After working half a century in logistics you might think that the industry would have lost some of its shine for Jim French.
But 50 years since starting out in the sector, his enthusiasm remains as resolute as ever.
His advice to students is: “If you enjoy working with people then logistics can be the most satisfying and interesting career that never has a dull moment.”
A director at PD Portcentric Logistics, Jim added: “It has certainly provided a good career for me.”
A true advocate of the industry, he has made it a priority to help spread the word to others. For him, this included taking a leading role in the setup of Stockton Riverside College’s Logistics Academy.
The enrichment programme, delivered in partnership with Career Ready, aims to raise awareness around logistics and the many job opportunities that exist within it.
It appears to be having an effect. Since the Academy’s launch in 2015, students at the College have been learning about the industry and picking up key employability skills, working with a mentor and taking part in internships. Then there are those bright sparks who have already gone on to find work as a result.
Now stepping down from his role with the College’s Career Ready programme, and preparing for retirement, Jim said: “It’s those moments that have been very rewarding, seeing young people get a job in logistics and knowing that you have helped them and helped other employers.”
That was always the plan behind the Academy, bringing employers, education providers and students together.
Over the last half century Jim has, of course, seen massive changes to the industry. He explained: “It has changed in terms of vehicles, in terms of the importance of warehousing and in terms of technology and IT systems, we are so much more dependent on that now.”
Today the industry offers a vast array of professional career routes across the sector, but Jim says it struggles to attract the young talent that is needed. This is why he says initiatives such as the Career Ready programme and now the wider Tees Valley Logistics Academy, are so important.
He said: “We need to raise the profile of the industry and change the perceptions people have. It has been really rewarding through the Career Ready programme seeing young people take an interest.”
Looking back at his own career, he said: “It is a great industry to be in, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute.”
Here at the College we offer our sincere thanks to Jim for sharing his knowledge, his dedication and enthusiasm.
Michael Duffey Head of Construction and Professional Services said: “Jim’s contribution has been invaluable. Without his input the Tees Valley Logistics Academy would not be in the strong position it is. More importantly the logistics industry will reap the benefits of the young talent that Jim has introduced to the sector.”
To find out more about the Tees Valley Logistics Academy and the Career Ready enrichment programme at Stockton Riverside College visit: https://www.stockton.ac.uk/tvla/