Logistics sector leaders have welcomed the launch of a new training centre that will support the vital supply chain that underpins the UK economy, offering a robust ‘career ladder’ for its workforce. Speaking at the launch of the Centre for Logistics Education and Research (CLEAR) at GLP’s Magna Park development in Lutterworth, Clare Bottle, CEO of the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) said that the sector brings significant opportunities for employees to progress and benefit from engaging careers.

Also speaking at the event, James Wroath, CEO of Wincanton, the leading supply chain partner for UK business, welcomed the launch of CLEAR saying that ‘sustainable supply chain value’ was dependent on ‘great people’. He added, “Attracting, recruiting, and retaining the best people within our business is of paramount importance in this dynamic market where individuals can easily switch to a new employer. To achieve our ambition of delivering value to our customers efficiently and safely, we need to continually focus on developing and nurturing our employees by ensuring that we look after their wellbeing and invest in high-quality, consistent training.”

CLEAR is the brainchild of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) which is working in collaboration with supply chain partner Wincanton and leading investor and developer of logistics warehouses and distribution parks, GLP to provide skills training and professional development at all levels across the spectrum of logistics and supply chain roles.

Its launch was marked by an event held at Bittesby House on 30 September 2022 where speakers also included Ian Howe, Director of Logistics for Screwfix. Guests included Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire, Cllr Phillip King, the leader of Harborough District Council and Cllr David Findlay from Blaby District Council.

Currently based at Bittesby House within the Magna Park Northern extension of the Lutterworth development, CLEAR will eventually move to a bespoke, state of the art facility. Further and higher education will work together to offer seamless progression through the levels of qualification and learning and the research capacity of a large regional university will enable continual development of a relevant training offer. 

Paying tribute to supporters of the centre, Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “Today we learned from Clare Bottle at UKWA that there are around 165 different types of jobs available in warehousing, a fascinating statistic that helps to highlight the real potential of careers in the sector.

“Our ambitions for CLEAR are based on offering a holistic one-stop-shop training service both from its base at Magna Park and also remotely online, enabling a flexible skills pathway tailored to meet the needs of specific businesses and providing individuals with well-defined opportunities to progress their careers.

“Businesses can train one or many members of their team with flexible start dates and bespoke provision and students will be able to move seamlessly between training partners as their development needs progress and skills gaps are identified, improving retention, and driving down costs.

“CLEAR can get training programmes up and running very quickly as it already has systems in place to fulfil training design briefs at all levels. Commissioning training through CLEAR will bring shorter lead times between the identification of training needs and students starting their courses or programmes.”

“I would like to thank Harborough District Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire LEP for their unstinting commitment to the development of this initiative. We have benefited enormously from the advice and support of our industry partner Wincanton. I am also extremely grateful to Gwyn Stubbings, Senior Planning Director from GLP whose investment made this development possible.”

Magna Park Lutterworth, the UK and Europe’s premier logistics hub, developed by GLP over the past 35 years is currently home to over 35 blue chip businesses within 46 buildings. The Park extends to over 13 million square feet of floor space and will expand to 16 million square feet over 1,350 acres via the Northern and Southern expansion project.  It is centrally located within the so-called “logistics golden triangle’ between the M1, M6 and M69 motorways.

CLEAR will provide the platform for a future national centre of excellence with a campus that will accommodate, when fully operational, up to 1,000 students as well as providing applied research and associated facilities.

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