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People at IMHX Connect

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The last day of IMHX Connect was based around people in the logistics industry, and included presentations from Mentor, UKWA, Unseen UK and more.

Training around 30,000 FLT operators every year, Mentor FLT Training’s Stuart Taylor began proceedings with a look at the continuous theme that links the 7 common causes of FLT accidents. Despite the UK having the most stringent H&S regulation in the world, there are still 1300 FLT accidents every year. This not only affects the victims but also your business. 5 people are hospitalised with life changing injuries following a FLTA every day. 57% of those injured by FLTs are pedestrians, not the drivers. Almost every accident is avoidable through basic starting point of operator training. 

Segregation is imperative in minimising risk: clearly define pedestrian crossings and utilise clear warning signs to ensure all operatives are aware of the dangers of FLT. Taylor also advised to avoid rushing by setting realistic targets and encouraging good time management. He said to never use equipment that is unsuitable for its use, and to ensure that all trucks are regularly inspected and serviced.  

Clare Bottle, CEO of the UKWA, asked whether we are truly facing a labour shortage or whether the current climate can be described more accurately as a skills gap. While there is a distinct and dramatic growth in the number of job adverts in the UK logistics industry, the 2.5 million people already working within the sector should search for more opportunities to train and learn new skills. McKinsey’s 2020 report shows that companies with a more diverse workforce are more profitable, and an inclusive culture is a pre-requisite to delivering on a strategy of diversity. If you focus on diversifying your workforce without integrating an inclusive culture, you will see a revolving door of staff. 

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Only seventeen UK universities offer logistics courses, and there are no school qualifications specific to logistics, and Bottle questioned how the next generation will come across our sector. While there are good and strong frameworks for logistics apprenticeships, including degree apprenticeships, there are aspects of app which can be inflexible. They have to last for at least a year, and apprentices are expected to spend 20% of their time on ‘off the job’ training, e.g. shadowing a different role or attending non-essential meetings.  Bottle identified the kickstart scheme as being a well-funded model for getting young people on universal credit into work, seeing TalkTalk and Matalan having successes. However, it has not been widely used in logistics and focuses more in administrative and retail roles. The lifetime skills guarantee was launched with £2.5bn of funding, ensuring anybody in the UK with no level-3 qualification (A-level) can get government funding. It is focused on adult learners and existing staff, a Warehousing & Storage Diploma is eligible for funding, however UKWA’s initial research has found that there are very few if any training providers who are offering this diploma. Leeds City College, who offer it, says the take-up is quite poor as there are limitations on interest from employers. Anyone accessing this LSG will lose out on Universal Credit, which is a barrier.  

Unseen UK run safehouses, supporting victims once they have been identified, and they work to reintegrate victims into society to help get a normal life back. They also do training with local authority figures and seek to influence policy changes at the government level, with a victim-centred approach. Victims may be scared of talking to the police, such as their immigration status. Their main focus is the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline: confidential and independent, in 2020 the helpline took over 6,000 calls and around 3,500 potential victims were identified. 

Cooper highlighted that visibility gaps in the supply chain create opportunities for criminal exploitation. Businesses closing throughout the pandemic added pressure on the supply chain which created a spike in demand for people, and exploiters can infiltrate this and get victims.  

Stewart Jackson, Sales Manager at ATA Recruitment, explained how you can alter your recruitment policy to attract the best talent and retain them. Recruitment policy itself can mean different things to different companies, but fundamentally it is always there to define the hire you require for a particular role, or how to frame the selection criteria for the role. Jackson stressed the need to differentiate between experience and capability: a candidate may have five years’ experience in the logistics industry, but their capability can vary from person to person.  

Recruitment policy needs to be centred around core values. Jackson encouraged employers to consider what attributes and character traits are required to make the role a success, as well as what the candidate needs to be able to do on day one of their employment. He identified that the interview process can often lack efficiency: you need to be able to benchmark the criteria before the interview, or the selection process can become challenging. 

Army veteran Neil Walton discussed how to solve the HGV driver shortage by tapping into an under-utilised resource: ex-military personnel. The charity he represents, Veterans into Logistics, aims to reduce unemployment and homelessness amongst the ex-military community by creating a pathway for veterans into the transport and logistics industry. They assist veterans in completing LGV driver training and assist with interview preparation (e.g. CV writing, self presentation). Walton highlighted that the drive and skillset that ex-military personnel possess can be hugely beneficial to logistics companies. 

The team at Veterans into Logistic have over 90 years of combined experience with HGV driving, training and testing operations, so they are well equipped to advise veterans which type of role in the logistics industry suit them once they are trained. Walton also emphasised the importance of taking care of the mental health of ex-military personnel: 25,000 veterans accessed support for poor mental health in 2017, and it is also the estimated number of those ‘suffering in silence’.  

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With 1.6 million workers suffering from work-related ill-health in the 2019/20 financial year, Teresa Higgins, Brand Director at Barbour EHS, showed attendees how to access crucial information on the topic of mental health in the workplace. Through Barbour’s extensive online library of guidance and legislation, you can bookmark or download the documents relevant to you and you will even receive an email notification if the document is updated. 

Barbour have put together three key topic categories: mental health, mental health conditions and wellbeing. These topics have all the documents needed to help support the wellbeing of your employees, and Higgins suggested that having a ‘topic of the month’ would help spread awareness and get the right message to the right people.  

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