More learning required as we learn to live with COVID-19 – FTAI

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The Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) regard education as key to developing efficient transport in the future, attracting young people into transport as a career path is important. 

On Thursday last, 15 October, the Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris and Minister of State at the same Department Niall Collins visited TU Dublin to announce a range of Budget 2021 measures including a €50 million fund to provide financial assistance for full-time students, new reskilling and a  retraining package together with an extension of the Apprenticeship scheme.

It was a great opportunity for the Logistics Associate Consortium and apprentices as well as Megan Yeats, the Gold Medal Winner for Freight Forwarding at World Skills in Russia in 2019, to showcase the Logistics Apprenticeship and the importance of supporting training and education opportunities for the freight distribution and logistics sector.

“COVID-19 has no doubt been such a traumatic time for all of us but our industry has demonstrated resilience and commitment to ensuring the ongoing safety of our colleagues resulting in continued unbroken services allowing our shops to be stocked, other essential services such as those in the medical sector to continue to function in a safe way,” said Aidan Flynn, General Manager, FTAI.

One of the main objectives of the logistics apprenticeship when it was being developed by Declan Allen, Assistant Head of School at TU Dublin Aungier Street and a cohort of employers and industry representatives and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) in 2017 was to deliver a programme that would attract young people into the industry and in turn raise the profile of logistics and the freight distribution and logistics sector. This has worked with over 85 first year apprentices starting their education journey in recent weeks in Dublin and Cork and the first cohort graduating in November. Developing Innovative and long-lasting solutions requires collaboration and commitment from so many. But it does work, and the Logistics Apprenticeship is testimony to that. Linking academia with industry is essential for future proofing the competitiveness of Ireland as we continue to support job creation and business expansion and become world leaders in logistics and supply chain. As a small island on the periphery of Europe we need to keep ahead of the curve, we need to be innovative and creative in our outlook and to be competitive we need to have support of different educational and work experience options including apprenticeships, third level courses to educate our future leaders in supply chain. We also need employers who are willing to support apprenticeships as well as Governments that continue to listen to industry and support solutions to combat skills shortages.

There is a lot to be positive about as Ireland moves to Level 5, being better prepared now than in March, people know what’s needed to do to protect each other and listen to An Taoiseach when he said: ‘these are the toughest of times, but the Irish people will come through this together’.

“Keeping the schools open is of critical importance for parents but also for the coach and bus industry and the Government’s commitment to this end must hold firm. Ireland will get through this but its people must revisit the spirit that was so evident in March and April, no matter how difficult it is, we will only get through this if the virus is supressed and for that to happen means we need to adhere to the public health advice. Hold firm! Stay safe and look after each other,” concluded Aidan.