Junior to senior gap needs to be bridged

There is a “huge disparity” in skills between junior entrants to the freight and logistics industry and their more experienced senior counterparts, which contributes significantly to the dearth of skills in the sector. Unfortunately, career paths and talent pipelines were not given the proper attention – and while executives wanted skilled people, they were also not willing to invest in a long-term plan, said CEO of Metro Minds, Juliette Fourie. Education was not part of a “quick fix”, she added.

“As a private sector, we have inherited the poor education system of our country and we need to be realistic about how we will generate talent for the future. It is vital to include talent management as part of an overall business strategy,” she said, adding that training and education stakeholders in the industry were still pursuing the need to formalise and professionalise specialised skills in the freight sector. Fourie pointed to “extensive research” which showed that critical skills, problem-solving, decision-making and leadership were all the qualities needed to elevate a staff member from operational to strategic level.

“However, due to the fact that many skills are not recognised as “professional”, companies have depended on learnership programmes to develop talent. “What many don’t recognise is that a learnership can also only be successful if it is linked to mentoring, coaching and successful workplace guidance. Learnerships are still a fantastic way to start a pathway of talent, but these programmes need to continue for a three-to five-year cycle in order to properly bridge the junior to senior gap,” explained Fourie.

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