Birmingham City University has been chosen as the launchpad for a skills delivery infrastructure proposal.
Some 30 professionals from the supply chain, logistics and transport management fields, assembled in the University’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) to hear Skills for Logistics (SfL) proposal for a ‘one-stop-shop’ academy to meet skills needs among logistics employers.
Skills for Logistics’ West Midlands manager, James Billingham, told delegates, as a result of extensive consultation with employers, the need had been identified for an effective logistics training infrastructure.
The aim is to bring regional coordination to the profession’s skills development and career progression, while offering access to qualifications. This would form the basis of a relevant and consistent programme nationally.
James Billingham said: “The complex modern business practice of logistics employs a quarter of a million in the West Midlands and underpins every supply chain in the region.
“It is clear a programme of qualifications is needed to help anyone with ambition. Our proposal offers educational stepping stones and support services to employers, from a basic knowledge of logistics, to qualifications appropriate to senior management.”
Birmingham City University’s TIC is one of the UK’s few centres offering a master’s degree course in logistics.
This gave it an authoritative role, as the West Midlands senior educational institution, to host the Skills for Logistics’ launch of the Logistics Academy proposals.
An audience comprising representatives from universities, further education and private colleges, as well as training centres at every qualification level, were invited to participate. This provided a forum where all levels of interest aired views and interests concerning the operation of a network of institutions which would collaborate.
Details were given of Skills for Logistics’ Professional Development Stairway – a 12-step framework for career planning and continuous professional development programmes, with relevant qualifications.
This ‘stairway’ is the product of wide-ranging consultation with logistics operators, of all sizes, and across every type of supply chain.
SfL’s James Billingham said: “A major strength of the logistics profession is it underpins every sector of the economy.
UK plc depends absolutely on efficient logistics. Yet the sector has an image problem, – it is an invisible and much misunderstood business function.”
TIC’s director for logistics and supply chain management MSc courses, Dennis Foster, also said: “The Skills for Logistics’ stairway has been designed to perform a number of functions for the sector. Firstly, it offers a career framework allowing those who work in logistics to see how their future can be mapped and helps managers plan which skills they need to develop.
“It also enables them to identify where they need to import new skills into their team. Secondly, it offers companies of every size and type a programme of continuous professional development which is an increasingly significant factor in staff retention.
“It will undoubtedly involve a wide range of educational providers alongside ourselves.”
The Logistics Academy in the West Midlands is intended to be a network of educational bodies able to offer the range of courses able to meet the multiple needs of the stairway’s twelve steps.