There I was, at a Careers Evening at a prestigious High School in Johannesburg representing a prestigious institution that offers an internationally recognised education programme covering Shipping, Logistics, Transport Economics among others..
Along comes Polly* (*not her real name) a bright eyed and bushy tailed aspiring Matriculant..
I go “Hello there, can I interest you in a Shipping & Logistics course“.. She goes “Logistics, what’s that ?“..
For almost the first time in my life I didn’t have a comeback..!!! I was gobsmacked..
It made me cringe to see and realise how relatively unknown our industry still remains in the eyes of the general public who have no idea what happens behind the scenes or what we do in order to cart cargo around from Point A to Point B..
It also made me realise how poor the visibility of this industry is in the public domain especially at school levels..
Teenagers being who they are and knowing everything it was a pity to see many don’t even really know about our industry or maybe “care” is the word I am looking for..
I noticed most of the kids making a beeline straight to the “known” Universities to find out more about the “known” and “expected” professional qualifications such as Engineering, Medicine etc, and to Colleges offering Diplomas in Marketing, Advertising, Fashion etc.. “Known” and “expected” being the keywords here..
Technology also seems to play a part in it because to a teenager “Shipping” is a short form for “Relationship”..
I kid you not.. You can read it for yourself in an article in Tech Insider “What Shipping means to Teens“..
According to this article
If you see someone on Twitter or Tumblr discussing “shipping,” don’t assume they’re talking about mailing a package. The term has taken on new life thanks to people, predominantly teens, using the word to discuss ideal relationships between fictional characters, celebrities, and even their own friends.
Shipping originated in the world of fandoms, which are groups of hardcore fans of movies, books, and television shows. According to the ridiculousy comprehensive fandom slang guides of the internet, the word derives from “relationshipper,” typically shortened to just “shipper.” Relationshippers are people who care deeply about the romantic relationships between their favorite characters — and sometimes, celebrities or even the people in their own lives.
According to Urban Dictionary, below is the definition of Shipping
So my question today to all those involved in this wonderful industry of shipping, freight, logistics and maritime is
- How do we get teenagers and school kids involved in our industry and increase the exposure and also show them that there is a career lane that involves Shipping, Freight, Logistics, Maritime and associated industries..
- How do we create the interest from the school level itself..
- Do you think it would be possible to incorporate the above into school curriculum’s like they do Accounting, Marketing etc as an orientation program..
There are many times when we introduce ourselves to others, nobody seems to be interested in knowing which part of Logistics Industry we belong to.. Only thing they probably know about it some main shipping/Air lines (specially Maersk), rest unless its somebody who belongs to this industry, there is no second question that pops up from the other end. Either they do not understand or they are not interested.
Also, I believe many people from this industry are hired without any professional qualification like in banking or Financial Services (they need some proficiency in finance or major in some subject), for many professions, we have some degree which is definitely required for pursuing that profession.
But in Logistics Industry, even if you haven’t studied about supply chain much in college or hold any degree, you can explore and learn on the job. Many of my colleagues, have been in this industry since many years and all of them started from the entry level and today some are at very good positions. But we need to see that many people who join this industry, not necessarily have a background to it..
Another thing which I feel is, apart from your blog, its difficult to learn simple and basic facts which one can get to learn only with help of our colleagues (only helpful ones :)) or have practical exposure. Also, I have heard, logistics is probably not considered to be a great profession for women and pay-scale wise.
These are only views, what I have seen or observed.. please feel free to correct me If I am wrong anywhere.
Hello Ritu, most of what you said is the sad reality.. Although, I beg to differ on this bit “logistics is probably not considered to be a great profession for women” because in a lot of the companies that I have seen/dealt with, most of the freight, shipping and logistics activities especially desk based and sales are done by women and THEY DO IT VERY WELL..
However, regarding the payscale you may be right because in these companies where the women are doing the work, in majority of the cases, men are the bosses.. So this needs to change and that can happen only with education..
Dear Mr Hariesh
really i amazing about that there are many people dont know about shipping industries and logistics concept although 90 % of world trade volume done by sea , also no one can deny the important of transportation mode , the road is way for life . all of us using drive cars or using bus to go to our work and we transfer from place to another continuously ?
after i finished my studies i dont know about this industry until i worked in logistics company as an accountant but i still not had good information until i read your blog , many thanks Mr hariesh
there is maritime faculty but i think it is very expensive and also it is recently establish
i suggest that making journey to our kids to plants and factories to know logistics department . also journey to shipping lines and then visiting port terminals
Thank you for sharing your ideas Hassan.. 🙂
Kids today are born into a digital world, where resources are available at your fingertips.
Communication and shopping is done online from a cellphone, ready-made food is “cooked” in the microwave, etc.
So explaining the idea of full-scale, supply-chain logistics to today’s teenagers might bore (some of) them, as the ‘result’ interests them, as opposed to the ‘process’.
Maybe designing an App which could be played at these types of Career Evenings will create interest on a level of communication they’re more accustomed to.
Apps (games) could be created for:
Shipbuilding (technical / creative-inclined kids);
Accounts (numerically-inclined kids);
Crew (adventurous-inclined kids);
Not sure if schools will will wholeheartedly endorse shipping-related courses into their curriculum, but this opportunity should be a no-brainer for a country like RSA (or any country for that matter);
Problem is that ‘Shipping’ is too diverse, but that is good thing as it can employ many types of professionals.
Some good ideas here Carnied, thank you.. 🙂
The students should get some awareness through these blogs about the shipping industry. The shipping industry also holds a prime position in today’s world. Being aware in the school level leads to greater chances of learning in advance and leading to success. It is a good field to start a career at an early age. The career is booming so people should know about it more and more of it.
This is an excellent article and very worrisome at the same time. I have been in the “shipping” industry for over 30 years and yet I struggle to find a way to explain Logistics (“shipping” ) to even my own company’s executive team. Seems to be just a great place to lay blame when the process was broken from the beginning (the order). Would love to hear how anyone else explains that to executives.
I’ve also run into a similar situation where I needed to explain the term ‘logistics’ to someone.
Thanks for the great post with loads of helpful hints! I look forward to following your blog.
I’d been asked about it many times when I was At university; it’s 3 or 4 years ago;
People, Adults, didn’t have any idea about the word itself. But now, it becomes more and more known.
About the teens, I think they still don’t know about this field because there is no advertising about this subject, no games using such words of the industry, no discussion about that at home between parents and adults;
normally, kids are asking question all the time, one of these question : What do you do at your study/work?
So, the 1st step is to tell his children about the work using the real words “logistics, shipping, forwarder…” and then explain. So this is the 1st step to target this young population.
I think part of the Marketing curriculum should be that they have to set up a supply chain, to include logistics, between a fictional supplier and a fictional end customer. This would absolutely highlight our industry and open a new world to them.