International Freight Forwarder Chadd Blunt is striving to inspire the next generation of freight forwarders and encourage young people into the industry through capitalising on his new role as governor of the British International Freight Association’s newly launched Young Forwarder Network, in the Midlands.

In an attempt to tackle the growing issue of attracting young people into freight forwarding, Chadd – who is CEO of Birmingham-based freight forwarder Millennium Cargo – became a governor of BIFA’s Midlands Young Forwarder Network earlier this year to represent his views and to help bridge the increasing age gap within the sector’s workforce through taking an active role in helping to promote the association’s new career development initiative within his local region.

Representing over 1500 UK companies in the logistics and supply chain management sector, the British International Freight Association is the leading body for companies who engage in the international movement of freight by air, road, rail and sea.

Having recently launched its Young Forwarder Network, BIFA also looks to provide the necessary support to young people enhance their career prospects and support their professional development through establishing a network that is committed to promoting the logistics and forwarding sector as an exciting career choice.

Chadd, who himself joined the industry on leaving school, will assist in promoting the association’s Network within the region and use his 30 plus years of experience within the industry to help young people to capitalise on the benefits of a career in freight forwarding.

The significant lack of young people within the supply chain and logistics sector has in particular been touted as a prominent issue facing the industry in recent years; with claims that up to 25-33% of the supply chain workforce is now approaching retirement age.

With so few millennials coming up through the ranks to replace those who have left the industry, concerns are arising amongst businesses in the sector that such a recruitment problem could damage the world’s supply chains and even grind the nation to a halt if action is not taken to plug this growing gap.

Chadd commented: “The issue is an educational issue. Whether in school or in higher education there is a significant lack of schooling on supply chain and logistics despite the fact it is an integral part of society’s makeup, and yet a huge proportion are still blissfully unaware of what freight forwarding and logistics actually involves.

Recent studies have found that a startling 42% of young people know what the term ‘logistics’ means and that only 8% of young people consider the sector to be an attractive career option – ultimately proving that the lack of education surrounding the industry as a whole is a serious issue that needs correcting.

“The demand for freight will not only continue but is likely to increase over the next decade therefore more needs to be done at within education to position freight forwarding and logistics as an aspirational career prospect for young people in order for the UK to continue to develop successfully.

“My involvement with BIFA’s Young Forwarder Network is to help focus on educating and raising the awareness of freight forwarding to young people across the Midlands and promote the sector as a strong career choice whilst also attempting to break down longstanding preconceptions surrounding the industry – in particular those concerning its viability as a promising career option.

“Freight forwarding is something that I am passionate about and I look forward to engaging with the minds of the future generation and sharing my own personal knowledge and years of experience the industry with young people within my local region.”