The Irish government must provide urgent funding and support for the country’s logistics operators, to reverse the current skills shortage across the businesses responsible for keeping Ireland trading, and protect the nation’s supply chain ahead of the impact of Brexit, according to FTA Ireland (FTAI), the business organisation representing all aspects of the sector.
Otherwise, as Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI comments, the impact could be significant for both domestic and international business: “Ireland’s workforce is currently at almost full employment, yet there are still vacancies in the logistics sector which need to be filled,” he says. “The industry needs urgent help from government to attract young people into logistics, by promoting a driver apprenticeship and structured training programmes which will raise awareness and educate the workforce of tomorrow of the opportunities which are available to them.
“A new independent research study conducted by FTAI in partnership with the TU Dublin School of Management has identified key issues to be considered by the industry when looking to recruit new personnel. The perceived hours of work, levels of pay and career opportunities are areas which confuse potential recruits and could prevent applications to the roles which need to be filled if our businesses, factories and retail outlets are to continue to be supplied with the products and services that they need.
“It is vital that employers across the industry take a long hard look at the roles on offer to new entrants. Professional driving, in particular, is a fulfilling and motivating career, but many young people overlook the jobs available, based on pre-conceptions about the pay and conditions on offer. This is something we should all be working to change as a matter of urgency, if Irish business is to be prepared for a post-Brexit world.”
Funding for training and development of individuals is still sporadic, and this must be prioritised by government, as Flynn continues, to ensure that a pipeline of future employees can be developed and maintained:
“Many of the issues identified by the new research as barriers to joining the logistics industry, including working conditions and the lack of sufficient training and education, could be resolved easily if government would back appropriate development and apprenticeship programmes for logistics. Brexit is, of course, challenging how the supply chain will work in the future and unless government works more closely with business, there is a risk that business viability will come into question and goods and services will go undelivered.
“Ireland has always been a trading nation, and has a real opportunity to capitalise on the changing business conditions which Brexit will present,” Flynn concludes. “However, without a suitable, trained workforce, it will be impossible to move the goods and services which support the Irish economy – this is an opportunity which government simply cannot afford to miss.”