De Montfort University teams up with Pall-Ex to tackle skills shortage in UK haulage sector
Students have come up with ideas to try and tackle a skills shortage in Britain’s haulage sector. Freight network operator Pall-Ex challenged De Montfort University students to come up with campaigns to promote careers in logistics to people aged 16 to 24 – including women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. The Leicester students worked in teams to develop creative ideas that could be adopted across influencer marketing and social media advertising.
Through a digital pitching process – sticking to social distancing guidelines – they presented their ideas to a panel of Pall-Ex team members, featuring UK and European marketing manager, and former DMU student Abby Langley. Pall-Ex, formed by entrepreneur Hilary Devey in 1996, operates a central hub in north west Leicestershire which allows haulage firms to share space on their trucks. It also has operations around the world and moves more than 30,000 pallets every day.
The winning campaign came from Sterling Group, made up of students Georgia Haines, Gemma Philpot, Joseph Ta and Ben Riley. Their ‘Whatever the Weather’ campaign recommended Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill as a strong female role model to inspire young women to train as HGV drivers, noting early starts, dedication and hard work as key parallels. Other strong creative ideas included ‘No Normal Day’, highlighting the variety of opportunities open to HGV drivers, and ‘Lorry Share’, a spoof of Peter Kay’s BBC series, Car Share.
Abby Langley said: “We are really impressed with the high calibre of the campaigns the students presented and the ideas they put forward to meet the brief. “Recruiting young people into logistics is a key topic of discussion within our industry, so it is refreshing to see new ideas put forward by young people themselves. “It’s great to see how well they have engaged with the topic, their enthusiasm for the project and how they have thought about targeting their audience.
“There are some inspiring creatives here that we can develop into actionable campaigns in the future.” Student Georgia Haines said: “As a group, we were excited to work on a live brief and we are grateful that Pall-Ex gave us this incredible opportunity. “Our team worked well together from day one and the campaign was constructed over months of hard work and cooperation – a real team effort.
“To find out that we had won meant a lot to us and showed us that we were able to create a marketing campaign that is respected and rewarded by professionals.” Rachael Mabe, who runs the advertising and promotion module at De Montfort, said: “This has been a fantastic and authentic brief for our students, and it’s been a real pleasure to work with Pall-Ex. “It has inspired our students in understanding how a real marketing brief works, but also in understanding the value companies like Pall-Ex play in e-commerce and digital marketing.
“Quite simply, the marketing and shopping habits we currently enjoy could not exist without them. “DMU students, as always, have risen to a challenge and I’m so pleased and proud of all 183 students on the module for the hard work and dedication they have shown. “The winning students Joseph, Ben, Gemma and Georgia absolutely deserve their success – it’s wonderful for them to have their work recognised by industry professionals.”
The project was inspired by the logistics industry’s driver shortage, caused by an ageing workforce and lack of recruitment amongst young people; just 1 percent of HGV drivers in the UK are aged under 25, according to research from workers’ union Unite, compared to 13 per cent who are over 60.
The industry is the UK’s fifth largest employer and was identified by the Department for Transport as moving 1.41 billion tonnes of goods in 2018.
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