About Langdon Industries
Langdon Industries is a Logistics Service Provider specialising in controlled temperature operations, up to 40,000 pallets of frozen and chilled foods pass through their network every week and they employ 1000 staff, based in eight locations throughout England and Scotland.
Skills for Logistics have identified that the UK Logistics Sector is poorly qualified – 48% of workers do not hold a Level 2 qualification and, looking closer at the occupational skills needs, 62% of all elementary occupations (warehouse operatives, postal workers, couriers) are not qualified to minimum skills level, nor are 65% of machine operatives (drivers) and further to this the sector has a major issue with an ageing workforce. Evidence shows that logistics, as a career, is not an obvious choice for young people or those seeking to change their job. The sector has a poor image and is perceived to have a lack of career progression. Therefore, increasing the potential of new entrants to the Logistics Sector is paramount.
Over the past three years Langdons have introduced an apprenticeship scheme that has culminated in 2013 with 20 youngsters completing various apprenticeships and all being offered full time positions, and a further 20 new apprenticeships beginning in September 2013. The current HR Manager Colin Snape wanted to expand on the apprenticeship model and offer something back to the local communities and when a new project was offered by UKCES for employers to bid for their own funding under the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot he made and was successful in bidding for funding for a school and employee training project.
Working with Schools and Colleges
Langdons will be partnering with schools and colleges in the areas local to the depot locations. By doing so they will offer these educational establishments the use of a trainer to identify students that have a particular interest in the logistics sector and provide in-class training and development tied in with work experience for those interested and select a number each year to be placed on the various apprenticeships offered by the company. The Robert Blake School in Bridgwater will be the pilot in the local area with a cohort of students being taught the level two certificate in Logistics from September 2013.
Developing the Skills of Current Employees
Development for current employees will be based on up-skilling from the current Level 2 qualifications that 98% have now achieved to Level 3 for operators and supervisors and Level 4 for managers, with some senior managers and directors to Level 5 and above. Most Level 2 and 3 development will be carried out in-house by developing the current training team and training various employees as mentors and coaches to work with young people. In house driver training will be developed to enable warehouse and office based employees to progress to higher paid jobs such as Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers, this will require development of the current driver training supervisors who will also be used to train HGV apprentices.
Although the project is in its infancy the business has already seen the impact of the current and past apprenticeships and staff training already completed, Langdons have continued to grow and expand as a business with profitability on the increase. Staff turnover and sick absence is well below national and industry averages. The safe and fuel efficient driving techniques being given to the 550 drivers have realised savings on fuel and wear and tear of the vehicles, as well as reducing the environmental impact with better fuel-efficiency. The training Langdons are offering into schools as either a GCSE alternative or as a one year sixth form subject is ensuring a ready supply of well-trained young people available and impacts on the local community by reducing the number of those not in education employment or training (NEETS).