A global freight forwarding company based in Aberdeen is delivering something truly special – an apprenticeship scheme aimed at redressing the industry’s skills shortages.
Pentagon Freight Services is already renowned for safely shipping complex oil and gas equipment around the world.
But now the company is taking three young recruits on a very different kind of journey, one that will set them on a career path.
Chief executive Ashley Taylor said: “Pentagon Freight Services has been established for over 45 years and our people are our most important asset.
“It is important that our business continues to attract and retain talent and this new initiative delivers our ongoing commitment to encourage and develop prospective talent for the future.
“We are excited to launch our new Apprenticeship Programme, as we continue to follow our Mission to be recognised as the Best-In-Class Freight Forwarding & Logistics Service Provider to the Energy & Resource industries.
“The start of my career in the logistics industry, is very similar to that of the new apprentices in our Apprenticeship Programme.
“During my early years in the industry, I was encouraged to complete industry specific education and training, gaining business qualifications in the logistics arena over several years of study.
“Combined with all-round experience obtained whilst working, this has provided me with the skills for a long and successful career in the logistics industry.”
Sarah Palmer, General Manager at Pentagon, is behind the new initiative, having started her own career straight from school.
She said: “Since the downturn of the oil and gas industry a few years ago it became evident to us there was a distinct lack of fresh talent coming through recruitment channels.
“Because there isn’t a natural apprenticeship for freight forwarders in Scotland we decided to take the matter into our own hands by creating an in-house training programme.
“It’s wonderful to be offering school leavers from the local community this kind of opportunity and for Pentagon to be nurturing homegrown talent.”
The new-recruits – Cerys Farmer, 18, Jay Morrison, 18, and Liam Ritchie, 19 – will each undergo 15 weeks of training within the operations team.
Based in the Dyce office, they will deal with everything from providing job quotations to meeting clients, as well as arranging shipments and custom clearance.
Cerys and Jay’s mums both work in freight and encouraged their children to pursue careers in the field.
Cerys, who attended Oldmachar Academy, said: “I’m enjoying learning new things, which is hands-on rather than just theory.
“No two days are the same.”
Liam, 19, a former Inverurie Academy pupil, said: “I was looking for a career and it sounded interesting, so I decided to just go for it.
“I’ve come in with an open mind and I look forward to learning as much as I can.”
The Aberdeen office is the first to start up the scheme, and Pentagon are looking to roll it out to the other five UK offices over the next few years.
Jackie Webster, Commercial Manager at Pentagon, said the scheme reflected the firm’s “can do” attitude.
She said: “We are now in contact with the schools around the city and Aberdeenshire.
“It’s new to us all and we are learning together.
“We decided to develop school leavers because in-house we have the very best people to train them.
“We are very much looking long term and quite honestly the future has never looked brighter.”
Finally, a word from the chief executive.
Ashley said: “My advice to young aspiring logistics professionals is to embrace all opportunities offered, with a positive and can-do attitude.
“Passion and persistence, together with a desire to attain the necessary skills, will ensure a successful and long-term career in the logistics industry.
“It is important that we challenge ourselves every day and have the drive to succeed, while adding value to the business and our customers.
“The journey throughout my career has been extremely satisfying, rewarding and enjoyable.
“Passion to succeed and provide strategic leadership, growth and vision to the Group remains my key priority.”