Aston key player in new Logistics Institute

Professor Ed Sweeney
Professor Ed Sweeney at the launch

2 November 2016

  • ·Aston chosen from universities nationwide
  • ·Facility first of its kind
  • ·Institute to train students to address shortage of skilled logistics  staff

Aston University is playing a key role in the creation of a new Logistics Institute of Technology (LIT) to provide training, education, research and innovation to meet the growing needs of the distribution and logistics industry and the wider supply chain it serves.

The Logistics Institute of Technology (LIT) will be part of an extension to the giant Magna Park at Lutterworth, East Midlands, the most successful dedicated distribution park in Europe.

The concept, launched in October, is being developed by a consortium that includes the university, North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College, IDI Gazeley, one of the world’s leading developers of logistics parks and Holovis, designer of sensory experiences.

In seizing upon opportunities identified by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) around the enhancement of supply chain capability and upskilling the logistics labour force, the institute will help achieve the LLEP’s aim to improve collaboration between employers and educators and deliver employable graduates at all levels, as well as undertake exploitable research.

Professor Ed Sweeney, 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 not only evidences 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 new institute will also enable us to develop innovative applied research programmes in close collaboration with the logistics sector and firms in the wider supply chain.”

The proposals include the creation of an on-site “hub” containing the LIT and campus which, when fully operational, will see a throughput of up to 1000 students. The hub will also accommodate an applied research and support facilities.

The LIT’s main aim 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, the institute will co-create programmes for existing employees at Magna Park and surrounding area and help inspire recruits from schools, colleges and universities.

In addition, there will be a significant research focus with the LIT’s work tailored to address the many complex challenges faced by the supply chain industry. This will drive innovations to secure long-term competitiveness and reduce the environmental footprint of the industry.

Marion Plant, OBE, Chief Executive of North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College, said: “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.”