Despite a challenging trading environment over the past 12 months, Irish logistics businesses are seeing a recovery in confidence, according to the third annual CBRE Ireland Logistics and Supply Chain Index 2018, launched on Wedesday.
However, as FTAI’s General Manager Aidan Flynn says, without the availability of sufficient skilled workers to fill the industry’s vacancies in the year ahead, this confidence could be shattered:
“Ireland’s economy has taken a gentle upturn in the past 12 months, but Brexit and skills shortages present challenges which are difficult to predict as the logistics sector moves forwards. The country’s continued economic recovery is dependent on the free availability of raw materials and finished goods for manufacturing and retailers, so it is imperative that those moving the products and services are able to do so, on time and to a workable budget.
According to the report “85% of respondents expect turnover to increase over the next year, and more than half of those questioned intend to increase their logistics-related headcount to some degree in 2018. However, with the country reaching almost full employment levels, it is vital that the transport and logistics sector is able to identify and employ individuals with the appropriate skills to keep Ireland trading, both at home and overseas.”
FTAI is closely involved in the government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programme, which aims to attract new, younger employees to the sector and provide them with a genuine career opportunity that will challenge and reward them. Flynn continues:
“Apprenticeships and traineeships provide our young people with an opportunity to ‘earn while they learn’, which many other schemes do not, and the perfect chance for the logistics industry to influence the quality of its future workforce. The new Logistics Associate apprenticeship will provide a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience ideally suited to the employment vacancies being advertised by our members. With ready access to such important training and education, it is vital that organisations across the sector support this programme, to keep the workforce refreshed and motivated for the challenges ahead.”
The two year Logistics Associate apprenticeship Level 6 standard will provide 20% classroom based learning at DIT College of Business, where enrolees will cover subjects ranging from customer care, an introduction to the supply chain and modes of distribution to Customs procedures. And as Flynn says, the most important element of the course will feature “on the job” learning:
“For most employers, it is vital that new employees have some experience of the workplace, and we are delighted to be contributing to the development of an apprenticeship standard that has direct parallels with genuine employment. With the logistics industry seeing an upturn in confidence, the sector offers a broad range of job opportunities for motivated, enthusiastic individuals, and working with the new apprenticeship programme will ensure that the workforce of tomorrow continues to drive the industry forwards, which is vital for Ireland’s continued economic success.”
FTAI is the most active membership association in the sector, representing xx businesses, and produces the annual Ireland Logistics and Supply Chain Confidence Index, which provides an annual snapshot of business confidence and ambition across a sector which is involved in every area of Ireland’s economy. For more information about the report, and to find out more about the new Logistics Associate apprenticeship programme, please contact FTA Ireland at www.ftai.ie