UK Logistics Sector Turns To Staff Training Amid Persistent Skills Shortage

Logistics is indispensable for operations in every economic sector. In the UK, 2.2 millionATG_scanner_220514 people are employed in the logistics business, which amounts to 8% of the workforce. However, the sector will need another 588,000 workers during the next six years and this will present a massive challenge for UK logistics companies. Their biggest problem is recruitment and retention, which is further exacerbated by the fact that employers cannot find people with the necessary skills. They are trying to address the issue through staff training, both on and off the job, but that in itself represents yet another challenge.

These are among the key findings of the 2014 sector report produced by Skills for Logistics (SfL). The serious shortage of skilled workers is underscored by the fact of 75% of the companies polled said they had provided training for their staff. This has led to a number of business benefits, with 80% reporting improved productivity, greater efficiency and stronger staff motivation. However, skills development is also proving a challenge, mainly due to lack of time, government legislation and insufficient funding.

Given the need for significant future expansion of the logistics workforce, employers were asked to identify the factors most likely to affect training requirements in the next few years. The list included legislative changes, the need for more sustainable work practices and technological innovations. According to more than three quarters of the survey respondents, the focus in the year ahead should fall on developing job-specific skills within the workforce. Other skills that urgently require improvement are communication, organisational and planning skills, SfL established.

 

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NIACE Chief Calls For Stakeholder Cooperation To Support Apprentices

When it comes to apprenticeships, everyone is in agreement: the government, employers,ATG_warehouse_031013training providers and learners are convinced that apprenticeships deliver benefits for all stakeholders. While they are all keen on promoting apprenticeships, they must deepen their cooperation to achieve an even more important goal, according to David Hughes. The CEO of the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has called for a wider agreement to ensure that apprentices get support to acquire skills that will serve them not only in their present job but throughout their careers.

Hughes was among the members of an FE Week panel at a Labour Party conference fringe event discussing the future of apprenticeships. The event took place last week just as the Labour Party Skills Task Force released a report titled “A revolution in apprenticeships: a something-for-something deal with employers.” Hughes outlined his views in an article for the FE Week website, publishing his piece the day after the discussion.

One of the key points he made was the need for a wider definition of apprenticeships so that it can better describe the quality of the training experience and the outcomes. This definition should take into consideration input from apprentices, employers and training organisations and all of them need to be in agreement. Hughes said it was his greatest desire to see the creation of a Quality Charter that would reflect the apprentice perspective and would be developed together with apprentices. This would provide a guarantee that trainees will have the necessary skills to build lasting, rewarding careers.

Hughes added that it was extremely important to make apprenticeships available to every person, without regard for their age or occupation. He also urged employers to provide more training opportunities to black people and ethnic minorities and individuals with a disability or learning difficulties.

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Online Apprenticeship Applications, Vacancies Hit New Highs

The number of apprenticeship applications filed online and that of vacancies posted reachedOnline Applications record levels in the period between February and April, the latest data from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) reveals. The total number of applications grew by 32.5% year-on-year, while the number of vacancies increased by 14.8%.

As many as 368,830 applications were submitted over the Internet during the third quarter of the 2012/2013 academic year as opposed to 278,410 in the same period a year earlier. As for vacancies advertised online, their number went up from 28,396 to 32,604. Candidates were at their most active in the immediate aftermath of National Apprenticeship Week, making 18 March the busiest day for filing. On that day apprenticeship hopefuls submitted 6,730 applications. Regarding vacancies, the highest number posted online in a single day was 17,700 and this happened on 26 April.

There was no change in the top three when it came to sectors attracting the biggest number of applications. As was the case a year earlier, Business and Administration was first with 101,510 applications, followed by Childcare and Customer Services with 29,020 and 26,200 respectively. The number of vacancies advertised was also the highest for Business and Administration (7,702) but Customer Services overtook Childcare on that count (2,700 versus 1,991).

Commenting on the latest NAS figures, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said that apprenticeships were increasingly perceived by young Britons as an excellent alternative to a university degree. School leavers are quickly grasping the potential of an apprenticeship to help them realise their career ambitions. The government is working tirelessly alongside the NAS to promote the apprenticeship cause, encouraging more employers to take on apprentices and reap the associated benefits, Hancock added.

