Serious training gap in warehousing due to lack of providers and communication, industry organisation states
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There is a serious gap in the government’s proposed National Skills Fund, whose aim should be to help adults to train and gain the skills they need to improve their job prospects, states the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA). According to the organisation, there are almost no training providers offering the Highfield L3 Diploma in Warehousing & Storage (RFQ) course.
In response to a public consultation on the National Skills Fund this month, UKWA stated that although there is a clear need for training in the warehousing sector, there are almost no training providers offering the Highfield L3 Diploma in Warehousing & Storage (RFQ) course. This means that although the course is on the Government’s list of eligible qualifications, in practice, it is not really available.
UKWA went on to point out a series of other barriers for adults wishing to access training for employment in the sector, including employers and potential learners being unaware of what is available, training providers and awarding organisations being unclear about exactly what is allowed, and course content being misaligned with employers’ needs.
The submission, made on behalf of the warehousing industry by UKWA, was based on input and advice from UKWA’s Training Advisory Board, which comprises Association members as well as specialists from training and recruitment consultants and educational institutions.
“In warehousing, the culture around training is sometimes negatively influenced by the view that skills and knowledge are best acquired through experience: this is normalised by the absence of any school qualifications such as GCSE, A level or BTec in the supply chain, logistics or warehousing” – said CEO Clare Bottle, speaking on behalf of UKWA. – „This must be addressed with better communication about careers, coupled with accurate information about all the financial options for relevant training.”
Bottle also added that training budgets are usually dedicated to mandatory training: chiefly Road Transport and Industry Training Board (RTITB) accreditation for fork-lift truck driving, but also workplace requirements such as manual handling and first aid qualifications.
Employers are faced with a range of options for training they must fund themselves, as well as a confusing array of public funding for other training. In the warehousing sector, this is a problem because there are typically slim profit margins, very flat management structures across shift-based teams and a focus on immediate operational concerns” – she added. – „Employers simply do not have the resources to read all the government guidance, assess the needs of their workforce, evaluate all the different options for training provision and fill in the appropriate forms.”
In its submission, UKWA advised that the rise of e-commerce and the introduction of more automation & robotics in warehousing have both created skills gaps, underlining further the need for Government funded and supported training.