The transport and logistics sector is a major employer in the UK, without it most businesses would come to a standstill. This sector includes sourcing and purchasing of goods and services, from merchandising and transport to supply chain and procurement, there are plenty of roles within this sector to pick from. Moreover, increasing investment in the transport network and the growing importance of logistics make this sector a great place to search for your ideal graduate career.
Where do I start?
Within the transport and logistics sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.
- Air cabin crew
- Air traffic controller
- Airline pilot
- Freight forwarder
- IT consultant
- Logistics and distribution manager
- Maintenance engineer
- Marketing executive
- Merchant navy officer
- Passenger transport manager
- Transport planner
- Supply Chain Manager
As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews:
- British International Freight Association – The trade association for UK-registered companies engaged in international movement of freight by all modes of transport – air, road, rail and sea.
- Logistics Manager – Online resource bringing supply chain professionals the latest industry news and features, case studies and forthcoming events.
- Transportinfo – This website aims to bring together all the daily news stories relating to transport policy in the UK including stories from the BBC, newspapers and other online news sites.
Undertaking work experience is invaluable in all-important transferable skills, which will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to this area of work. The key skills required in this sector include: commercial awareness, organisational skills, analytical and problem solving skills, good communication, and people and project management experience. Formal internship programmes are limited, DHL, for example, offers one. Think about small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who may well not advertise formal work experience placements, it is worth considering a speculative approach to enquire about possible opportunities to gain experience.
Finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV in our complete CV guide. The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time.
Volunteer to get practical experience
Approaching local organisations, charities or community groups who would benefit from your skills is one way of gaining that all-important experience. The competencies developed will be invaluable and enhance any speculative applications you make.
The Careers and Employability Service offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank, which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies.
Examples of support roles that the Volunteering Team have previously advertised and recruited for include:
- Administration Volunteer with The Roberts Centre – assisting with a variety of administrative tasks, including data inputting, statistics collection and inputting and dealing with enquiries over the telephone.
- Volunteer Coordinator with Citizens Advice Portsmouth – managing volunteers, agreeing work roles, individual duties and working arrangements with each volunteer. Coordinating the induction programme and training.
- Workshop Quality Assessor Volunteer – monitoring the workshops delivered by the organisation, ensuring that the quality of the courses meet the required standards and preparing written updates to the manager of the programme.
If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to instigate voluntary work experience during the vacation periods please refer to the 'External sites' on the voluntary work experience section of our website.
Tips to build experience
- Do your research to identify large companies and organisations that offer work experience placements.
- Think broadly and creatively about how you might develop relevant transferable skills, for example, volunteering in the organisation of an event for a University society will give you the opportunity to practice many relevant transferable skills.
- Consider all roles that might give you some real-life related work experience: a manual job in a warehouse for example will give you an understanding of the process of getting goods from A to B, and give you some exposure to the management challenges this involves.
- Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
- Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers – see our LinkedIn and Social Media section for further guidance.
Finding a job
Roles in this sector are numerous and varied: from transport planners and transport managers, to management roles in operations, HR, finance and IT. Employer sectors include logistics companies who supply or distribute on behalf of clients such as supermarkets or hospitals and are sometimes referred to as third-party logistics companies; supply chain companies who are selling directly to consumers, these are predominantly retailers; logistics consultants who advise clients on how to improve business logistics efficiency; engineering companies; architect/design practices and consultants; local government; and transport providers.
Employers who recruit in these areas
- DHL – International postal and logistics group Deutsche Post DHL. Graduates can be fast-tracked into a logistics management position after completing its 24-month operations programme. The programme consists of two 12-month placements in different areas of the business.
- Morrisons – Food and grocery retailer, offers two-year graduate scheme. Applications for the 2016 programmes open in September for graduates with a 2.1 in any degree discipline and 280 UCAS points.
- Damco (Maersk) – Freight forwarding and supply chain management provider. It runs an international graduate programme that lasts two years.
- Network Rail – Operates and own Britain’s rail infrastructure. It runs, develops and maintains rail tracks, signalling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings and viaducts.
- Unilever – Consumer goods company behind brands such as Persil, Dove, Magnum and Flora. Its two-year supply chain management programme includes four rotations and offers graduates the opportunity to work internationally. The application process includes an online application form, online test, telephone interview and selection day.
- Tesco – Grocery and general merchandise retailer, runs a distribution graduate programme that lasts 1–2 years and has a 2.1 entry requirement.
- Kerry Group – Provides ingredients and solutions for the food, drink and pharmaceuticals industries. It runs a two-year graduate programme in supply-chain.
- Mott Macdonald – Management, engineering and development consultancy, runs a transport graduate programme. They typically recruit graduates with a 2.1 or above in geography, mathematics, transport planning, town planning and some other related disciplines.
- Arup – Firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists with 15 offices throughout the UK. It recruits graduates with relevant degrees for transport or town planning roles.
Useful websites to help you start your job search
- Jobs in Transport – A recruitment website for all transport professionals including transportation planning roles.
- Careers At Sea – Merchant Navy career opportunities.
- Logistics Manager – The latest logistics jobs for supply chain professionals including distribution, logistics, warehouse and transport positions.
- TotalJobs - Careers in Logistics – A Jobsite for logistics and supply chain jobs including aviation, freight forwarding, transport management and warehousing.
- Aviation Job Search – A jobs board with vacancies in the aviation sector, searchable by job title, category and location.
Tips for finding a job
- Keep up to date with transport and logistics news and trends by following the professional bodies on twitter, this information might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
- Keep your online job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
- If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within the environment check out the specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.
- Most companies have a Twitter and/or Facebook account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities .
If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.
- Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply – global professional body working for the purchasing and supply professions; providing support and training.
- Department for Transport – Works on all areas of transport and delivers up-to-date information on policies and legislation.
- Logistics UK – Represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. This website contains the latest news, key issues and careers information.
- NATS – Give you an idea of what it’s like to work for NATS including the working environment, where you will fit in, career paths and vacancies.
- Transport Planning Society – Here you can find out more about what the Transport Planning Society do, read the latest transport planning news, find details of upcoming events and discover which professional qualifications and training are available to you.
The Careers and Employability Service offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:
- Career options
- Further study
- CV and covering letters
- Application forms
- Job search
We have an online jobs board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised job matching service.
You can also access our services by calling or emailing us:
Email us: email@example.com
Phone us: +44 (0)2392 842684