Opinions Categories


Kevin Green Policy Director, Logistics UK

Generation Logistics: Where talent meets opportunity

Spearheaded by a collective effort of businesses and trade associations across the industry spectrum, the Generation Logistics campaign has quickly solidified its status as a transformative force, writes Kevin Green, Policy Director at Logistics UK.

The Covid-19 pandemic raised awareness of logistics like never before. Up to that point, logistics businesses were a largely “unseen” part of the economy, efficiently getting on with the job of delivering everything the economy needs, every day. And 2022, despite the attention given to our sector as a result of supply chain issues that hit the headlines, research undertaken for the Generation Logistics campaign showed that only 10 per cent of 18-24 year-olds and those considering a change of job would include logistics careers in their role search at that point. It was clear that our industry needs increased visibility among those who will form the workforce of tomorrow.

As a campaign, Generation Logistics was born out of this need to change perceptions about the industry, driven by its founders CILT and Logistics UK. If we were and are to attract new talent to the sector, and ensure a sustained flow of new recruits to protect the supply chain for years to come, a campaign of this nature is vital to make an impact. Thanks to truly collaborative work by businesses and trade associations representing every facet of the industry, Generation Logistics has already proved to be a game changer for the industry.

Thanks to the foresight and commitment of these businesses and groups, and with our creative agency ilk using a range of tactics, including social media, traditional PR and even on-street poster advertising (another first for the industry), the campaign has already made an impressive change in how people view our industry as a potential employer, despite competing for awareness with a better baseline understanding of other sectors including retail, manufacturing and the media.

In only its first year, the campaign generated an 11 per cent increase in awareness of logistics careers among our potential employees. The way that people think about our industry has changed radically too, with the positive sentiment towards the sector increasing by 140 per cent. There has also a positive reduction in the number of people who would not consider a career in logistics. However, there is still much to do. We need to work more closely with careers advisers – in a list of 20 prompted sectors, logistics was the only one not identified by any careers advisors as an industry they feel confident and knowledgeable to offer advice about. To address this, we have adjusted our target audiences for the campaign’s second year, switching our focus to talk to careers advisors and teachers as well as continuing our work targeting young people, who will form the workforce of tomorrow.

Our plans will see teachers and careers advisors provided with specially prepared materials and curriculum-mapped lesson plans to ensure they are fully aware of logistics and the opportunities it provides, so they can give informed advice on the best routes into the sector to their students. We are thrilled that more than 50 businesses and associations have committed to support this vital work once again, and are already making plans to ensure that the campaign has longevity and continues to make an impact. However, Generation

Logistics is only part of the skills story for the industry, and Logistics UK, as the leading business group in the sector, is also pressing government for decisions that will ensure the logistics talent stream can be futureproofed. At the top of the agenda, as outlined in Logistics UK’s General Election Manifesto (recently distributed to all the major political parties) is the need for urgent reform to the current Apprenticeship Levy.

In its current form, the system prevents individuals from receiving the training they, and the country’s economy, need and obstructs logistics businesses from accessing future talent. Since the Levy was introduced in 2017, transport and logistics businesses have paid £825 million in levy funds. However, due to the constraints of the Levy itself, and structural issues in the skills system, the total estimated amount of funding drawn down by the sector was just £250 million.

If our sector is to be supported fully in its aim to train and develop the workforce of tomorrow, more colleges need to offer the apprenticeships our industry needs. At the same time, it is critical that more flexibility is introduced into the system to support training for roles that do not necessitate a year-long apprenticeship.

Logistics as an industry is flexible and adaptable to the changing needs of the world we operate in, and we need our training schemes to work in the same way, to allow our new recruits to flex and adapt their skills to the requirements of the employers that want to take them on. Our industry is constantly changing: our new recruits must do so too, to adapt to and grow with the new technologies that they will be facing in their working lives, from EV technologies to autonomous vehicles and drones.

Every day, our industry is competing for talent with other sectors, and it is vital that we continue to promote the opportunities available and routes into employment so that we can attract the brightest and best recruits ahead of popular careers like media, accountancy, retail and medicine.

As a sector, we are renowned for our swift reactions, complex problem solving and delivery under pressure for our customers, whatever the economy or other external factors throw at us. The world is constantly changing and so are our businesses, and the demands of our customers. As employers, supported by the right training and development funding support from government, logistics businesses must take proactive steps to identify and develop the transferrable, innovative skills that our industry needs, both now and in the future, support new recruits to enable them to thrive, and ensure that our sector continues to deliver for the UK’s economy.

To find out more about the Generation Logistics campaign, please visit www.generationlogistics.org and follow the campaign on social media on Snapchat, TikTok, Linked In, Facebook and X – search ‘Generation Logistics’.

  • Rail
  • Road
  • Maritime
  • Supply Chain
  • Air