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FTDL sector to add 15,500 in next five years

The freight transport, distribution and logistics sector will need up to 15,500 extra skilled workers in the next five years, according to a new report.

The report, the Demand for Skills in the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector in Ireland 2015-2020, predicts that the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics (FTDL) sector is of strategic and operational importance for business within Ireland across all sectors of the economy.

The key aim of this report is to ensure the sector will have the quality and quantity of skills to meet the skills challenges and opportunities identified up to 2020.
There are an estimated 48,800 persons employed in core FTDL occupations in 2015. These roles are spread across a range of sectors within the economy including transportation and storage, manufacturing and retail and wholesale trade.
The forecasts in this report anticipate that, due to expansion and replacement demand for those employed in these occupations some 13,500 to 15,500 job vacancies could become available up to 2020.

Several priority recommendations are outlined in the report to ensure that Ireland has the right skills base to facilitate international trade and domestic freight transportation and drive growth within the wider economy.

There is demand within the sector for more graduate level entrants to ensure a provision of managers, planners and associated office workers with adequate skills. The use of sophisticated warehouse management systems is increasing the requirement for skilled staff. Warehouse roles in demand include warehouse managers, fork lift operators, order pickers, and warehouse operatives. In terms of recruitment, the main skills impediment anticipated is for HGV drivers with the required licence.

Welcoming the launch of the report, the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D said: “The open nature of the Irish economy with high levels of trade combined with our geographical peripheral location means that achieving excellence in freight transport, distribution and logistics is vital for our competitiveness.  I welcome the report which was a key deliverable under the Action Plan for Jobs, the report highlights the positive outlook for the future of the sector and shows that there is significant employment growth expected.  I also welcome that the report identifies the potential for warehousing and storage apprenticeship programmes.”

Chairperson of the EGFSN, Una Halligan said “Within firms, skills need to be nurtured and developed through improved provision of training and the support of lifelong learning. There is a need for the development of structured career paths especially for lower skilled workers. While at present, employers perceive few recruitment difficulties, except for HGV drivers, this is likely to change due to increasing skills demand arising over the next five years. In order to meet this demand, the poor image of the FTDL sector needs to improve.”

The full report, addressing the Demand for Skills in the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector in Ireland 2015-2020, and its recommendations are available on the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs website www.skillsireland.ie