A training academy for the logistics sector has equipped 700 unemployed people with new skills in just over two years.
Initial research estimates that more than half of those who have passed through the City of Liverpool College Logistics Academy have now entered employment in the fast-growing sector. The College's Logistics Academy, which has received significant support from passenger transport authority Merseytravel, is one of the largest institutions of its kind in the country, providing training and skills to people wishing to work in port, warehousing and transport businesses.
Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said the milestone represented a stand-out success story for the city region. Logistics is regarded as one of the city region's key growth areas, with the opening of the Liverpool 2 port terminal this year expected to pave the way for a significant increase in international freight passing through the city.
The sector employs around 193,400 people across the North West, more than 6% of the region's workforce. The Logistics Academy, based at the College's Vauxhall Road campus in Liverpool, trains people in heavy goods vehicle driving, passenger transport, warehousing, forklift truck operating and logistics administration.
In the last two years, the Academy has provided 700 people who were recruited from Job Centres with professional qualifications. Trainees have gone on to work for organisations such as IKEA, Yodel and local coach and bus companies. The Academy, which works in partnership with training provider the North West Training and Education Centre, also delivers apprenticeships in logistics and says it is now hoping to accelerate its intake to meet the demand for skills in the sector.
Mr Hough said: "The City Region's Superport strategy, which joins up our logistics and infrastructure ambitions, is estimated to have the ability to create over 20,000 jobs. But there is a real challenge in ensuring we have the skills to meet this opportunity and the College is clearly playing a key role in addressing this. To take people who may never have thought about a career in logistics and furnish them with skills to pursue a career in this sector is a fantastic achievement."
Elaine Bowker, Principal at The City of Liverpool College, added: "The physical investment and regeneration delivered through Superport is clearly a key vital economic driver but our opportunity is far greater than physical assets and infrastructure alone. Superport provides the impetus for a real step change in the skills agenda and we're delighted that the Logistics Academy has enjoyed such success since its launch. It's not just about strategic economic impact, however, but also about helping normal people lift themselves out of joblessness and seek new career opportunities which benefit themselves and their families."