 

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HLAs Draw Ambitious School Leavers

People generally assume that the cream of the school-leaving crop will head towardsATG Training Apprentices university, putting in a few more years of study to obtain a degree. However, a growing number of school leavers are opting instead for an apprenticeship, not least because of the increase in tuition fees, the Guardian reports.

But tuition costs are only part of the reason for this choice. More school leavers are coming to realise that an apprenticeship, especially a higher level apprenticeship (HLA), can be just as useful as a degree, sometimes more so. Students going for HLAs get the equivalent of degree-level qualifications and invaluable work experience in addition to earning money during their training.

Sophie Dalby is one of the academic high-flyers who have chosen an apprenticeship over university. She received offers from five universities but decided to take up an accountancy apprenticeship. As Sophie told the Guardian, she will be fully qualified by the age of 23 and will not have the burden of fees. In addition, she will be acquiring skills that are in demand by employers.

The government has put apprenticeships high on its agenda and invested some £1.5 billion in various initiatives during the past year alone. This has created more opportunities for young Britons and the choice of sectors keeps rising. In 2012 the number of HLAs on offer shot up to 3,700, an increase of 67.5% from the prior year. This year school leavers will be able to choose from HLAs across 41 subject areas, the Guardian added.

 

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Potential Apprentices To Get Help From New Search Tool

Young Britons looking to enter vocational training will have their quest for opportunities madeATG_youngperson_240513 easier by an online search facility that the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is currently developing, FE Week has reported.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Vic Grimes, NAS apprenticeship director for London and the South East. Addressing the audience at a training provider forum, Grimes said that the service would go live soon, offering a database of providers and available apprenticeships.

The search tool comes in response to the Holt Review conducted last year. Undertaken by entrepreneur Jason Holt, it made a number of recommendations designed to ease access to apprenticeships. Among those recommendations was the development of an online search facility allowing employers to find quality training providers. This was suggested as part of a broader aim to facilitate the entry of small companies to the apprenticeship arena. With a database of providers and opportunities readily available for search, young people considering the apprenticeship route will be greatly assisted in their undertaking.

Grimes went on to tell his audience that the government had “huge ambitions” with regard to apprenticeships. Last year the number of apprenticeship starts reached 500,000 and the goal is to have that lifted to 520,000 this year. The coalition is betting heavily on apprenticeships, putting them at the centre of its economic growth strategy. The plan is to support 3.8 million apprenticeships over the decade ahead, which is expected to deliver huge benefits to the UK economy. According to recent research, the gain will amount to £3.4 billion, Grimes pointed out.

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LSIS Seeks To Boost Uptake Of Disabled Apprentices

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is in the midst of its latestATG Training Apprentice initiative aimed at encouraging employers and training providers to take on apprentices with disabilities. Acting in partnership with Remploy Employment Services, the LSIS is addressing issues through two workshops this week, one held on Monday and another scheduled for Thursday. Three other workshops on the subject were organised earlier this year and proved extremely successful. The LSIS will be closed on 31 July 2013 but Remploy, the specialist employment support services provider, is hoping to secure a sponsor and continue to deliver such workshops across the country.

The seminars focus on concerns that might discourage employers and training providers from recruiting apprentices with disabilities. A survey commissioned by the National Apprenticeship Service in 2011 identified some of those concerns. Remploy, which carried out the research, established that employers were often deterred from taking on disabled apprentices for fear of an overwhelming regulatory burden with regard to health and safety. Some were also concerned that the apprentices would drop out of the programme, which could affect the company’s business plans. Through these workshops, the LSIS and Remploy seek to address existing concerns by informing providers how to get extra support and funding for disabled apprentices, as well as increase the number of disabled learners in apprenticeship programmes by using employer engagement strategies.

Remploy business consultant Howard Nelson said the organisation was hoping to carry on the work started by the LSIS although the workshops may not be free in the future if a sponsor is not found. The success of the events organised so far has prompted Remploy to consider a national conference on disabled apprentices, which is scheduled to take place in September.

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IET Launches New Apprentice Award

Later this year, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will celebrate

ATG Apprentices awards

ATG Apprentices awards

the contribution of apprentices and technicians to the advancement of the engineering and technology sectors. This will be done through the newly launched IET Apprentice and Technician of the Year Awards. The winners will be announced on 20 November during the IET Achievement Awards Ceremony. Those wishing to compete for the honour have until the end of this month to submit their applications.

