I’ve discussed the use of apprenticeships within our sector in several of my recent columns and expressed my concerns about the struggle to attract talent because of the poor perception and understanding of the sector, particularly among the under 25s.

I have also questioned whether apprenticeships might be part of the solution to this increasingly concerning problem.

My research has found some exceedingly positive news.

First, David Harper, who runs the workplace training provider Talent Training (UK), tells me that he has seen an increasing number of apprentices within our sector progress from one level of apprenticeship to a higher level of apprenticeship on the completion of their first qualification. This second qualification is often in a different subject area.

This immediately tells me that the employees themselves are identifying benefits from the training and shows that the employers are encouraging personal development.

Harper has shared with me examples of staff working in warehouses, with organisations such as Stobart, moving onto level 3 courses in management and business after completing level 2 courses in warehouse and storage.

Second, I have seen examples of employers developing new qualifications to support their growth and the development of their staff.

I was therefore delighted to learn of Yodel’s ‘Customer Experience Academy’ initiative, a programme designed to provide their drivers and customer-facing employees with the first recognised customer experience qualification.

The qualification, a level 2 Diploma in Customer Excellence in Logistics, was funded by Yodel and the Skills Funding Agency and has been officially recognised and accredited by [awarding association] NCFE. It is now available for all to use.

This is all great news and would suggest that “our glass is at least half full”: but is this correct? Are we missing the fundamental problems?

Some 44% of our colleagues within our sector are over 45 years of age and only 9% are under 25. It is obviously to be applauded that many of these individuals, with the support of their employers, are taking up these personal development opportunities, but..

...only 14% of sector employers have recruited a young person in the past year. “Logistics” is misunderstood by 66% of 14- to 19-year-olds and, due to inadequate information, advice and guidance within schools, is often only associated with driving.

And, as my glass begins to empty at a pace, let us not forget that women account for only 22% of the logistics workforce in England, compared to an average of 46% in other sectors.

So, apprenticeships are clearly being used effectively within our sector, but our glass will remain only half full until such time as we find a way to attract youngsters, of all genders, to our sector.

Do you have any ideas?

Author David Coombes has been in the transportation and logistics industry for over 28 years. He is the managing director of Logistics Job Shop.

Logistics Job Shop ID 2013