Wanted: Reinforcements for the team

The influx of refugees is providing new prospects for industries in which young generation is in short supply. Many companies have already become active in the field of freight traffic logistics – DHL Freight is also stepping on it Desperately sought: good new people. The logistics industry urgently needs personnel – from truck drivers to warehouse workers. The demand – alone for driving cabs – is immense: Every year roughly 25,000 drivers retire from the profession while only about 15,000 take it up. And so far no turnaround is in sight. The lack of young talent is hitting a growth industry. More and more goods and freight are transported on the road. Alone in Germany this accounts for more than 70 percent of the total volume of transport according to the Federal Statistical Office. And the trend is continuing. In the face of the strong influx of refugees in Germany, many logistics companies are now actively trying to win specialists for themselves out of the vast pool of unused potential. According to a survey by the Logistik Heute journal, three quarters of the companies surveyed are planning to employ refugees. The idea is good and makes sense. However, in order to implement it, many hurdles still have to be taken – from linguistic and technical skills to bureaucratic obstacles such as work permits. Nevertheless, for Frank Huster, Chief Executive of the German Speditions- und Logistikverband e. V. (freight forwarding and logistics association), this is a classical win-win situation: “On the one hand the international freight forwarding and logistics industry is looking for young and skilled employees. On the other hand, many people who are now coming to Germany are qualified and motivated, and looking for work, training or internships.“ DHL Freight has already been addressing this issue actively since 2015: The branches of DHL Freight in Germany work closely with chambers of industry and commerce, employment agencies and private organisations in their areas. The goal: To introduce motivated refugees to the various professions in the logistics industry. At open days immigrants can take a first look – and if both sides are interested, internships or even an apprenticeship are possible.

Leo Jansen [Photo: DHL]

“The largest hurdle at the moment is the language“, explains Leo Jansen, Training Manager Germany for DHL Freight. “Whoever wants to go about qualified work in a warehouse or driving cab has to be able to speak German sufficiently.” In concrete terms that means Level 4 language skills on the six-level scale of the European reference framework for languages. “Of course, reaching that level takes some time, particularly if you previously had no German language skills at all,“ says Jansen. Thus, the influx of prospects in the subsidiaries is still a little restrained at the moment. “However, I am confident that we can give many refugees who acquire the necessary language qualification a genuine chance at DHL Freight in 2016.“
In order to lower the language barrier further, DHL Freight has now issued a booklet that contains the most important logistics terms in the languages of the most common countries of origin.

Author: Kai Ortmann

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