Date Posted:

29 February 2024

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Freeport East, together with Connected Places Catapult and Clacton Coastal Academy, hosted an industry day and hackathon event in Clacton last week.  The event aimed to showcase the wide range of careers within the freight and logistics sector, dispel misconceptions, and inspire young people to consider exciting career opportunities. All of this being part of the Department for Transport’s efforts to boost the sector through the Freight Innovation Fund and Freight Innovation Cluster.

It also contributes to the Department’s wider efforts to reduce barriers to recruitment and retention in the freight sector. Government is working collaboratively with industry through its Future of Freight People and Skills Delivery Group, to address labour market issues and boost diversity. This includes supporting the industry-led Generation Logistics campaign which is leading the way for improving awareness of careers and raising the profile of logistics in schools and colleges.

There are estimated to be thousands of freight and logistics jobs in the Tendring and North Essex area working with some of the UK’s largest companies, as well as some of the smallest and innovative. Freeport East, covering the ports of Harwich, Felixstowe and Ipswich is keen to ensure local young people are aware of the diversity of opportunities, especially given new developments already underway in the area.

The modern freight Industry requires a range of skills, from vehicle drivers to transport planners, from remote control operators for robot technology to software developers. Today’s sector is increasingly focused on reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact, so there are many opportunities to apply climate awareness and green skills too.

“Our goal is to make the freight and logistics industry more accessible and appealing to young talent in the area,” said keynote speaker, Essex County Councillor and Freeport East Board Member Lesley Wagland OBE. “By showcasing the innovation within the sector, we hope to inspire the next generation of industry leaders. Events like these are crucial for bridging the gap between industry and young people in the region looking for new opportunities and this helps to build an exciting and sustainable future for both Tendring and the sector.”

Simon Papworth, Strategy & Policy Manager at Freeport East, highlighted that their ambition is to deepen knowledge of local job prospects in the Clacton area. “Our aim is motivating students and broadening their career horizons and we have worked closely with our partners to showcase the many diverse and rewarding opportunities available in the freight and logistics sector, as well as jobs in Essex and the wider Freeport East area.”

Laura Leatherby. Assistant Vice Principal at Clacton Coastal Academy was delighted to host the event. “The event was a fantastic opportunity to bridge the gap between the industry’s leading professionals and the bright minds of tomorrow, culminating in a ‘hackathon’ to put students’ newly gained knowledge of the sector and creative problem solving to the test.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for giving their time to support our students and introduce them to a sector that is very much at the forefront of the career opportunities they may face in the future. We look forward to collaborating further to consolidate and extend our students’ knowledge of the sector.”

Francesca Caramelle-Ngoma, Innovation Cluster Programme Manager at Connected Places Catapult said: “One of the key objectives of DfT’s sponsored freight innovation cluster is to encourage accessibility, equality, diversity, and inclusion into the freight and logistics industry – a sector where age diversity is, unfortunately, still a challenge. The Freight Innovation Cluster’s Skills and Talent event at Clacton Coastal Academy was an excellent opportunity to showcase to Y10-11 pupils the breadth of opportunities this sector offers, especially at the local level, and within their own community. We did not only inspire them with tangible role models, but, through the hackathon session, we gave them a freight-related entrepreneurial experience that I hope, they will remember in the future with excitement”.

Connected Places Catapult, the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership brought industry experts directly into the school environment and featured interactive sessions, including demonstrations by industry professionals from companies like hydrocarbon firm, Haltermann Carless, offering students firsthand experience and the chance to engage in problem-solving activities.

To find out more about Freeport please visit Why Freeport East

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