From education to employment



Sustainability and digitalisation have emerged as top priorities for training the transport and logistics sector according to employers.

The findings are part of a report, published by IfATE today, which reveals the ways in which the sector must adapt to meet current and future skills needs. At the time of publication, the transport and logistics sector spans 37 apprenticeships that cover a diverse range of skills in air, rail, road, sea and warehousing, at levels 2 (equivalent to GCSE) through to level 6 (degree level).

Having consulted widely with businesses, the report identified nine core principles and characteristics that employers will in future be asked to prioritise when developing apprenticeships and wider skills training with leading skills government agency IfATE:

  • Decarbonisation and sustainability
  • Data skills
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Continuous improvement
  • Safety and regulation
  • Customer experience
  • Business ethics
  • Security
  • Wellbeing and welfare

A key priority is decarbonisation and sustainability. The report noted skills will be vital with helping meet the UK target for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Yet for example in 2021, transportation was identified as the largest sector for greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. The right training is needed to help make businesses more environmentally friendly.

The sector must keep up with digital, technological, and autonomous innovation skills needs, such as the use of predictive technologies led by artificial intelligence (AI). This could help improve smarter monitoring of land conditions, planning and forecasting, and remotely piloted drones.

Training should also address security concerns. As well as considerations over data, asset and infrastructure security threats in the sector, physical security is a further issue. For example, commercial large goods vehicle drivers on UK roads should be prepared for being targets of goods or vehicle theft. Commercial vehicles can also be used in organised crime and antisocial activities. The importance of business ethics was also recognised and making sure, for example, those working in organisations understand what the reporting methods and options are and how to speak out through whistleblowing policies.

Jill Nicholls, IFATE head of construction and the built environment, transport, and logistics, said:

“I am delighted the results of our route review have been published for this vital sector. I would like to thank all those who have taken time to contribute, especially the employers who approve and design our training programmes. This report points the way forward for meeting a huge variety of skills needs at a world class level.”

Sam Screpis, EasyJet head of talent, learning and engagement, said:

“Apprenticeships offer aviation and travel businesses such as EasyJet a great opportunity to grow and develop existing colleagues as well as attracting new talent to the business. We are seeing a big demand for data and digital skills such as machine learning and AI along with inclusive leadership capability. Apprenticeships offer us an excellent chance to develop these skills and more, ensuring we upskill our people to meet future needs in a cost-effective way. It’s a win-win for all – our people, our business, our community.”

The review covered training needs for occupations involved in the transportation or movement of passengers, goods and freight using a variety of modes including road, rail, air and water (inland and coastal) at all levels from raw recruits to senior managers. This can be regionally, nationally, and globally.

It recognised that while there is a continued need for level 2 and 3 qualifications, there had been a clear shift towards demand for more higher level training that will need to be addressed.

Captain Neil Anderson, chair of IfATE’s transport and logistics route panel, which approves all apprenticeships and wider technical education for the sector, said:

“This route review has provided a fantastic opportunity to take a strategic review of our work to date and produce the foundations upon which our future work should be based. This will ensure that the occupational standards defined by employers, which underpin all apprenticeships and technical qualifications, provide the sector with the right skills for the future.”


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