Opportunities are growing in the logistics sector in Staffordshire, say business and civic leaders
The logistics sector in Staffordshire will play an ever-increasing part in the county’s continued growth and create a range of employment opportunities, business and civic leaders have said.
At a round table discussion at Burton and South Derbyshire College, Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said:
“We want to be a beacon for the modern logistics sector in Staffordshire. We are centrally located, which is attractive to businesses and can help them to reduce transport costs and carbon emissions. There will be an ongoing commitment from us as a county council to support the growth of the sector here.”
Philip added that Staffordshire is also striving to develop a corridor for hydrogen technology along the A50 and A500 which would support logistics industries in the county.
Simon Philips, head of distribution development with Pets at Home, said:
“We have made a huge investment in Stafford and are currently working through an 18-month transition to our new site. It has been a leap for us from a technology and innovation perspective and the sustainability of the development.
“I think at the moment the logistics sector is one of the most exciting to work in. We are moving away from the perception that we only provide lower quality jobs and seeing opportunities in areas like robotics and data analytics.”
Pets at Home’s new offices and logistics centre north of Stafford will officially open soon, employing more than 750 people.
The roundtable also discussed employment created by the construction of new logistics centres. Damian Holdstock, senior planning manager at St Modwen Logistics, said:
“When we consider the innovation inside the buildings themselves and the kits being used which include automation and robotics it can really get young people excited and can change their mindset.”
Staffordshire County Council’s assistant director for skills and employability Tony Baines said partner organisations needed to ensure people understood the logistics sector is attractive in terms of career prospects – opening up opportunities in areas such as finance, human resources, communications and project management.
And county council chief executive John Henderson added that council members with planning responsibilities needed to understand the value of new logistics developments.
“Taller buildings are often needed in order for businesses to be able to invest in the right technology. There is then a payoff between the visual impact of a development and the quality and type of jobs which will be created, which is often not understood.”
Speaking after the event, Philip White said:
“The roundtable event has been of real value to everyone who took part. The logistics sector is and will continue to be vital to Staffordshire for all the reasons set out in our discussion, and particularly as we look forward to developments along the A50/A500 corridor and the West Midlands Interchange. Bringing businesses together with sector organisations, educational establishments and local decision makers enables us to have a constructive discussion on the future of the sector in the county and how we can make it a success for businesses and our communities.”