Monday 19th Nov, 2018

INDUSTRY OPINION: Freight industry needs youth focus

Photo: Ingram Publishing
Photo: Ingram Publishing

AS A forty-year International Freight Industry veteran, I’ve seen plenty of changes in the business. Most have been for the better. But there’s one emerging trend that’s very alarming – the difficulty faced by young people to forge a career in our industry.

Look behind you and see if there’s somebody to take your place, and then somebody to take their place and so on. If not, there’s a looming problem stemming from lack of organisational depth.

Successful, brave and conscientious freight companies have a youth policy. They value and nurture young talent, guaranteeing a continuous flow of trained and motivated youth from the bottom up. They don’t have large gaps that will leave them without trained staff flowing through to take up the more senior roles as people move up or move on. These companies move people forward, fill from the bottom and avoid costly and sometimes disastrous external recruitment.

So, youth policies are all about employing from the bottom and promoting from within. Yes, you can constantly create the ‘next gen’ of senior operators, supervisors and the industry leaders of the future. The motivational benefits are obvious. If your people know there are real chances for promotion, they will work harder and you can avoid the costly disruption of staff turnover. Educate and mentor early, develop people with purpose and with the future in mind. It’s a no-brainer.

Future Force is attracting the best quality young talent to our industry though its work with public and private high schools. The nationally-recognised course, ‘International Freight Forwarding’ is delivered in two main ways. First, Future Force delivers the program in schools through its School Based Traineeship program, where it forms an official part of Year 12 studies. Students are required to work one day per week with a host freight company. It’s inexpensive and actually a fantastic community service. In addition, around 70% of the Year 12 program graduates are ultimately employed full time by their host company.

The second method is to attract Year 12 graduates to our industry with assistance from school career advisors. Graduates are employed by Future Force as trainees and allocated to host companies as full-time employees. The transition of these youths from trainee to company employee takes two years of intensive learning and mentoring delivered by the Future Force team and well over 90% of graduates remain with the host company after graduation.

The big change is that there are now many Year 12 students and graduates looking at international freight and logistics as a viable career choice, itching for an opportunity to get into a full-time traineeship and commit long-term. These kids are the future of our industry and it’s up to industry leaders to give them a go and in so doing, reap the organisational benefits.

Future Force is proud to be working with industry body Freight & Trade Alliance on this and other initiatives that will deliver long-term benefits to the Australian freight and trade sectors. Together we are making a call out to industry. Adopt a youth policy and secure our industry’s future.

* Tim Tickner is director of Future Force, a training organisation focused on the international freight and logistics industry

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