The key logistics sector, essential for the efficient and economic distribution and delivery of goods and services on which industry and consumers rely, has received a welcome and substantial boost for skills development following today’s announcement from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) of a £61 million investment in employment led projects designed to boost enterprise, jobs and growth.
Skills for Logistics (SfL), the sector skills council for the logistics and wholesaling industries, will receive funding of £3,955,366 to provide support for employers during the period from April 2012 through to March 2014.
Announcing the decision Skills Minister John Hayes said that the investment, available through the Employer Investment Fund, would provide businesses with the power to build skills systems that would drive an increasingly dynamic economy. Those sector skills councils which had successfully bid for funding, including Skills for Logistics, had demonstrated strong employer leadership on how best to address the skills issues constraining growth in the sector.
Dr Mick Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Skills for Logistics, said “Today’s announcement is good news for every operator in the logistics sector. It clearly indicates that the Government recognises both the importance of logistics to the economy, and the vital role which skills development plays in improving business effectiveness”.
“This recognition is now underpinned to the tune of almost £4 million over two years and SfL will work with the nine leading trade associations and professional institutes and the leading pace-setting employers, both large and small, to ensure that this funding is spent wisely in order to improve the professional image of logistics, and the skills levels of the 2.2 million people who work within the industry. We will make the logistics sector a leading career of choice, rather than a job of last resort as it is presently sometimes seen.”
Paul Brooks, SfL Chairman, and Sales Director of Unipart Logistics, said “Skills for Logistics works to enhance the performance of the sector by helping employers across the UK improve the skills of their employees. The £4 million UKCES investment announced today for SfL is a clear indication of the recognition by governments across the UK of the importance of logistics and wholesaling to the economy and its recovery.”
“I am also greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic support we have received from the trade associations and professional institutes from across the logistics sector and from leading ‘training-aware’ employers. This will ensure that we are able to create the required infrastructure enabling the delivery of skills development where needed on a local scale, throughout the UK.”
SfL Deputy Chairman, and Strategic Development Director, Menzies Distribution, David Morton said “Over many years we have seen that, like any other industry, in logistics there is a clear link between a thriving business and a skilled workforce. Training is not about altruism, it is about the essential policy of any organisation to invest in its leading asset – the skills of its work force. The Government has recognised this reality and is providing substantial support. I hope that logistics operators across our sector, large and small, will take full advantage of this special opportunity and develop the skills of their staff to the benefit of the individuals themselves and to the bottom line of their company.”
The full statement from UKCES can be viewed at http://www.ukces.org.uk/news/Press-releases/2011/eif2
The nine bodies within the sector referred to above are the Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association, the British International Freight Association, the Institute of Couriers, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Port Skills and Safety, the UK Warehousing Association, Maritime Skills Alliance and the Builders Merchants Federation.