More than 70 students from county schools were urged to ‘ignite the spark’ during an event at Northampton College aimed at introducing young people to the world of logistics – proving that it’s so much more than forklift driving and warehouses.

‘Exploring Global Logistics’ saw pupils from Abbeyfield School, Sir Christopher Hatton Academy and Thomas Becket Catholic School take part in five interactive workshops delivered by global logistics companies including DHL, Wincanton, URBN and Skills for Logistics.

Each workshop provided an opportunity for the students to experience the logistics industry and the skills involved, in an exciting, real-life context – inspiring them to consider careers in the fast-growing sector.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: “The logistics sector is modernising and employing new technologies to meet rising supply and demand challenges. This is increasing demand for skilled employees in electrical and mechanical engineering, IT and analytics.

“Every retail organisation has a supply chain, so this is an area where there are multiple opportunities for employment.

“To ensure the continued growth of this sector, and help Northamptonshire play its part in helping to rebuild our economy, we need to invest in the employees of the future – a new generation of tech-savvy pioneers who can use digital skills to further modernise the logistics industry and evolve the global supply chain.

“This event goes a long way to igniting the spark in the employees and employers of the future, opening their minds to an exciting and rewarding career in logistics.”

The first session was delivered by DHL Express and saw students team up to compete in a ‘global challenge’ where they needed to plan the transport of products around the world, improving their overall understanding of logistics as an industry and develop core skills such as logical thinking, teamwork and communication.

Skills for Logistics, the leading end-point assessment organisation for logistics and supply chain sectors, delivered a session breaking down the component parts of a pair of jeans such as material, dye, zips and buttons and showing where they are all made. The session explored the future requirements for sustainability within the logistics sector, and how this affects supply chains in the UK and abroad.

Rachel May, project manager at Skills for Logistics, said: “Logistics is a career option that college students need to consider seriously and we need to engage the education sector and employers to come together and develop a curriculum that matches the needs of the local workforce and creates a ready-made talent pipeline.

“Northampton is at the centre of the logistics triangle in the UK. Geographically it’s the best-placed college to take advantage of the opportunities logistics provides and it knows it has an important role to play.”

Staff from Wincanton tasked pupils to solve day-to-day problems using sustainable and creative methods as they learned about supply chains for ice cream, bread, toys, t-shirts and trainers.

Lauren-Ashleigh Hall, outbound logistics manager at URBN, a collection of global consumer brands including Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, shared her industry knowledge and highlighted the importance of talent diversity in the industry.

She said: “The logistics sector is a broad and exciting place to work and there are so many great opportunities for young people looking to advance their careers. Whether you enjoy researching the latest style trends, focusing on data, or working in a team, there is a role for everyone.”

The event also saw a range of employers visit Booth Lane for a breakfast meeting as part of the Logistics Employer Forum, where businesses discussed ways of working together with the college to strengthen its logistics provision and create a talent pipeline for the industry.