Transport and Logistics (T&L) is the art of ensuring freight (and people) are delivered on time and in full. Our sector supports the Australian way of life, writes the ALC’s Melinda Buker.
When our supply chains are working well they are almost invisible. Goods arrive in stores ensuring we all have milk for our morning tea and coffee, exports arrive at the ports on their way to China or the rest of the world, and merchandise such as the latest LCD or designer dresses are on the shelves of our local shopping centres all because of efficient and effective supply chains.
T&L is truly global in nature and almost infinitely diverse.
It is an industry that can take you anywhere, both in Australia and around the world, doing jobs as varied as coordinating a complex supply chain, corporate lawyers or top management positions.
This is in addition to the vital positions moving the goods including truck and train drivers and crane operators, to name just a few.
Working in T&L is now a profession with true career paths and plans. While the stereotype of blue singlets no longer applies, unfortunately it is still the image facing the T&L industry when recruiting new talent.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has, since its inception in 2002, had ‘People’ as a core objective, focusing on career retention and attraction, T&L industry branding as well as education and skills.
This year the ALC has a broad spectrum of People projects underway including recently supporting Queensland Transport in the launch of Transport & Logistics — Career FAQs, a book demonstrating the wide-ranging career options available to potential employees in our sector.
One of the interviewed professionals, Brett Hage, Queensland International Cargo Handling manager, Australian Air Express sums up the potential of T&L when he says that people don’t appreciate the dynamics of the industry and just how huge it is. “It’s hard work, but the opportunities are endless,” he points out.
Latest estimates are that T&L represents 14.5 per cent of Australia’s GDP, or $150 billion every year.
“T&L touches on every person and every industry every day,” says ALC chief executive Hal Morris.
“In fact, our industry is so varied and diverse we actually don’t know how many people work in T&L.”
“Estimates range from 500,000 to more than a million with the real number likely to be on the high side.”
For this reason the ALC will be embarking on a major piece of work this year with the aim of establishing the actual size and composition of the Transport and Logistics Workforce in Australia, demography.
“This work will identify who we are, what we do and where we do it. This report will be released by the end of this year,” Morris says.
“It is estimated women make up 20-25 per cent of our workforce, but this is growing quickly. We are working to encourage more women to enter T&L and stay in our industry.”
Most recently the ALC launched Moving Women Forward a pilot mentoring program to encourage women in this industry.
A large diversity of women from many different aspects of our sector are involved in this exciting project.
So how can people get involved in T&L?
Entrances into the industry are many and varied.
As Juliette Strickland, general manager of Walkers Moving and Storage says in Transport & Logistics — Career FAQs, “I believe people entering the industry today still don’t have to have university qualifications. But further on, to be a better manager, university or other future education will enhance your contribution to the business and will ensure your future career development.”
The Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (www.tlisc.com.au) is responsible for developing training packages and qualifications, while also providing vocational education and training advice for people looking to enter the industry, and those looking to advance their skills.
Similarly the Transport and Logistics Centre, TALC, (www.talc.com.au) has an extensive variety of professional development programs, including Certified Transport Planner and Certified Professional Logistician, operated in conjunction with respected industry associations.
TAFEs around Australia offer a range of courses related to transport, including certificates and diplomas. Also in many areas of our industry an apprenticeship will lead directly into a career.
This is particularly true for maintenance, engineering and truck driver roles and many more.
In addition there are specific web portals such as the Jobs in T&L link on the ALC website www.austlogistics.com.au which has a comprehensive interactive jobs board, with the sole focus of jobs in this industry.
The ALC is currently undertaking a comprehensive collation of career attraction activities and initiatives in every state.
By the end of May there will be an online reporting tool at www.austlogistics.com.au to allow the public and members of our industry to see what is happening in their area and where to go for more information.
Our workforce has the opportunity to use this profession to take themselves anywhere they want to go, in challenging and highly rewarding roles.
Now is an exciting time to be involved in the Transport and Logistics industry.
Melinda Buker is program director for the ALC.