Editor: The recent announcement that the Generation Logistics campaign, which aims to improve recruitment and retention in the logistics workforce, has secured another year of government funding is welcome news for the sector, where there remains a critical need to expand the labour pool.

Logistics - CS

Based on independent research we recently commissioned, investors and developers active in industrial and logistics real estate cite availability of labour as the third most significant factor – close on the heels of connectivity and value – in deciding where to invest.

Encouragingly, this year’s Department for Transport funding is to focus on raising the profile of logistics in schools and colleges, which chimes with the wishes of investors and developers, who responded to our survey calling for careers advice alongside talks in schools and the promotion of training.

Our study found potential for the sector to make itself more attractive to a diverse talent pool, highlighting that the rise in last-mile logistics should support more part-time roles in daytime hours for those with family commitments. Automation was thought likely to lead to a gradual change in the nature of careers, increasing the need for engineers and technicians.

The sector needs to both demystify its operations, promote the diversity of opportunities and reach a more diverse talent pool. Youngsters need to understand this isn’t simply an industry of long-distance lorry drivers, away from their families for days at a time.

This is a truly nationwide sector, looking to be in easy reach of every home and business in the UK. The industry needs to reach a lot of schools and colleges. Even with contributions from industry, this year’s government funding of £300,000 will be stretched thin and more needs to be done to tackle the issue.

Victoria Towers, partner and co-head of industrial and logistics, Forsters