Roll up your sleeves

27 February 2014

Guest Editor: Roll up your sleeves

Lloyd’s Loading spoke to our Managing Director and founder Darren Wright, about careers, apprenticeships and opportunities in the logistics sector

If you could give one pearl of wisdom to people joining the industry today, what would it be?
Well, first of all I would congratulate them on making a great choice! The problem for the logistics and transport industry is that so few people on the outside actually understand what we do. But once a person comes into this industry, nine times out of ten they are hooked. It’s what I call a ‘real’ job, roll up your sleeves, use your initiative, and get on with it. If you want to progress, this is an industry that doesn’t set rules or patterns – it is what you make it and how hard you are prepared to work.

How did you start out in this industry?
I joined the forwarding and logistics business straight from school and spent about ten years with a company that grew from three or four people to about 30 in that time. And I really did start at the bottom, as the office junior – emptying the bins, making the tea. We hear a lot about graduates who don’t want to start with the basics, but this is an industry which is all about experience and knowledge, and that means working your way up, the ‘old-fashioned’ way.

How important is apprenticeship and training to the future of your business?
We recently took on a 17-year-old under the government apprenticeship scheme – she started as an admin assistant and will learn her way up, with the intention that she will become a project shipper. The logistics industry offers great opportunities for progression by learning the business from scratch, and Allseas is definitely a good example of that. We have two other young employees who have worked their way up and are now about to take to the road as part of our expanding sales team. As for training, the company regularly pays for employees to improve their knowledge and gain further qualifications. We support people with their external training costs if it’s relevant to the business. But at the same time, we think it is important that people understand the whole industry. That means getting in at the ‘real end’ – visiting ships, going on port tours, talking to the people that make things happen.

What do you look for in an apprentice or new employees?
If you are going to succeed in this business, you have to believe in your own ability. Getting the right people in the team is crucial – we target people with a similar mindset to our own. It is people that make a great company. Our tenth anniversary celebrations last year included a weekend away for the whole team, and their partners. We recognise that families are also very much part of Allseas. After all, it is the families that are impacted when their loved one is taking phone calls late into the evening, working unsocial hours, or travelling for long periods of time. This job has never been a ‘nine to five’ job – it is finished when it is complete and if that means you are working until ten at night, such is life. Everyone understands that.

Author: Darren Wright, Managing Director

Also published on: Lloyd’s Loading List

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