Apprenticeship system is failing the logistics industry, says Logistics UK

According to a new report from business group, Logistics UK, the UK’s apprenticeship system needs a radical overhaul if organisations which make regular levy payments into the scheme are to be able to train new recruits using these funds.

Michelle Gardner Logistics UK

Logistics UK’s Skills Review reveals that while there is great interest across industry in taking on apprentices, over the past five years, only 4% of levy paying employer accounts were able to fully utilise the funds available to them. 

Michelle Gardner, deputy director of policy at Logistics UK, explains: “Our report found that the total estimated amount of funding which could be recovered by businesses in transport and logistics since the levy was introduced, was £250 million. However, during the same period, the sector paid in £825 million in levy funds. This is unacceptable – especially given the current economic climate – and highlights the urgent need to overhaul the Apprenticeship Levy, especially if industry’s long-term skills shortage is to be resolved. 

A flawed system

“With 68% of respondents interested in taking on apprentices, it’s clear that demand across industry to support growing talent is there, but the current system is fundamentally flawed. Traditionally, there have been many barriers to entry for candidates and businesses, such as minimum skills requirements and minimum duration of the apprenticeship (many of which do not apply to logistics roles), as well as restrictive business size specifications, which prevent further uptake of the training scheme. 

“Since 2021, Logistics UK has been highlighting to government the need to replace the current system with a more flexible Training Levy which would enable realistic training and development programmes for new recruits. The industry itself is working hard to fill skills gaps and introduce the next generation of workers to the sector, via initiatives such as Generation Logistics. However, it’s now vital that Government responds accordingly to remove the barriers and ensure a continued skilled workforce is available to keep the UK economy supplied with everything it needs.” 

To view a copy of the report, visit: www.logistics.org.uk/research-hub/reports/logistics-skills-review