Since the launch of the Logistics Associate Apprenticeship (LAA) in TU Dublin in September 2018 the number of apprentices participating on the programme has significantly increased.
This is not a surprise, explains Anna Gorecka the Project Manager of the LAA.
The programme has become the perfect entry point into the Freight, Logistics, Shipping and Distribution industry not only for school graduates but also for those who wish to change their careers and get into the sector. It also offers upskilling opportunities for the existing employees, many of whom ended up working in the sector entirely by coincidence’ says Anna. They have years of experience, but the lack of relevant qualifications prevented them from progressing their careers in the past.
Initially 27 apprentices commenced their journey on the programme since its official launch in 2018 with 17 employers signed up for the programme.
Since then, an additional 63 apprentices have been recruited, and over 40 employers have joined. In 2019 Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) became the second education provider for this apprenticeship.
The national coverage of the programme is meeting the criteria as defined by Generation Apprenticeship Ireland and the speed that this has happened is testimony to the consortium and the coordinating providers who have long been setting ambitious targets to make this a successful programme. It has also grabbed the attention of the industry, and through our outreach programme is attracting young people into the industry which is a major benefit for the industry as a whole.
This apprenticeship model provides the academic education and practical training across the air, sea and road freight, logistics, shipping and distribution sectors.
Apprentices attend college one day per week throughout the academic year and stay with an employer for the remaining four days. Apprentices get a broad overview of all the relevant aspects of logistics. As part of the programme they will complete a work-based project in year 2, which will help them to develop their analytical, problem solving skills. The work-based project will also directly benefit employing organisations.
Each apprentice is assigned a work-based mentor by their employer who will be an experienced member of staff, and a College Academic Supervisor. The work-based mentor will use their specific organisational and industry knowledge to guide the apprentice helping them to navigate corporate culture and gain an understanding of their role and duties in the organisation.
The blended learning approach makes complete sense, apprentices gaining valuable work experience while at the same time learning the theory behind the practice. On successful completion of this 2-year programme a person is awarded with the Level 6 Higher Certificate in Logistics. From that point there are many routes of progression either into Level 7, or even Level 8 programmes – a person can apply for entry onto year 3 of a 4-year degree programme e.g. Bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management to continue the study.
Little public knowledge of how the industry operates or of associated rewarding careers is one of the main reasons why people do not consider it as a career choice. The LAA programme has started changing that perception, a lot of time and effort has been put into promoting the sector to the younger generation by increased engagement with Career Guidance Professionals at secondary schools and attending various career, apprenticeship and job fairs events across the country.
It is vital to promote the sector to the younger generation and attract new entrants, the industry has a lot to offer in terms of career opportunities, well paid jobs in a high level of job security sector ‘goods will always have to be moved and there are numerous office based roles associated with managing this process throughout’, explains Anna.
Key benefits of the apprenticeship for employers:
- Upskilling opportunities for existing employees
- Build loyalty amongst staff
- Offers career progression opportunities
- Help with succession planning
- The programme is built around work related experience and work specific projects
- Attracts new entrants into the sector
Benefits for Apprentices:
- Level 6 Award ‘Higher Certificate in Logistics’
- Earning while learning
- Gaining valuable on the job experience
- Accessing the Third level Education
- Clear ladder of progression
The programme has already been recognised and won the 2019 ‘Innovation Award at Fleet Transport Awards and ‘Logistics & Transport Team of the Year Award’ at the Irish Logistics & Transport Awards 2019. This helps in raising awareness and gaining recognition for the industry.
For more information please visit www.laa.ie or contact Anna Gorecka on 01 8447516 or email .