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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2011
54 Session 7 pEOpLE AND SUSTAINABILITy IN THE FREIGHT AND TRANSpORT AND LOGISTICS INDUSTRy Geoff Gwilym CEO, Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council The question Gwilym posed to attendees was, ‘Where is the future workforce?’ He pointed to an ageing workforce and a shortage of drivers and other skills categories right across the board. He also put forward the proposition that there is no such thing as unskilled labour anymore, and that the road freight task in 2030 will be 1.8 times that of 2008. The majority of employment in T&L will be in road freight and warehousing – the issues for ports and rail are different. While the Australian economy appears to be doing satisfactorily, unemployment ranges from five per cent to 15 per cent in some areas across the country. Manufacturing in Australia is reducing rather than growing. The ageing of the population will change things – the birth rate is still insufficient to meet projected workforce participation demands. Organisations that profile what they can do at a community level do the best in terms of attracting workers. So corporate reputation is important, as people want to know that a company will meet their needs. New statistics indicate that 30 per cent of Australians will work until their 70s, and 15 per cent will work until they drop. Currently, forward skills development is not undertaken properly, with people generally only willing to train for what they want now. A long-term plan is needed to develop the right labour profiles. Gwilym gave an example of 2,000 applications being received for a train driver position, yet not one applicant was suitable. Dr Hermione Parsons Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Logistics and Supply Chain Management (ILSCM) at Victoria University Dr Parsons addressed the issues of people and sustainability in the Australian T&L industry, and the role of the Institute for Logistics and Supply Chain Management. She asserted that in her opinion, the Australian education system does not currently support the sustainability of the Australian T&L and supply chain industry. At best, the education system is ad hoc in terms of service delivery and limited in structure and content. The education system does not supply the people needed for the industry now, let alone for the future. The public sector has no idea of the realities. National productivity needs to increase, innovations must continue. Parsons posed the question: ‘What will supply chains be like in 2030?’ suggesting that they need to be sustainable, agile, efficient, dynamic, global, complex and resilient. More needs to be done to cope with the lack of qualifications and training than just learning on the job. The ILSCM seeks to address the education needs of current and future T&L and supply chain professionals. It offers a diversity of programs that allow industry personnel to access the education they need on an in- and-out basis at all levels from Certificate 1 to PhD. Dr Parsons also suggested that more women could be employed in the industry. In conclusion, she proclaimed that the real goal of the ILSCM was ‘to make a difference to the world through supply chain’.