In the case of apprentices, the award will go either to an individual or a team comprising up to five apprentices. One condition is that the person or people need to be in at least their second year of an apprenticeship scheme approved by the IET. The applicants also need to be progressing well on their road to apprenticeship qualifications and to have contributed significantly to the business of their employer or area. This contribution will be documented in a report that has to accompany the application. Candidates also have to provide an endorsement statement from their employer or scheme coordinator.

The prize combines a certificate, a cash payment of £1,000 and two years’ free IET membership. If the apprenticeship award goes to a team, the cash prize should be shared equally among the apprentices.

ATG_award_160513The IET will also honour exceptional contributions and achievements by technicians. Nominations will be made in two categories: “Technician of the Year” and “Armed Forces Technician of the Year.” To be eligible, applicants in the second category must be serving members of the UK Armed Forces.

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New Report Stresses Importance Of Apprenticeships For Building Future Skills Base

In 2008, Cranfield School of Management and e-learning provider learndirect published aATG Training Apprentice at work report called “Nurturing Talent: building the workforce of the future.” Five years later they have taken another look at the situation, focusing on youth employment and the role of apprenticeships in the overall picture. The new report concludes that apprenticeships are vital for building a sustainable UK labour force and creating employment opportunities for more people. It also stresses the importance of stepping up efforts to promote the benefits of vocational training and of getting employers actively involved in such efforts.

The survey conducted by Cranfield School of Management established that 70% of employers had yet to act on the issue of tackling potential skill shortages in the next decade or two. Although many agree that apprenticeships can make a big contribution to addressing that problem, only 7% of respondents said they had encountered no problems with securing the right youngsters for positions that need filling. The survey found that 21% of employers had apprentices on their staff, with 32% in that group declaring that training programmes provided an effective way of dealing with the dearth of technical talent.

Dr Emma Parry, who wrote the report, pointed out that apprenticeships do more than just allow companies to solve their skills problem. The evidence suggests that having apprentices on board can boost employee morale, strengthen commitment and improve retention rates. It can also reduce recruitment costs and help a company establish a reputation as a good employer, Dr Parry said.

Stephen Smyth- Marketing Manager at ATG Training, welcomed the new report and pointed to the the Government committment to vocational training. Apprenticeship training is funded by Goverment and there is currently an incentive of up to £15,000 for employers who recruit new Apprentices Smyth continued.

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Employer Event for companies seeking Apprentices

Employer Event Collage

Following on from the high profile National Apprenticeship Week, ATG Training held an employer event on 16th April.

24 employers attended with several taking the opportunity to discuss their recruitment requirements for this year. With so many high profile companies seeking to add to their workforce with new #Apprentices this year it pays to register on www.atgapprenticeships.com  to be kept informed of the latest opportunities as they arise.

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Apprenticeships Starts In Logistics Sector Rise By 29% In 2011/12

Efforts to make a career in the logistics sector more attractive for young people are paying off, if preliminary numbers from Skills for Logistics (SfL) are anything to go by. According to the Sector Skills Council for the UK freight logistics industry, the number of logistics-related apprenticeships started in 2011/2012 grew by 29%, rising from 12,170 in the preceding year to 15,670, Materials Handling World Magazine reports.

SfL chief executive Mick Jackson described the figures as great news and a clear indication that the logistics sector is successfully increasing its appeal for young Britons. SfL is working closely with employers to create apprenticeships and this cooperation makes it possible to offer training opportunities that help to address the skills demand in the sector. As part of the effort to draw more young people to logistics-oriented apprenticeships, SfL and various employers are counting on pre-employment programmes, or so-called ‘Traineeships’, Jackson added.

Driving Goods Vehicles and Warehousing and Storage apprenticeships account for more than 90% of certificates issued to trainees. The choice of logistics-oriented apprenticeships in England also includes International Trade & Logistics Operations, Logistics Operations, Mail Services, Supply Chain Management, Commercial Moving and Traffic Office. In 2012 the list was expanded with the addition of Maritime Occupations and Express Logistics.

The overall number of intermediate certificates issued stands at 29,045, while the figure for advanced certificates is 4,129. The young people awarded these certificates have since contributed more than £500 million annually to the UK economy and provided their employers with the skilled labour they need, the article said.

http://ukapprenticeships.com/logisticsapprenticeships.html

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