The transport industry needs to rejuvenate the way it works with schools and colleges to attract new talent to the sector, according to experts in the area.

Speaking for Think Logistics at the Microlise Transport Conference, Beverley Bell encouraged delegates to play their part in education outreach, but to think about the image they present of the industry.

"Role models are important," she said. "My challenge to all of you is to go out and find someone young and enthusiastic and get them into schools and colleges.

"When Steve Granite [Think Logistics founder and MD of Abbey Logistics] drives up to schools, they might think 'oh trucks' but then they see his Maserati, and they think 'oh maybe this is something I'd like to do'.

Ian Nicholl, head of logistics at charity Career Ready, agreed with Bell and said the industry has to work on shifting the image of it being "male, pale and stale".

Speaking at the conference in Coventry, Nicholl highlighted new incoming legislation which will mean all schools habe to appoint a careers lead for students to engage with on their futures.

"The landscape is changing to our advantage", he said, "so let's make the most of it".

Nicholl highlighted troubling statistics for the sector, including the fact it will need 1.2 million new employees as soon as 2022, and that just 9% of the current workforce is under 25 years old.

He also pointed out the industry's lack of diversity, with 91% of its people being white and 87% male.

Nichol concluded his speech with a story about an apprentice called Emily, who spent a summer working at PD Ports. Emily enjoyed her time at the business so much, Nichol said, that she decided not to take a place at Cambridge University but instead went to Teeside University to study engineering, sponsored by the operator.

"What could be more rewarding than trying to transform a young person's life choices?", he asked.