MT editor Steve Hobson, Lauren Edwards, XPO talent development co-ordinator, Chris Dolby, XPO director of learning and development, Annee Hnatyszyn, XPO talent and development manager, and Jason Ashby, OEM/key account manager of sponsor Total Lubricants

Finding and retaining the right skills is a longstanding problem in logistics but XPO Logistics UK has made great progress in targeting 16 to 24 year-olds and providing them with the training and support they need to develop professionally and provide a measurable return for the company

With a target to fill 60% of all vacancies from within the business, XPO has used its training schemes to strengthen its talent pool. The company’s apprenticeship levy contribution is close to £3m and it also identified four core strategic objectives for reinvesting levy funds.

Existing programmes were enhanced and realigned to ensure standards were being met and the return on its contribution was being maximised; development opportunities were offered to XPO colleagues at all levels and in all  functions; spending was focused on strategic priorities; and funds were used specifically to recruit entry-level talent by targeting schools.

Its entry-level apprenticeship is aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds; candidates are chosen on character and fit, irrespective of background, qualifications or experience. Its apprenticeships are not just offered in HGV driving, but also in storage and warehousing, business administration and traffic office.

Each apprentice is matched with a mentor, as well as an ‘apprentice buddy’, to provide guidance and support. One-to-one reviews and tracker meetings are scheduled to chart progress and identify any extra support needed, and development days bring apprentices together to share experiences.

XPO also offers a Leadership and Management Level 3 apprenticeship, aimed at enhancing first line management knowledge and skills through classroom-based and distance learning activities. On completion, learners become associate members with the Chartered Management Institute.

Judges praised the clear, positive ROI impact apprenticeships had. A cost-saving task undertaken by 17 Leadership and Management apprentices delivered combined savings in excess of £500,000; delegates effectively generated a return of over five times the investment made in each of them.

XPO Logistics now has over 30 programmes from GCSE to Masters level, with more than 600 apprentices in its UK business. The judges said its entry showed an admirable focus on attracting young people and very high retention and pass rates.

"We’re honoured to receive the award. It’s recognition of five years hard work in order to focus and develop our apprenticeship programme. It’s also great recognition for the UK board and the UK business for the way they’ve backed the apprenticeship programme and focused us on utilising as much of the apprenticeship levy as we can. We’re a business that actively promotes internal progression and development and this award is recognition for all of that." 

Chris Dolby