Logistics Associate Apprenticeship – Future Proofing the Transport & Logistics Sector in Ireland

7 August 2018 

Logistics Associate Apprenticeship – Future Proofing the Transport & Logistics Sector in Ireland

The-LAA-Logo Logistics Apprenticeship

The freight distribution and logistics industry is a vibrant and vital sector for the economy of Ireland. Contributing in excess of €1billion a year to the exchequer in the form of PAYE PRSI and road taxes. Irish goods and service exports have increased by over 33% between 2011 and 2016 from €175 billion to €258billion and the economy is now ranked 12th most competitive in the world.

Brexit is shining a light on the transport and logistics sector like never before as politicians and stakeholders struggle to understand the complexities of the supply chain and contemplate the enormity of the decisions to be made that will impact future trade for generations to come. This in itself poses lots of opportunities for investment, support and innovative new ways of doing business. However this sector, as a career choice often appears to be unattractive to young people. 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 transport and logistics sector unfortunately is suffering from a serious skills shortage across all levels which hinders progress and makes dealing with change extremely difficult.

Even without Brexit; investment in training and education is badly needed for lots of reasons. We need to question why there is a skills shortage in the first place. Second the industry is 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 the sector is to succeed into the future. Industry must really commit to adding value to careers in their companies and making them attractive to young people. There are a number of exciting new initiates that will aid this change in mind-set such as the new ‘Logistics Associate’ Apprenticeship’.

The Logistics Associate Apprenticeship is a Level 6 Higher Certificate in Logistics and is the first non-craft apprenticeship to be offered by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and the first of the industry-led programmes to be delivered by DIT School of Management. The announcement of the new Logistics Associate programme really demonstrates what industry can achieve when working collaboratively. The consortium of businesses and professional bodies supporting the programme, which includes Freight Transport Associate Ireland (FTAI), The Irish International Freight Association (IIIFA), Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Ireland, IPICS The Supply Chain Management Institute and an impressive list of employers – are committed to delivering a meaningful, active programme which will deliver the skilled young people which the Irish logistics industry needs to keep moving.

The content of the apprenticeship was approved for development by the Minister for Education Richard Bruton,TD on 8th December 2017 and, thanks to the efforts of all the businesses and industry bodies concerned, the programme has been validated within six months, an unprecedented achievement. The “earn as you learn” apprenticeship and traineeship plan was launched by government in 2016, and offers career options to school leavers and mature students who prefer paid on-the-job training, rather than a full time educational solution.

The logistics sector is a vital cog in the Irish economy, yet many people are unaware of what jobs are available and what they entail. The labour needs of the Freight, Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector are developing as forecast in the 2015 EGFSN report. 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, approximately 13,752 of those currently working in the sector are expected to retire by 2025. 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.

The Logistics Associate Apprenticeship is supported by employers in the Logistics, Freight Forwarding , Shipping, Distribution, Air Freight and Haulage sector and will help these companies become more attractive for young people, as well as helping upskill existing employees. As we see from recent publications there is great opportunities for vibrant careers.

By 2020 the government plans to have 72 apprenticeship programmes in operation (currently there are 25 with 11 new validated programmes) and 9,000 registrations for apprentices per annum.

The new Apprenticeship will be overseen by the National Apprenticeship Council, while the further education and training authority SOLAS is the lead agency responsible for apprenticeship on behalf of Government, working in close partnership with the Higher Education Authority, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, industry and education and training providers across further and higher education. SOLAS' responsibility includes maintenance of a national register of employers approved to take on apprentices and a national register of apprentices.

The guidance for employers is to support Apprenticeship programmes (which must be industry led) by mapping positions and people into positions that fit in with available apprenticeships. If they are not there yet share your requirements with key stakeholders including SOLAS and trade associations. For school leavers and prospective employees we recommend that you research the logistics and freight sector and consider it as a destination for your enthusiasm, passion and career development. For schools and guidance councillors link in with key stakeholders in the industry to offer you guidance and knowledge of an industry that can then be shared with your students. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity and offer viable solutions to help add value and direction for the participant. Apprenticeships help form a culture of progression within industry that will ultimately result in a better skilled workforce.

As George Bernard Shaw once said “Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything

For more information on the Logistics Associate Apprenticeship visit www.laa.ie or email aflynn@ftai.ie