“Those were the days my friend. We thought they'd never end…” words the Welsh folk singer, Mary Hopkin, sang back in 1968. That the good times should never end was also the cargo
industry’s expectation for many years. However, given the many crises over the past decades, this was more a case of sweet dreaming.
Yet, never before has the air freight business been shaken as badly as by the current Covid-19 pandemic.
This crisis not only existentially affects airlines and forwarders, but also companies playing an important side role in the huge air freight industry, such as the Training Logistic Center (LTC), based in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt, that coaches candidates and qualifies applicants seeking a job in logistics.
Empty classrooms, deserted floors, with only some of the 18 LTC trainers and administration staff having come in to carry out their job using the technical equipment in their office.
This is the current situation at the headquarters of the Logistics Training Center, a specialist in coaching and qualifying personnel in the field of freight forwarding, cargo ground handling, or to become customs experts. “Normally our training rooms are very well staffed, because we have various in-house courses running here permanently, in which up to 80 or even 90 applicants are continuously trained and prepared for practical work, ending with final audits conducted by experts of the local Chamber of Commerce,” MD Elke Wasser states.
Modular structured learning programs
LTC is by far the most important education and qualification provider in Germany and Central Europe in the field of logistics and air freight. It offers different modular courses, geared at career beginners, those requiring training refreshers, or applicants intending to upgrade their skills to perform tailor-made jobs in the transport industry.
Due to the seminars’ modular structure – 45% theory, 55% practical training - LTC has agreements with forwarding agents, ground handlers. and airports where trainees learn the practical part of their course. Partners are firms such as logistics agent Dachser, ground handler LUG aircargo handling, Frankfurt Cargo Service, Air Canada Cargo, DSV, Lufthansa Cargo, or Swissport, to name but a few of the 40-plus cooperating firms. There they learn, for instance, how to properly handle dangerous goods, how to frame build up pallets (BUPs), which customs regulations exist in different countries, or what specialist knowledge a certified logistics trader needs to have to do his job successfully, to name just some of the educational objectives offered by the LTC coaches.
Important supplier of manpower
“In view of the enormous shortage of skilled workers in the industry, companies are practically lining up to hire a graduate whom we have trained,” Mrs. Wasser reports. The same applies to LTC training courses held in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich or Berlin, where local applicants are also qualified or retrained to start a new professional career.
As mentioned, theoretical training was conducted in-house up to now. The course participants and their trainers sat in classrooms and went through the contents of the learning program together.
Online instead of in-house
Meanwhile, everything has changed. “After the closure of all educational institutions as ordered by the authorities, we immediately switched to online training. This is done - for the practical part of the training programs - in close consultation with companies where trainees are gathering experience,” Elke Wasser says.
To minimize the risk of Covid-19 infection, the 18 LTC employees, including its coaches, are working from home. They coordinate their activities with their trainees and carry out everyday tasks via regular video conferences. “This way we secure the continuity of the training programs and qualify our course participants to successfully complete their training by passing their final examinations,” Mrs. Wasser concludes.
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