Finding the Next Future Leaders for Our Industry

It seems like a lifetime ago I skipped out of the University of Ulster with a degree in Transport and no common sense! I realised I had no common sense when I was asked to “tip a trailer” by my first Warehouse Manager and my response was “will that not damage the parcels if I tip them out?”

Education is normally the foundation to how we choose our career paths so I have always questioned when should education in logistics and transport start? It is virtually non-existent in our primary or secondary curriculum and a common statement I hear from many transport professionals is “I fell into transport.” Should this be the case given the critical importance of our industry and the impact we could have globally if the supply chain came to a stop because of a skills shortage?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to sort this overnight, but I assure you we continue to lobby for change, but we still desperately need our next future leaders today, tomorrow and the next day.

Supply chains evolve over time, in some eras more quickly than others.

The coming years will likely be one of those eras of dramatic transformation thanks to a combination of accelerating technology development and widespread experimentation with new operating models, not to mention how we have adopted with Covid 19 and Brexit. So that is why we need to find our future leaders, right?

In an age when we constantly talk about personal development and succession planning, I have a real fear we will run out of talent as we return to normal and the demand on the supply chain is pushed to the limit.

Over the past year or so, I have been working with key stakeholders in education to explore what we could offer our industry to attract and develop our next future leaders.

I fully appreciate we all have fast paced businesses and it gets more and more difficult to release people, so I have explored online learning options with the Chartered Institute of Logistics, a Higher level work place apprenticeship with the Northern Regional College and a full time and part time foundation degree at the South West College validated by the Open University.

Competency Framework

The CILT Competency Framework allows individuals and organisations the opportunity to identify their required levels of skill, knowledge and experience to achieve their goals; this recognition of core and technical competencies is the impetus to creating a meaningful development pathway.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an integral aspect of professionalism, affording the sector the expertise to innovate and stay relevant to the needs of customers and the ever-changing environments in which they serve.

CILT(UK) support transport, logistics and supply chain operation professionals and organisations through the development of meaningful learning opportunities aligned to standards set out in the CILT Competency Framework. We achieve this through a myriad of delivery mechanisms for learning opportunities and qualifications to ensure the learning experience is accessible and relevant.

Online learning, study at your own pace and convenience with CILT’s engaging and accessible e-learning solutions. All learning programmes and courses align to professional competencies across supply chain, logistics and transport, contributing to CPD activity, and helping you stay relevant and up to date.

If interested, please visit –

Foundation Degree

South West College are delighted to offer a new and exciting degree programme in Transport and Supply Chain Management. Entry onto the programme via a Foundation Degree is offered on a two year full time or part time option. If you are in employment in the sector and want to upskill in your role you can apply to the two year Higher Level Apprenticeship option.  Department for Economy Apprenticeship bonus payments currently apply.

On successful completion of the Foundation Degree students can progress onto the BSc (Hons) Top up degree. This is also offered as a one year full time or two year part time option. Eligible employers can avail of Skills Focus funding towards the course fees.

This is a fantastic opportunity for local employers to attract new talent or grow your own talent through upskilling to meet your growing business needs and fill your existing or future vacancies with the right people.

SWC plan to hold an event to enable local employers to market your opportunities at South West College Dungannon campus on Saturday 19th June 2021 from 10.00am to 12 noon.

If you are interested please contact – Imelda Haran – [email protected]

Higher Level Apprenticeship

A Higher Level Apprenticeship is a pathway for progression for post A Level students to achieve a level 5 qualification while employed in an organisation who provides vital ‘hands on’ skills.

HLAs are also a progression route for employed persons wishing to change career or a new employee into an organisation.

HLA’s tend to last for a minimum of 2 years whereby the apprentice will attend college one day a week and their place of employment 4 days a week. An apprentice is paid a wage, usually above minimum wage and they are permitted study days and study leave. Both the training provider and the employer provide a mentor to assist the apprentice with their ‘on the job’ training and the college mentor will also assist with the learning and personal development aspects of the HLA.

Upon completion of a HLA the apprentice then has the chance of a full time permanent position within the organisation.

This HLA in Supply Chain and Logistics is approved by the DfE and validated by the Ulster University. Collaboration is continuing to take place with local employers to ensure that the modules and their content are industry specific and relevant. Local employers will also work with module leads on content and will deliver on the programme as industry specialist lecturers.

The first intake will be in September 2021, if you are interested please contact Julie Powell – [email protected]

Amazing Industry

Logistics and Transport is an amazing industry with endless opportunities but just like the best football teams in the world we must develop our talent from an early age, grow their skills over a period of time and then let them play to gain experience.  I strongly believe the opportunities above provide us all with the perfect catalyst to finding our next future leaders.