Gazeley held the concept launch for a new Logistics Institute of Technology (LIT) which will form part of an extended Magna Park, Lutterworth. The higher education facility will provide vocational training and education, as well as a research and innovation centre of excellence, to meet the growing needs of the distribution and logistics industry and the wider supply chains it serves.
LIT will be led by North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College in partnership with Gazeley, Aston University and Holovis. The institute will be part of the largest and most successful dedicated distribution park in Europe and sits in the heart of the Golden Triangle which represents the largest concentration of logistics operations in the UK.
The extension proposals include a “hub” containing the Logistics Institute of Technology and campus to accommodate, when fully operational, a throughout of up to 1000 students, as well as applied research and associated facilities. LIT’s primary mission is to attract, develop and retain the talent the sector needs, enabling it to expand as it becomes more globally connected and technologically advanced. In support of this mission, LIT will co-create programmes for existing employees at the park and surrounding area and help inspire recruits from Schools, Colleges and Universities. There will also be a significant research dimension to the LIT work which is aimed at addressing the many complex challenges faced by supply chain professionals. This will drive the innovations required to secure long term competitiveness and reduce the environmental footprint of the industry.
LIT seizes upon the opportunities identified by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) logistics report and the Growth and People Action Plan which included the enhancement of supply chain capability and the upskilling the logistics labour force. The Institute will help achieve the LLEP’s aim to improve collaboration between employers and educators, thereby delivering employable graduates at all levels and carrying out exploitable research.
The creation of the LIT forms part of an aspiration by Gazeley to extend Magna Park, Lutterworth by a further 427,000 sq m of distribution warehousing and ancillary offices. With the planned extension, Magna Park, Lutterworth will be home to over 30 blue chip business, c 1.2 million sq m of distribution space and 15,000 logistics employees on a single site under Gazeley’s management.
Gwyn Stubbings, Planning Director, Gazeley, commented: “The LLEP correctly identified in its Logistics Growth Plan report that there is a need to address the sector’s skills shortage. The creation of the LIT will help bridge the current gap and provide local people with the skills they need to further develop the area as the leading logistics location in the UK. Furthermore the leading logistics companies located at Magna Park will gain access to a large and highly skilled labour force which will increase the park’s attractiveness as a business location.”
Professor of Logistics Edward Sweeney, who is Director of Aston Logistics & Systems Institute, said: “We are immensely proud to be a key player in the creation of this pioneering facility. Aston was chosen from universities nationwide to provide the higher education element, which evidences not only our proven track record of our logistics degree programmes but the quality and employability of our graduates. The aim is to help redress the growing recruitment problem faced by the logistics sector; there are not enough skilled staff. The LIT will also enable us to development innovative applied research programmes in close collaboration with the logistics sector and firms in the wider supply chain.
Marion Plant OBE, Chief Executive of the college group, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, commented: “We are extremely excited to be leading this ambitious project, which we believe will revolutionise training in the sector. In their report ‘Skills for the Future 2016’, the LLEP has identified that the logistics and distribution sector has a huge skills shortage, with job demand (replacement and expansion) of around 14,050 jobs by 2022. By bringing a strong group of partners together, we will create a truly industry-led education facility that will inspire young people and adults to train for sustainable employment in the rapidly expanding logistics and supply chain industry.”
Andrew Brown, Strategy Director, Holovis, added: “Holovis are delighted to be a member of the LIT partnership. We think this exciting development is a real opportunity to bring some of the latest and future learning technologies to the Logistics Industry”.