We have some key sectors that we know we need during the pandemic, whether that be care, construction, or in this case, logistics. Logistics workers, including warehouse workers, play a vital role in allowing the nation to stay home. This covers groceries, which have needed to keep flowing throughout the country, all the way to the handling of the vaccine. Examples like these highlight the importance of the logistics sector.
We know there is a growing demand for workers in the sector, which we have been supporting at The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This period really has been a great way to prove there are career opportunities in logistics, and help people recognise that. There are two particular routes that the DWP is taking, specifically the sector-based work academy programmes (SWAPs) and the kickstart schemes.
To give you an example of the sector-based work academy programme, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, our job centres are supporting local recruitment with JBT Distribution, who is looking for people HGV and non-HGV drivers to join them. They need another 200 people to join them across Scotland. We’ve been working with their driver academy for employees who want to advance their LGV qualifications, or transfer from a different department within the business. We’ve been doing SWAPs in Blackburn for warehouse operatives, as another example. SWAPs work really well because you get up to six weeks of training with an employer, you get the certificates you need, you get to meet the employer, find out about the role, trial it out, do the learning, and then you have a guaranteed interview at the end of it. It has been successful and even during the pandemic, we have done over 40,000 SWAPs, and we are planning to do 80,000 next year. It’s really key for us in sectors like logistics.
The kickstart scheme is for people under 25; it’s a six-month placement role with wraparound support and training. It’s great for getting young people on the employment ladder, getting them experience. In the pandemic, working with the DWP youth hubs, we have got nearly 150,000 new roles which people are currently moving into. These are brand-new jobs created specifically for young people to get a start in all different industries. If you are in logistics and you are keen to be a part of it, have a look on gov.uk. If you are not ready to take people on now, or even in the next couple of months, the placement continues through to December, meaning we have some kickstarters not concluding placements until the following summer. If it’s something you’re interested in as a business, we can help you. We have a national employer partnership scheme, with which we work with larger companies, but you can also contact your local DWP team for support. We can help you whether you want a large number of kickstarters or if you just want one person to come and join your team. Please be part of it, and don’t miss that opportunity to give somebody with talent and ability the start they need!