Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce launches Year of Diversity for Logistics and Transport.

2019 is the DfT Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Workforce (STAT) Year of Diversity for Logistics and Transport. STAT is a voluntary, cross-sector industry body that has been given the responsibility for promoting awareness and access to apprenticeships, sector diversity and transport as a career.

Launching the Year of Diversity at Portcullis House on 30 May, senior representatives from across the transport and logistics industry were asked to sign a pledge and help build a tool-kit for the future of inclusion in the sector.

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Opening the event, Tracey Worth, CEO of the Institute of Couriers, who chairs diversity for the DfT STAT group, said “We must tackle the lack of diversity in our sector. Our task is to raise awareness, encourage a new demographic and build an alliance.” She asked for data for an inclusion survey and appealed to the audience to “Pledge today to do one thing to make a difference and champion diversity in your business.”

She warned that we need to be thinking about attracting the next generation. She said “It is a fact that millennials will look at your diversity & inclusion policy before applying for a job with your company. That accounts for 37 per cent of your next employees.”

Tracey's impact for change was to bring guidance and inspiration from key speakers from the Transport and Logistics industry.

Here's a summary of some of the key points:

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“Take action now. Don’t leave it, you will be left behind.” - Mark Lomas, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, HS2

Research shows a diverse workforce makes a company more profitable and that inclusive work sites are safer. We face a situation where the workforce is ageing and we are running out of talent fast. Diversity is about sustaining the cycle. An HS2 survey revealed that the number one reason for women not returning to the sector is being unable to find a flexible role they can travel to. This is an issue that HS2 is working on. As well as focusing on D & I for the thousands of people it employs, it is also important for HS2 in the businesses it works with.

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“Diversity starts with equality. Live equality, breathe it, mean it.” - Kate Lester founder of Diamond Logistics.

When Diamond Logistics started out 27 years ago, the logistics world was an old boys’ club. Today only 24 per cent of the sector is female, but Diamond has parity of numbers in gender count and a majority female board. Kate said, “At Diamond, diversity starts with equality. Age is no barrier in our business, parenthood does not inhibit ability to work with us, it's about contribution. Its about future proofing our business, recruiting the best. Logistics is not a sector people dream of joining but, if your business is fun and inspiring, you can massively expand the team and build growth. Equality is not philanthropy it's good business.”

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“We need to work externally to attract the next generation of talent to join us.” - Claire Piotrowski, Head of Future Talent at Kuehne & Nagel.

Kuehne & Nagel (K&N) has over 80,000 global employees but certainly doesn't have all the answers, faced with a reducing workforce, lowest unemployment since 1972, lower immigration and birth rates. K&N have internships, apprenticeships and partnerships, working with DWP and Novus. Claire talked about a board game they had created, ‘Business on the Move’ which has been very successful in bringing the sector to life for young people. Rasa Savickaite, a supply chain student undergrad on the Novus scheme, said she had greatly benefited from the opportunity, the strong support and mentoring.

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“Diversity is about what you have, inclusion is about what you do.” - Alistair Cochrane Chief development Director at Whistl UK

Whistl employs 1751 staff, 38 nationalities, 37 per cent of which are female. Data is still the biggest challenge to determine other demographics. Alistair believes in establishing a belonging, a top-down approach - “Quotas don’t automate inclusion, minimise fear or maximise joy. Fostering breadth in diversity is about encompassing the company’s true potential.” Alistair summed up with an excellent analogy, “Equality is being invited to a party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

The event was a hot house of diverse workforce leaders in logistics, rich in operators, apprentices and members of the next generation. The exchange of best practice and ideas continued at an afternoon tea reception sponsored by O’Donovan Waste Disposal.

Women in Transport is supporting the Year of Diversity in Transport and Logistics and will continue to provide updates as the year progresses.

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