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The return of the workforce

Joe Crossley, CEO at Qube Learning offers insight on how the logistics industry can unbox talent post-lockdown.

34_Qube Headshot.jpgOn 30 June 2020, Boris Johnson said: “If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us one thing it is that this country needs to be ready for what may be coming […] For a century we have failed to invest enough in further education and give young people the practical training and further education they need […] and so we are investing massively now […]because it is time the system recognised that talent and genius are expressed as much by hand and by eye as they are in a spreadsheet or an essay.”

The logistics industry – warehousing and transport – has always been a central pillar of the British economy but perhaps this year we’ve seen it more than ever as the teams behind our warehouses and delivery routes have kept the nation moving.

A recent employer survey conducted by Qube Learning as the lockdown eased showed that 46% of businesses reported that they are looking to recruit new talent into the business following COVID-19. In addition, 54% reported they are also looking to develop existing employees via apprenticeships following the pandemic.

At Qube Learning, we recognise the vast array of solutions there are available to logistics suppliers juggling recruitment and training challenges - and at a critical time, we can help find a cost-effective or low-cost programme to help.

Warehouse workers and heavy goods vehicle drivers are in increasingly high demand due to e-commerce uplift, sustained growth of home delivery services, grocery supply chains placed under pressure, and supermarkets continuing to increase their delivery services for vulnerable. In short, the industry needs a bigger workforce and longer-term structural change; so how can the sector capitalize on this movement, and recruit the right talent? 

Understanding where government funding can support employers with training and recruitment is going to be key to businesses recovery plans - and with the aid of public funding, the Apprenticeship Levy and the free recruitment services Qube have available, we can ensure it plays a key part in your future success.

Treasury funds

“We know apprenticeships work,” Rishi Sunak stated in July 2020, “91% stay in work or go on to further training. For the next six months we are going to pay employers to create new apprenticeships.”

Upskilling and recruiting within the workforce is critical as we push back against the current recession. Proven to support both retention and work productivity, recruitment and training will only have a positive impact on securing business into the future and will prepare companies to weather future crises successfully.

On 8 July, the Treasury announced that from August 2020 to January 2021, employers will receive £1,000 for each new trainee they take on in this time.

Alongside this incentive, any firm that hires a new young apprentice aged 16-24 will receive an additional £2,000 (overall incentive totalling £3,000) whilst those that hire new apprentices aged 19-24 will receive an additional £1,000 (£2,000 total). Those hiring apprentices age 25+ will be paid £1,500 in total. In addition, employers of apprentices under the age of 25 are not required to pay secondary Class 1 (employer) National Insurance contributions (NIC) on earnings up to the Upper Earnings Limit (currently £40,000), for those employees.

Specialist modules: finding your vocation

With a specialised skillset, employers can redesign their workforce for a more efficient and productive post-COVID future. An individualised approach can prove to be very helpful in recruitment across such a broad sector, especially in attracting workers who feel they have specific areas of skill they would like to develop for employers.

Qube offers traineeships, apprenticeships and courses in areas including Supply Chain, Driving & Transport, Facilities Services and Management, and Transport & Warehouse Operations. Additional modules cover areas such as driver wellbeing, legislation and communication in the supply chain, and vehicle safety and security, bringing a focused level of professional expertise to the business, and a higher level of personal investment in individual employees.

“Through the apprenticeship set up by Qube, I am a safer and a more competent warehouse worker, making a positive contribution to my employer,” says Warehouse Assistant, John Fortescue. “This apprenticeship has helped me develop a greater passion for health and safety [and] I’ve also really developed my existing warehouse knowledge and can apply it in everything I do.”

Qube Work-Fit aims to unlock the potential of jobseekers via online learning so that employers can be confident that their newest team members can ‘hit the ground running’. Qube is able to deliver numerous qualifications to individual jobseekers - such as the Warehouse and Storage Certificate - by providing them with the resources and training opportunities they need to be prepared to start or return to work. Qube also supports entrance to Sector-Based Work Academies (SBWA) which includes pre-employment training relevant to the logistics sector, and a full work experience placement.

Apprenticeship Levy Transfers

Successful access to the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer scheme is also going to be a key factor in recruitment within the logistics industry as we move forward in 2020 and beyond. Whilst most businesses will be familiar with the Apprenticeship Levy, the transfer can also be accessed by those not paying the levy themselves.

One of the many advantages of working with Qube Learning is that we can put smaller businesses and individuals ‘in touch’ with brands who have excess levy to transfer. Despite all the complications of the system, we are confident that the ‘Qube connection’ can benefit both levy payers and smaller businesses, allowing both sides to get maximum benefit from this useful government scheme.

In a nutshell, the levy is a UK tax on employers which can be used to fund apprenticeship training. A 10% government contribution is added to each monthly payment, so employers get more out than they put in. However, levy paying employers can also transfer up to 25% of their apprentice levy funds to other employers.

The transfer option was added to make the apprenticeship system more flexible, meeting the needs of employers (those with supply chains involving logistics, warehousing or retail for example) whilst also helping smaller businesses to invest in more training opportunities. As part of the transfer scheme, small businesses in a large company’s supply chain could see their apprenticeships funded in this way.

With many jobseekers (including both low and highly skilled workers) not being able to access their usual routes of training and support throughout the pandemic, now is the time to attract talent and focus on the future of logistics.  

Businesses now have a window of opportunity to train enthusiastic new recruits - whether employees who are experienced in the industry, but new to the role, or employees who have come from a displaced workforce and are moving across sectors, utilising their transferable skills. Whichever way you look at it, this combination is set to strengthen the future success of the logistics challenges we now face.

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TAGS: Training News
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