Employers and industry experts have once again been stepping up to help spread the word about careers in logistics.
This week saw our third batch of Career Ready Logistics Academy students paired with industry professionals in an effort to increase their knowledge and reap the benefits of working with a mentor.
Launched in 2015 by Stockton Riverside College in partnership with PD Ports, SRC Bede Sixth Form and NETA Training, the Career Ready programme puts the spotlight on the full range of careers that exist in the industry.
Each group of young people are given the chance to take part in a variety of master classes, site visits, work placements, as well as being partnered with a mentor, alongside their full-time studies.
There are currently 2.3m people employed in logistics in the UK, yet according to Jim French, chairman of the Logistics Academy and director and past chairman of the Road Haulage Association, the industry faces great difficulty in attracting young people.
He said: “The demographic profile of those currently working in the industry means that within the next 15 years 50% will have retired.”
Part of the problem, he says, is a significant lack of understanding of what the sector fully involves.
Sarah Welch, Business Manager for Freightliner Heavy Haul Ltd and a volunteer mentor with the Logistics Academy agrees.
She said: “If you ask a young person about logistics often they think it is driving a lorry, but there are so many more roles and opportunities.”
Among previous students to already have benefitted from the programme is former SRC Bede Sixth Form student Harrison, 19. Now studying Mathematics at Newcastle University, he said: “Without a doubt the Logistics Academy helped me, especially the internship which I carried out with PD Portcentric Logistics.
“And then there were the meetings with my mentor where we set out some of my short term and long term life goals.”
Pagan, 19, took part in the Logistics Academy programme alongside her full-time studies at NETA Training Group. Now studying Electrical Engineering at Newcastle University, she said: “I enjoyed it and it has helped me. It encouraged me to come out of my shell a bit more. Doing my internship at PD Ports in Hartlepool pushed me out of my comfort zone, which helped a lot. It also showed me how big the logistics industry is.”