Mapping out new apprenticeship pathway.

Mapping out new apprenticeship pathway.

Picture: Emily Luff followed the apprenticeship route to a driving career at CEMEX

A national provider of transport and logistics apprenticeship training is calling for the supply chain sector to map out a dedicated career path for young people coming into the industry.

David Cormack, strategic partnerships director at System Group, was speaking ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (5 – 9 March) after the recent supply chain advisory group meeting at the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).

He wants to showcase the best pathways for those coming into the sector and how the supply chain sector can fit into the career map for apprentices.

Echoing views that the industry struggles to ‘articulate’ the complexity of working in the logistics sector, David Cormack is calling for more identifiable career paths to recruit and secure future talent.

He says that National Apprenticeship Week is a timely opportunity to showcase the success of apprenticeships in the logistics sector and how they can culminate in a ‘fantastic’ career.

“Employers are calling for milestones to identify career paths,” added David Cormack, “and the logistics sector needs to respond with clarity, positivity and ambition.

“A career map for the supply chain sector would be welcome, laying out the opportunities on offer and securing future industry skills.

The move would be an ‘exciting’ first step in shaping the path for future generations coming into the logistics sector looking for rewarding careers, and added:

“Companies like System Group are delighted to be working in partnerships with employers and other sector organisations, driving apprenticeship programmes to realise this ambition.”

The first draft of a sector map is being produced by the supply chain advisory group, and according to David Cormack, sustaining momentum will be critical to securing its success.

He points to Express Delivery Trailblazer apprenticeships, which training providers such as System Group are looking at delivering, as a good blue print.

“These apprenticeships will support the needs of industry and commerce, equipping a new generation of people with the skills, professionalism and confidence to meet the needs of employers,” he said.

“They will provide the skills and behaviour that will guide future generations into the industry and support them through the challenges and adventures that a career in logistics offers.”

David Cormack also welcomes the new degree-level apprenticeship standard coming to the supply chain sector from mid-2018. This follows approval of Uniserve Group’s supply chain leadership framework by the Institute for Apprenticeships.

“Anything that contributes to bringing fresh talent into the sector and improving skills has to be seen as a good move, so the world’s first apprenticeship route to supply chain leadership roles, has to be welcomed,” he adds.

Case study



Going to university can hold its attractions but a well-chosen apprenticeship offers a positive, rewarding and financially beneficial alternative path to career success, particularly when securing a degree – even one with first class honours – is no guarantee of success in a tough job market.

An apprenticeship lays the foundations for a start in the world of enterprise and business, providing a solid academic, technical and commercial grounding that will last the duration of a person’s working life.

One person to opt for this route is 19-year-old Emily Luff, the first female apprentice in aggregates logistics and a driver at CEMEX UK’s area logistics depot at Swinderby quarry, Lincoln.

Her apprenticeship, delivered through System Group, has enabled her to gain practical and relevant skills, valuable hands-on experience and training that allows her to drive and deliver 44 tonne bulk cement tankers as part of a 90-strong driver workforce at the cement plant.

She said: “The apprenticeship route has allowed me to learn a trade that provides a really good opportunity to build a long-term career.

“The apprenticeship scheme offered by CEMEX through System Group, which has been running for the last four years, is great, enabling me to also gain new skills while earning a proper wage.”

Now, as she looks to the future at one of the UK’s leading suppliers of building materials, she wants to encourage more young people to see a driving apprenticeship as a route to a skilled trade while also getting paid.

She is one of several to benefit from the training provided by System Group, which delivers apprenticeships to equip drivers with the skills to work for local and national transport and logistics operators such as CEMEX.

Barrie Flitton, logistics operations manager at CEMEX, which supplies aggregates, cement, ready-mixed concrete, concrete blocks and rail sleepers to the construction sector, said through apprenticeships, his company and System Group is playing a role in closing the skills gap.

“Emily’s success further endorses our focus on nurturing young talent and equipping them with the skills and confidence to meet the UK’s pressing need for trained drivers.Emily and our other apprentices are invaluable as we continue to grow and maintain our reputation for quality products and customer service.

“It’s great working with System Group, whose apprenticeship programme is designed to help us acquire skilled people who can make us even more efficient, productive and competitive.”