Industry views | 21 April 2016
The supply chain sector is one of the largest global industries, and is the backbone of the UK economy, touching every part of our daily lives. Every chair that you sit on, every window that you look out, and every food that you eat has been transported across the country by an army of talented experts to ensure that it gets to you when you need it and at the best price possible.
And yet, few people ever stop to consider how these products came to us or perhaps even the people that make this happen. As a result, this ""hidden"" industry is often missed when it comes to career planning, and many people are unaware of the breadth and diversity of career opportunities it can offer to young people in the UK today.
I say this as HR Director of the largest British logistics business in operation today – an organisation that has over 90 years’ experience providing innovative supply chain services to some of the biggest household names in retail, defence, fuels and construction, and that has a great track record in developing talent in the industry.
This lack of awareness of the industry also extends to an outdated perception, that it is an unskilled sector, reliant entirely on heavy manual labour. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
From real-time tracking technologies and automated warehouses, to the potential for driverless trucks, Wincanton is at the forefront of innovation, and it is our talented team that is responsible for delivering these advances.
For example, in the last few years alone we have taken on in excess of 240 apprentices across the country. These are young people with great potential, who either go on to secure their first job or who have learned an invaluable set of skills that will set them up for a wide array of career opportunities.
We see our work with apprentices as a fundamental part of our business, particularly at a time when more young people are out of work than ever before. We have even been recognised for our work in this area by the National Apprenticeship Service and City & Guilds, who ranked us in their Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list.
We also proactively support university students through their degrees, as a sponsor member and partner of the NOVUS Trust. In this role we offer work experience and support to students throughout their degree, and provide them with a job upon successful completion of the course.
These are the future leaders of our industry, and we bolster their enthusiasm and theoretical knowledge with experience and advice that will help them make an instant impact in their career. We also run schools engagement programmes, to raise awareness of the industry and career opportunities at an early age.
The economic turbulence of the last few years has taken its toll on the UK jobs market, affecting young people more than most.
With rising rent and house prices, as well as the increase in tuition costs, we know that young people are looking for a career, not just a job. So that’s what we offer – paid on-the-job-training, from bottom to top and the chance for hard work to be recognised with promotion.
Many of our colleagues have developed their careers, from driving and warehouse roles, to key management roles, and we are already developing the next generation of talent, who will become our future leaders.
So next time you sit down to write an essay, consider where your laptop, your pen, your paper, your desk, as well as the coffee and biscuit fuelling you, all came from. And why not consider a career in logistics...