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Transport & logistics Career Pathways For School Leavers

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Overview

Transport and logistics are responsible for getting anything and everything from point A to point B through any route necessary whether it be road, rail, air, sea, or maybe (eventually) teleportation.

The scale of this industry is immense and it can be quite a lot to wrap your head around, so we’ll break it down for you.

Logistics and transport often work very closely together to make sure that goods and services are delivered on time and are in the place where they are needed. Supermarkets, for example, rely heavily on impeccable transport and logistics systems.

Technically, the logistics industry deals more with the organising and transporting of goods and services, whereas transport refers to the movement of people and the systems by which they travel - so jobs like roadworkers, rail route planners and air traffic controllers will fall under the transport industry.

The logistics and transport industry relies on a range of different skillsets to stay on track and meet the demands of modern day life. This means that there roles in marketing, strategy, planning, finance and engineering. There are also a lot of shift-work positions in this industry because it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

The work can be highly rewarding in transport and logistics; you could potentially be working on projects that shape the future of travel such as the HS2 or the new terminal at Heathrow Airport. The country has dedicated over 50 billion pounds to improving the transport systems in our country and a huge number of people are going to be required to help these visions come to life.

Skills

To work in logistics and transport you’ll need to be super organised and an efficient planner because so many other sectors rely on this one! It’ll also be beneficial if you’re able to understand the bigger picture and able to see how decisions may impact a workflow.

Other essential skills include:

- Commercial Awareness
- Communication
- Customer Service
- Leadership
- Negotiation
- Numeracy
- Organisation
- Problem Solving
- Teamwork

Progression opportunities

You should be in a position to apply for assistant level roles in transport and logistics after you complete your apprenticeship, if this is the route you decide to go down. Once you’ve completed this and got some experience behind you, this industry has a lot of opportunities for people to move up the ladder as long as you display a positive attitude, a willingness to learn and you are comfortable taking on more responsibility.

Career development

If you’ve completed an apprenticeship in this area, you could consider going on to university afterwards in order to increase your professional standing. This is likely to be helpful if you want to move into technical or management roles in the future. Careers including airline pilot and those within the merchant navy will also require extensive training.

For the majority of jobs in this industry, however, you won’t need further training - and what extra training you do need is likely to be offered on the job.

Types of jobs in Transport & logistics

Earning potential

As an apprentice, you’ll earn a minimum of £3.70 per hour if you’re under 19 or in the first year of your apprenticeship, or the National Minimum Wage if you’re over 19. This works out at around £150 - £240 per week.

Salaries in the sector vary largely depending on your specific job. According to Payscale.com, averages wages in logistics are as follows:

Logistics coordinator:£21,468
Logistics manager: £31,623
Logistics specialist : £30,060
Transportation coordinator: £23,369
Transportation planner: £25,590
Operations manager: £34,441
Warehouse manager: £27,249
General/operations manager: £46,979
Office administrator: £17,228
Import/ export clerk: £17,702
Office manager: £29,067
Business development manager: £38,000

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Qualification requirements & subjects to study

To get a job in the transport and logistics sector as a school leaver, it’s a good idea to undertake a vocational qualification. A diploma, certificate or short course can give you the practical skills you need to get a job.

Professional organisations, industry bodies and colleges can provide these qualifications, or help to advise you towards the best ones.

Alternatively, you could look at apprenticeships in transport or logistics. Apprenticeships will see you studying and working for a company at the same time. You will work alongside experienced staff and will have one day off per week to study, usually at a local technical college or equivalent. This can be a great route for those who know what they want to do early, and don’t want to burden themselves with the time and debt of university.

Further Reading

United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA)
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
British International Freight Association
Freight Transport Association
The Transport Association
Logistics and Supply Chain
Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation
Institute of Transport Administration