leads to a Level 6 Apprenticeship, leading to a BSc (Hons) Professional Practice in Supply Chain Leadership.

Royal Mail apprentices say: “The best thing about being an apprentice with the Royal Mail is the responsibility you’re given and how seriously the company takes you. You are thrown day one, into a real time job, with real responsibility.”

“I can go out and achieve what I want to achieve, especially within management.”

Morrisons Logistics Degree Apprenticeship

  • A three year programme providing hands-on experience of Morrisons’ fast-moving logistics operations
  • Be part of the teams moving millions of products from distribution centres to stores
  • Work across a range of logistics teams to fully understand the business, leading to a Team Manager position and later a Shift Manager position
  • Understand logistics systems, processes and technologies
  • Gain a Bsc (Hons) Management and Business degree

Morrisons apprentices say: “I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and want to stay at Morrisons. I’m now a team manager, proud to lead my own team of 21 people. Thanks to all the support, I’ve found balancing my work and studies really manageable.”

Masters using the Apprenticeship Levy

While there is often an assumption that apprenticeships are used as a way of taking the first steps into a career, there is also options to use this format to develop skills and progress your career, in the form of post-graduate learning.

This level of education is an incredibly positive step forward in developing the career trajectory of colleagues within the logistics sector.

Cranfield University Master Degrees

  • Two year postgraduate degree
  • Enhances knowledge and capability to manage and plan supply chains
  • Raises awareness and appreciation of advanced logistics
  • Teaches how to lead effectively
  • Develops the ability to critically select tools and techniques needed to overcome obstacles and challenges
  • Results in a Logistics and Supply Chain Management MSc (Executive) degree

Masters degrees allow employees to develop not only themselves but also add value to their business. To make these programmes even more accessible to businesses and their employees, there are now some Masters level courses that are covered by the apprenticeship levy. Eligible organisations have the opportunity to use up to £18,000 of their Apprenticeship Levy to cover the cost of the course tuition fees.

Apprenticeships offer a number of benefits for both employers and employees and nowadays are so varied, that they cover almost all abilities, experience levels and aspirations to allow you to achieve your goals in a fast-paced and developing career.

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