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Freight Employee Shortage Reaching Critical Levels

News Release 4 May 2005

Freight Industry Employee Shortage Reaching Critical Levels – IFA

New Zealand's export and import industries could be under threat from a shortage of skilled employees in the freight and logistics sector, according to International Forwarders Association President, Brian Broom.

The International Forwarders Association (IFA), which was recently formed to represent New Zealand’s air and ocean freight and forwarding industry, is calling for the introduction of new training programmes to help meet demand for entry-level positions, in addition to spearheading education initiatives to encourage skilled workers.

“The IFA is intent on putting the freight and logistics sector more firmly on the employment landscape, especially given the opportunities for employees to achieve a highly rewarding and transferable career both here and abroad,” said Mr Broom.

The call comes at the same time as Government recognition that the apprenticeship schemes of the past need to be reinvigorated.

“As a country we are now recognising that we need to encourage people into vital ‘backbone’ industries such as our sector, which performs a critical role in facilitating the export/import economy.”

Mr Broom said that IFA members, comprising some of the largest local and international industry players, had experienced record growth over the past six months which had compounded demand for experienced employees. In order to meet this need, the body had developed its own programmes to encourage potential employees including a cadetship targeting at-risk youth, in addition to a general apprenticeship scheme to provide education on specialist industry services.

Mr Broom said that there were few Government-led incentives to encourage prospective employees into the industry, yet it was one which "is the lifeblood in helping foster New Zealand's exporters and importers."

"The shortage of skilled workers is approaching critical levels and all our members are experiencing difficulties in attracting employees of the calibre which they require. Not only that, there is only a limited number of workers entering the industry as a whole which raises the question as to how freight forwarding companies will be placed in a few years time."

Mr Broom said that there appeared to be a lack of appreciation regarding career opportunities despite the professionalism of the sector and extensive rewards available to motivated employees.


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