A new generation of talented and enthusiastic youth are entering the workforce and they will require guidance, support and encouragement to build lasting careers. Logistics should be a first choice, not a last resort.

The stigma around the logistics industry is generally linked to the perspective that the only possible career paths are forklift drivers and warehouse managers. Despite this misconception, the logistics industry provides a diverse range of career opportunities, especially for those who are transferring between full-time education and full-time work.

With an ever-expanding industry, worth US$8.1 trillion worldwide, it is vital we emphasise the importance of preparing a young workforce to promote growth into the future.

Keys to encouragement

There are several key ways to encourage the development of youth in this industry.

Mentoring encourages a personal satisfaction of skills sharing and experience through the transfer of knowledge, insight and advice. Benefits for both parties are substantial. For the mentee, benefits include exposure to new ways of thinking and new ideas; guidance of professional development and self-advancement; advice on developing strengths; and overcoming weaknesses. For the mentor benefits include recognition as a subject matter expert and leader; an opportunity to reflect on their own goals and practices; extension of their professional growth record; and development of their personal leadership and coaching styles. Mentoring also brings benefits to the company. It improves staff morale, performance and motivation for employees and shares desired company behaviours and attitudes.

Challenges force one to reflect on where they are and where they want to go. When the challenge is difficult, the satisfaction and confidence gained when the task is achieved is empowering. Our youth need to be challenged to find a sense of success with what they are doing. If there is no challenge, there is no fulfilment, and if there is no fulfilment, there is no progression.

For newcomers to thrive, they need to feel engaged. This not only recognises involvement, it provides measurable benefits young people bring to an organisation; breaks down stigmas; and encourages flexibility, enthusiasm and creativity.

If a workplace can adopt a solid sense of trust within its organisation, this will help aid the ability to work more effectively as a team. Unfortunately, young people are often associated with a lack of trust, due to age and maturity level. Through this connotation, youth repeatedly reflect these attitudes and are less likely to perform to mature standards. By trusting our young people to work responsibly, we are showing them that they are respected and a part of the team.

Recognising that employees have priorities outside the work environment, proposes flexibility and makes an employee feel valued. To many, balancing work and family is more important than salary. This is imperative to respect as it can lead to a positive growth for both the employee and the company’s future.

Appreciation has a direct link to job satisfaction and increased productivity levels. This can be a significant instrument to promote active relationships between youths and adults in the workplace. If an employee is feeling undervalued, they are less likely to perform at their peak. However, if they are shown that they are appreciated and that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed, they are more likely to be proactive and maintain a high level of hard work in their roles.

By making our young people feel empowered, we are increasing leadership skills and effectively co-ordinating a vibrant and dynamic platform to help them make decisions and implement change in their lives as well as the lives of those around them.

These basic behaviours will lead our industry into the promising future we expect.

Logistics should be understood, respected and it should be a preferred industry in which to begin a career. We need to remember that youth is our future.

* Sarah Vogler is a customs compiler at VISA Global Logistics

This article appeared in the January 2019 edition of DCN Magazine