Skip to content

Interview: How Logistics UK is off to a flying start as a new apprenticeship provider

Logistics UK article feature image

Annie Graham, apprenticeship manager at Logistics UKAnnie Graham is the Apprenticeship Manager at Logistics UK. She shares how the 21,000-member trade association is tackling skills shortages in the logistics industry by leveraging apprenticeships. Logistics UK joined the Apprenticeship Provider and Assessment Register (APAR) in September 2023. It has seen its first learners go live in February 2024.

In this interview, Annie explains the organisation’s approach to apprenticeship delivery and her team’s experience of joining APAR. She also shares how Aptem has enabled them to hit the ground running.

Q: Can you tell us about Logistics UK?

A: Logistics UK is a trade association which supports, shapes, and stands up for safe and efficient logistics. We represent all areas of the logistics industry including businesses operating on road, rail, sea, and air. We also support the buyers of logistics services, lobbying on behalf of our membership to influence government and other stakeholders. Logistics UK are a multifaceted organisation, offering a range of services to support members beyond our policy team. In addition to our Member Advice Centre (MAC), we provide events, publications, Tacho services, and a dedicated shop. We also offer training to support our members. Sessions help them to maintain their compliance requirements and stay aware of all the changes that are happening in the sector.

Q. What is your training provision currently comprised of?

A. Our commercial courses benefit around 11,000 people every year. They range from Transport Manager CPC, and CPC courses, to specialist training in dangerous goods, aviation security courses, and technical training.

Q. What motivated Logistics UK to venture into apprenticeships?

A. The skills shortage in the transport and logistics industry is prevalent. Our members tell us that apprenticeships are the third most popular route to tackle the skills shortage, after pay and conditions. We already provide many services to our members, with training being one. But, previously we did not offer funded education in terms of apprenticeships. Part of our vision is to attract new entrants into the industry. We also want to assist career progression within the sector. Apprenticeships will support our members with progression planning.

Q. Which apprenticeship Standard did you decide to launch with?

A. There are only 36 apprenticeship Standards in transport and logistics, which is quite shocking considering the size and necessity of the industry. Logistics UK launched with the Level 3 Transport and Warehouse Operations Supervisor, having worked with many employers to design the programme. It includes the Transport Manager CPC as a key qualification. This Standard is designed to create well-rounded transport managers by developing leadership knowledge, skills, and behaviours. Our intent for offering this programme is clear; when we surveyed members, this occupation came out as the third most difficult for the industry to recruit into. 60% of our members report challenges in leadership.

Q. How did you go about getting onto APAR?

A. Once we had decided to offer apprenticeships, we needed to wait for the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) – what is now known as APAR – to open for new applicants. The DfE told us there were no imminent plans to open the register. However, we were lucky in that an employer approached us regarding a gap in provision. Following that process, we received an invitation to apply to APAR. We submitted the application on 25 July and were accepted onto the register on 26 September. So, it happed very fast and, somewhat unusually, ahead of the expected schedule. For us, the APAR application process was straightforward. We were already offering training to members, and we showcased our existing quality and infrastructure within the application.

Q: Do you have advice for other organisations considering apprenticeship delivery?

A. We took advantage of DfE’s detailed guidance on applying to be an apprenticeship training provider and used this to set out our project plan. For those moving into apprenticeships with a track record in non-funded training, my tip would be to showcase what you already do. We formed a project team which included me as the project lead, supported by the deputy director of training, HR, SMEs, and employers.

We engaged very early with our external governors who have a proven track record in FE, covering all elements of apprenticeship provision from quality to safeguarding to compliance. My advice is to recognise and utilise the expertise of your key stakeholders.

It’s vital to ensure that you are responding to industry demands and have a clear intent for the apprenticeship Standards you will offer. This will generate interest from employers with whom you will work closely to gain input into the curriculum design. Employers are in the driving seat, and they will support more than anyone.

We took a strategic decision to prioritise how we utilise technology to streamline processes and reduce administrative burdens from the very start.

Q. At what point in your journey did you consider those technology requirements?

A. As soon as we decided to move forward in our application to be an apprenticeship training provider, we started the procurement process for an apprenticeship management system. We didn’t want any delays with apprentices getting started on programme. It was a bit of a risk in case we didn’t get accepted onto APAR, but we knew we had a strong application. Equally, we didn’t want to rush the process of finding the right technology partner. As we progressed with the procurement of Aptem and APAR application concurrently, we were pleased to have some reassurances that should we be unsuccessful in our application, our financial agreement was fair to both parties. In that respect, it was a true partnership approach from the outset and one that enabled us to progress confidently at our desired pace.

