The transport and logistics sector unfortunately is suffering from a skills shortage across all levels from Drivers, warehouse operatives, transport planners, managers. This Skill Shortage is having an impact on business expansion and growth opportunities and makes dealing with issues posed by Brexit very difficult. Industry must take the lead in pursuing solutions that can alleviate the problems they are faced with. Competitive issues must be set aside to work collaboratively towards industry wide solutions that everyone can benefit from. To come up with solutions requires understanding what the issues are in the first place! This briefing note will focus on the driver shortage for the commercial heavy goods vehicle drivers. This profession is challenged with an image problem that does not promote a good career choice. This must change if we are to recruit young people to take up driving positions not only in the haulage sector but in the own account sector as well. We are on the verge of the biggest shock to the supply chain in decades and on the cusp of an automated revolution. Getting people interested in a career in transport and logistics is of vital importance. Training and education, upskilling and continuous professional development must become the norm not the exception if our sector is to succeed into the future.
Skills Shortages is becoming the buzz term within all business sectors as the country nears full employment (unemployment rate of 5.4% March 2019). Competition for ‘suitably qualified’ personnel is having an impact on employers as they struggle to fill vacancies to aid their business development and sustainability. This is certainly the case within the freight distribution and logistics sector, where the inability to fill critical vacancies is restricting growth opportunities.
The Freight Distribution and Logistics Industry
The freight distribution and logistics industry is a vibrant and vital sector for the economy of Ireland. Contributing in excess of €1 billion a year to the exchequer in the form of PAYE PRSI and road taxes. Irish goods and service exports have increased by over a third between 2011 and 2016 from €175 billion to €258 billion and the economy is now ranked 12th most competitive in the world1. For many reasons this sector is currently unattractive to young people. This is evidenced by the number of people applying for driving jobs, applying for third level supply chain courses and by the results of the driver survey outlined later in this briefing note. The transport sector in particular has been less successful than others in recruiting younger workers due to many factors including a perception that it is made up of predominantly low skilled jobs and long hours. This perception must change! A real way to deal with change is to invest in Training and Education.
The labour needs of the Freight, Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector are developing as forecast in the 2015 EGFSN report2. At the time of 2016 Census there were 49,470 people working in this field. In the absence of a major external shock the labour needs of the sector are expected to increase to 66,204 by 2025. Given the age profile of people working in the sector, 13,752 of those currently working in the sector are expected to retire by 20253. In summary, a total of 30,486 individuals will have to decide to take up careers in the sector and receive all the necessary training between now and 2025 in this baseline scenario.
Table below is page 103 of the report http://www.skillsireland.ie/Publications/2015/18022015-Freight-Skills-Publication-pdf.pdf
The 2015 report highlights that there will be a requirement for between 7125 and 8406 new entrants into the occupation of HGV driver by 2020.
logistics associate apprenticeship (laa)
FTA Ireland have been instrumental in the development and delivery of the new ‘Logistics Associate Apprenticeship’ that started in DIT Aungier Street on the 26th of September 2018. Aidan Flynn (FTAI)) was elected as Chair of the Consortium and FTA Ireland are the lead proposer for the programme. The apprenticeship is aimed at all in the freight distribution and logistics sector and boasts apprentices working in the haulage, freight forwarding, shipping manufacture and warehousing and distribution sector as the first ever students on the programme. The core topics included in this 2 year level 6 (industry led) programme are; Introduction to Supply Chain; Introduction to movement of freight by air, sea and land; customer care; introduction to Customs & IT systems. The apprenticeship will help attract young people into industry and we are looking forward to growing the numbers participating in the apprenticeship both employers and apprentices over the coming years.
commercial driver apprenticeship
The Commercial Driver Apprenticeship is an undergraduate programme at level 6 on the QQI National Framework of Qualifications. It is envisaged that the Commercial Driver Apprenticeship will grow exponentially year on year as it broadens its appeal within the Freight, Distribution and Logistics sector. For this to happen and be sustainable will require time and resource to communicate and promote the programme to the following:
This proposed apprenticeship programme is directly in response to the recommendations in the 2018 Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation report on Addressing the skills needs arising from the potential trade implications of Brexit.
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