Jobs can be based in a wide variety of locations, including airports, ports, railway yards, warehouses and offices, while many workers consider the inside of their vehicle as their main working environment! Jobs in this sector can involve a mixture of indoor and outdoor work and most involve some degree of travel.
Routes into this sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and maths will help get you into this sector. Also, although not compulsory, if you know you are interested in this sector you could choose to do a vocational GCSE (if offered by your school). Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeship/traineeship or a vocational qualification.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do higher education/university, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications.
If you are looking at a career in air traffic control you will need to be 18 years old (minimum) and have at least 5 good GCSEs including English and maths. You will also need to complete a number of assessments before becoming a trainee air traffic controller and you cannot hold a full Air Traffic Control licence until you are 20.
There are a range of roles with different entry routes. For example there are apprenticeships in warehousing, working at a port dealing with shipping and many roles for companies like Amazon and in the army.
There are higher skilled roles in logistics and distribution. For instance these are crucial management roles in the Armed Forces. Large supermarkets and food manufacturing companies are keen to attract graduates into jobs in supply chain management. To be good at these roles it would be helpful to have common sense be good at planning and organisation and to be a calm problem solver.
If you want to be a delivery driver you would be expected to have good English and maths skills and a driving licence for the type of vehicle you would be driving.
For warehousing jobs you do not need any specific skills but good English, maths and IT skills are useful.
To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector visit the Delivering your Future website which has lots of information about working in this sector.
Spotlight on...Apprenticeships in Distribution
Distribution and logistics help us to get things from A to B on time. It puts food on the supermarket shelves and gadgets in the shops. It sends parcels worldwide and helps you move house. Logistics specialists in the Armed Forces move whole units and set up a base in days on the other side of the world. Charities like Save the Children or the Red Cross organise shipping of essential food and clothing around the world to cope with famine and disasters. Although technology is bringing in driver less vehicles and potential drone deliveries, which will affect thousands of delivery drivers jobs, there will be roles in supply chain management.
The large supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl and Morrison's have apprenticeships in their warehouses in different roles and their are also apprenticeships in the Royal Mail. Many port authorities, and airports have a range of roles for apprentices and graduates around the movement of goods and services.
If you like the idea of working with tanks and moving large equipment over sometimes difficult terrain -The Armed Forces also have a large range of logistics, stores and distribution roles at all levels.
The UK is planning on leaving the EU this may create more roles for border staff and supply chain managers to ensure goods can get in and out of the country.
Websites for vacancies in this sector
Check out these websites to search for jobs in this sector
- Distribution jobs on TotalJobs
- Warehouse jobs on Fish4
- This website has information on the future of distribution and how this might develop - useful background reading to help you prepare for an interview in this job area.
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The University of Twente has developed a 6 week course about Supply Chain Innovation.