Q. What approach did you take to procurement?

A. We built the apprenticeship provision from the ground up so we had the opportunity to ensure all systems and processes were fit for our business and would provide the best experience for our learners. In addition, we needed a system that would support compliance and reduce the administrative burden. We started the procurement process by mapping out what we wanted from a system. Our Learning Technologist and I attended system demos with four providers. Aptem provided that seamless experience from referral of apprentice right through to completion. This was the selling point for us. Aptem wasn’t the cheapest option upfront, but when we compared it with our second choice, it was more cost-effective over a longer period of time. More importantly for us, it’s about value over price.

Q. How has Aptem met your apprenticeship management platform requirements?

A. The fact that it is an end-to-end system was key; with Aptem, the learner experience is seamless from enrolment to completion. Enrolment is designed by the provider and onboarding can be tailored per apprenticeship Standard. This allows you to revisit specific Information and Guidance (IAG) requirements with learners whilst they onboard.

Compliance checks

In addition, the provider can create their own compliance checks within the system. We have implemented this really well, giving us the confidence that we are meeting the conditions of funding. Let’s say one of our administrators is doing a compliance check and is asked if the learner is self-employed. The administrator would look at the application and if the learner is self-employed they would tick yes and it would come up with the funding guidance that states the learner is not eligible for funding. Designing it this way is particularly important for us as a new provider, not having many people in the business who are experienced in the apprenticeship funding rules. Having those processes built into the compliance checks is brilliant for us, safeguarding our compliance.

Functionality of the Learning Plan

The functionality of the Learning Plan in Aptem is exceptional. The tools within Aptem are easy to use; each learning plan component can be designed to a high standard. We used our existing eLearning packages and integrated these into Aptem, saving us from spending time reinventing the content. We also developed our assessments into SCORM, allowing the learner to complete them within the system, without the need to download, save and upload.

Automated Individual Learning Record

In Aptem, the automated Individual Learning Record (ILR) and the ability to create trackers that communicate with the ILR is outstanding; ultimately this significantly reduces admin time. Alongside the correct internal processes, the ILR generation and trackers are a huge hit for us! It takes away the need for the tutors to email the administrators and vice versa; they can communicate via the trackers.

Reporting features

The reporting features within Aptem will allow us to monitor and report on the provision. There is a feature to capture Ofsted data ensuring that is always readily available. There is also a feature to view your performance against the Apprenticeship Accountability Framework.

Q. How was your system implementation experience?

A. It has been brilliant. Our implementation of Aptem started in September 2023 and our first cohort of 20 apprentices began their training in February 2024. Our Implementation Consultant has extensive industry experience and so has been able to challenge us to consider our processes carefully alongside system set-up. The training plan has been expertly sequenced, with each session being recorded for future training and reference.

Q: What’s next for Logistics UK in terms of apprenticeships?

A: We’ve made a fantastic start, and are looking forward to the future. Next for Logistics UK is to monitor our first cohort and identify how we can further improve the learner experience. We are doing what we do best, which is listening to our members and their challenges, and proactively supporting them to access the apprenticeships they require. This could be signposting them to providers or developing the next apprenticeship Standard for their business.

Q. Finally, how do you see the logistics sector coming together with a shared vision around the value of apprenticeships?

A. What we do really matters, and collaboration is incredibly important if we are to address the skills gap in our industry successfully. By proactively reaching out to independent training providers and FE providers, as well as our Logistics UK members, we believe we will achieve great things. This is just the beginning for us, and we are pleased to be able to share our story so far.

Thank you to Annie Graham for sharing the Logistics UK experience of getting up and running in apprenticeship delivery.

Logistics UK is one of the largest business groups in the UK, supporting, shaping and standing up for efficient logistics. Annie Graham’s insights demonstrate Logistics UK’s proactive approach to addressing the skills shortage in the logistics industry through apprenticeships. With a focus on quality, compliance, and industry engagement, Logistics UK is set to continue making a significant impact on workforce development in the sector. Aptem is delighted to be their chosen technology partner.

If you are a membership organisation, awarding body or training provider and are delivering or considering delivering apprenticeships, talk to us today about Aptem Apprentice.

Share this post with your friends