The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) hosted a panel event (Thursday 14th July), sponsored by Amazon, to celebrate how the West Midlands logistics industry is expanding rapidly through innovation, investment and skills. Business leaders joined the Mayor of the West Midlands and Amazon to discuss the opportunities for the sector in the region.
The event, hosted at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, highlighted the importance of skills, the growing demand for logistics services as well as discussing some of the key drivers of growth for the coming years.
The West Midlands is the second largest region for logistics jobs with 52,000 roles created since 2019.This means, in Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, currently 1 in 20 jobs is in logistics.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “The logistics industry has become a real strength for our region. This is not the industry of old, as the sector has evolved to keep pace with technological change and is now a key source of the kind of high-skilled jobs that we’re helping local people aspire to and move in to.
“So, I was really pleased to be able to get together with key businesses today – on Black Country Day no less! – to discuss how we can continue to grow the logistics sector and create quality jobs of the future.
“Linking up our local talent with the plentiful opportunities on offer in industry is central to my 100k jobs plan as we bounce back from Covid. We must provide routes into high-quality well-paid employment so that the young people in our region have prospects ahead to excite them and keep them and their families here in the years ahead. With logistics, we are doing exactly that.”
People wanting help finding work and gaining skills were given a boost through a special jobs fair hosted after the panel discussion. The jobs fair was full of people interested in jobs and training in this booming sector.
Over 30 exhibitors were on hand during the day, including employers such as Amazon, DPD, DHL, Balfour Beatty, Hughes Driver Training, City Plumbing, Birmingham City Council, Think Sandwell and National Careers Service.
John Boumphrey, UK country manager for Amazon, said: “Here in the West Midlands, since 2010 we’ve invested £2.3bn, opened 13 sites, and now have more than 8,000 permanent employees. We’re proud to be part of a growing and important industry, that offers fantastic career potential with no barriers to entry, and the dozens of companies here today are all excited about expanding the positive impact of logistics in the West Midlands.
“We’re grateful for the support of the Mayor and the WMCA in the sector, which is crucial to our industry’s future. We’re working together to ensure employees are getting the right skills education and tackling the challenges of decarbonising transport.”
Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills and leader of Coventry City Council, added: “The logistics panel event and jobs fair was a fantastic opportunity for people to meet local employers and have interviews right there on the day.
“Despite the West Midlands being badly hit by Covid-19, we’re coming out the other side of it now with vacancies all up for grabs. I’d encourage anyone that finds themselves out of work, or anybody just looking for a new career path to find out more information about a career within the logistics industry.”