This is the first in what we hope will be a series of articles concentrating on the training needs in the air cargo industry and how mid-sized training companies see their position in this very important sector.
The Logistics Training Center (LTC) based next to Frankfurt Main Airport is proud of what they and their in-house Logistic Competence Team has achieved during the past couple of years.
This success is crowned by IATA’s Training & Development Institute having accredited LTC for ULD operations training for personnel under 1.6A of the IATA ULD Regulations.
A notable achievement for Elke Wasser
Elke Wasser’s family is no stranger to the world of air cargo.
Her husband holds a management position with a large freight agent and her father, Alfred Eisele, was a legendary figure in the German air cargo scene until his passing away in 2009.
Her wish is to ensure that those trained in her facilities actually be ready and have the chance to take up a job in the air cargo industry.
“It’s not just training them and leaving them to get on with their lives,“ she says, “but more a case of trying to ensure that over 90 percent of those who pass through our doors, actually end up in the air cargo business.”
It has been a long road which Elke and her team have gone down during the past years.
She started her career with Kuehne+Nagel back in 1979 and was helping to run the forerunner of today’s set-up, the Logistic Peoples Academy, from 2001 to 2010.
It was in 2010 that she went out on her own and formed LTC and set her sights on offering a variety of training courses and methods for freight agents, airlines and other interested parties to ensure better handling.
Not an easy task, especially at Frankfurt, one of the world’s leading air freight airports and where there were many competitors to tender with.
Long list of training programmes on offer
The Logistic Training Center offers potential cargo handling candidates an impressive list of training programmes which are held in their training center near Frankfurt Airport.
LTC also has trainers who accompany candidates that have completed training and start a so called apprenticeship with either freight agents, air cargo handling companies or even airlines. The trainers are there for about three months to ‘be on the spot’ when staff are being integrated into new companies.
It would cover many pages if we were to list all training programmes LTC has on offer. These range from basic cargo handling, warehouse logistics, security, customs procedures, to dangerous goods handling and documentation, palletizing and others.
Many of those trained are sent to LTC by the German job centres and there is a close working relationship between both entities to try and ensure that young people get a chance to qualify themselves.
Elke Wasser informs us that at least 80 percent of those who pass through her doors are slotted into long-term jobs. The remaining 20 percent either fail tests or prove not to be suitable for air cargo handling procedures.
The separately run Logistic Competence Team which is headed by son Max was created in order to supply the logistics and handling companies with properly trained staff. This applies to both physical and documentation staffing as well as personnel consulting services for the traded special coaching programmes.
The Competence Team has been officially certified by the German Employers Association (Bundesarbeitgeberverband der Personaldienstleister).
LUG benefits from the LTC quality
Patrik Tschirch, CEO of Frankfurt-based LUG aircargo handling is a loyal customer of LTC.
LUG has for some time now been supplied with manpower which has been trained and passed through LTC’s schooling.
He sees no reason to consider changing this as he told CargoForwarder Global that the quality and customer orientation which LTC manpower brings with them fits in well with LUG’s policy of customer quality comes first.
Patrik states that he is impressed with the way in which LTC training sessions are held and the fact that when staff trained by LTC join LUG, that integration into LUG’s processes and work procedures is completed speedily.
He also stressed the advantage of LTC trainers who accompany new staff as this means his supervisors can get on with the day-to-day work.
Mr Tschirch is convinced that it’s quality which counts for customer satisfaction.
This he states is especially important in today’s air cargo handling world where security aspects as well as DGR handling and documentation are way on top of the list of customer priorities.
Therefore, he states, transferring the quality from properly trained personnel into LUG’s system is important and the best service can only be given when quality is no issue.
He adds, “quality can’t be picked up on the street and it also costs money.”
The majority of LUG’s handling and documentation staff are company employees, but there are also around 15 percent who are supplied by LTC and a couple of other companies.
Patrik Tschirch, as do other handling managers, are finding it increasingly hard to attract suitable staff directly and are, he says, grateful for companies such as LTC who supply the finished product.
Air cargo handling, he says, is not a classical business whereby young people fall over themselves to join. Other industries are paying higher wages and offer more attractive working hours.
LUG is continuing to work on fine-tuning their business plan for the coming years.
Mr Tschirch says that the misery of 2013 has been put behind them and he expects that 2016 will be the year of turnaround for LUG.
He and his team are planning the development of a new pharmaceutical handling centre within the present premises, although he would not reveal details on how far this concept has come.
His company is also presently working on a list of new tenders for potential airline partners, her adds.
Where does LTC go in the future?
Where does Elke waster see herself and the company within the next ten years?
The company presently has fifteen own administrative staff along with between 45 - 50 part-time staff on the training side.
LTC is a family built up business and Max Wasser, Elke’s son joined the company some time back and is responsible for personnel management.
One could assume that he will take up the reins in the future.
However, Elke Wasser is not yet ready to stand down and has some further plans in the drawer.
She would, for example like to see the company expand now within Germany and at a later stage in other parts of the European handling arena.
High on her list is the implementation of a specialized Pharmaceutical Training Programme, which she feels should be actioned as soon as possible.
She would like to see LTC being in a position to set standards for all aspects of air cargo training in most European countries and position itself as the leading agency in this respect.
Elke Wasser decided that LTC should become a member of the FRA Air Cargo Community (FACC) and although she surely has enough work on her plate, she agreed to be chairwoman of the Human Capital section as she strongly believes there is much to be done in convincing the FRA air cargo community on how to guide and train future personnel.
It’s a long road, but with a motivated team, the journey maybe becomes shorter.
John Mc Donagh