Hermes’ Wendy Davis on why developing up-and-coming talent is crucial to ensure the future prosperity of the logistics sector.

The new series of The Apprentice is under way and, despite the show being in its 12th year, Lord Sugar grilling the applicants still makes fantastic viewing.

However, whilst the multimillion-pound tycoon likes to throw his contestants in at the deep end, the wise decision would be to support and nurture your own apprentices and graduates if you want a truly engaged workforce.



Aldi was the highest-placed retailer in The Times’ Top 100 Graduate Employers

The Times recently published its Top 100 Graduate Employers and it was interesting to see eight retailers made the list, topped by PwC. Aldi was the highest-placed retailer (second), followed by Lidl (14th), John Lewis (18th) and Tesco (32nd).

Support and nurture your own apprentices and graduates if you want a truly engaged workforce

Wendy Davis, Hermes

Whilst these 100 companies are being heralded for their investment in young people, they’ll be the ones ultimately rewarded for their commitment to developing up-and-coming talent. As explained on this blog earlier this month, it’s hard to ignore the rising influence of the millennial generation. However, understanding their behaviour and motivations is simply not enough. It’s vital for both the retail and logistics industries to also invest in the business leaders of tomorrow in order to secure a bright future.

Success stories

Hermes’ graduate scheme has been running for almost five years and each year we take on average four graduates within our operations team and a further three in the IT department. Those graduates joining the operations team will work in rotation, covering hubs, depots, field teams and central services. The objective is to give graduates the chance to experience different elements of the business, to understand the parcel’s journey and the different challenges faced by different departments every day. This helps each graduate to discover where their personal strengths may lie and helps us ascertain where they can best flourish.

In addition to our graduates, we also have a number of ambitious and eager apprentices

Wendy Davis, Hermes

One success story is Chris Smith, assistant divisional manager in the South Field Team, who joined Hermes via the graduate scheme in 2013. Chris was really happy to roll his sleeves up, jump into any situation and learn the ropes. As a result he has gained some incredibly useful skills that will stand him in good stead for the future. He has recently moved from depot management into field management and I’m sure he will be playing a key role at Hermes for many years to come.

In addition to our graduates, we also have a number of ambitious and eager apprentices, two of whom are currently placed within the marketing department and have completed their NVQ qualifications.

Wendy Davis

It is absolutely crucial for logistics providers to follow the example being set by those retailers in the Top 100 list by working alongside the millennial generation if we are to evolve and grow for the better. Yes, we can offer them a great career but we can also learn from them, their attitude towards customer service, retail habits and technology, which all continue to define our industry.

  • Wendy Davis, head of resourcing, Hermes