‘Labour shortage in the industry is not only a matter of quantity’

Image: Shutterstock. papa1266

One of the current issues in the rail and port sectors is the shortage of personnel while the demand keeps increasing. Federica Catani, Director of Scuola Nazionale Trasporti e Logistica, will participate in the RailFreight Connects discussing this issue when it comes to the Italian context. We had a chat with her in a preview of the event and she mentioned that it is not always a matter of sheer numbers.

In Bremen, Catani will discuss how the shortage of workers can be seen both as a quantitative and qualitative one. The former applies, for example, with train conductors, for which the demand does not meet the offer. On the other hand, there are some skills that need to be constantly upgraded and cannot be standardised. This ever-changing ecosystem has always been there, but with the many innovations in the various sectors its pace is growing exponentially, making it increasingly harder to keep up.

Catani pointed out that the shortage of workers in the industry is a very complex issue with very complex causes. The Scuola Nazionale Trasporti e Logistica acts as an observatory, creating training programs according to the challenges and demands of the industry. “We constantly monitor the situation so that we can always be ready to write programs that are up-to-date and relevant”, Catani said.

Image: © Federica Catani

‘The MoU from the government shows maturity’

“We need to have a dialogue that involves all the players involved, from the enterprise to the institutions, the associations, and the training centres”, Catani stressed. To this end, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian railway holding Ferrovie dello Stato and the country’s Ministers of Transport and Education is a sign of awareness and maturity. “The school, training, and job systems are not autonomous, they need to be in constant dialogue”.

Catani mentioned the FerMerci In Formazione initiative as well. Despite only one meeting having been organised so far, she claims that it was a chance to show students what the world of logistics has to offer professionally. “Former students that have recently started working in these sectors participated too, which is always interesting because it almost feels like a peer-to-peer process”.

‘If you promise a contract, training courses become more appealing’

Applications to training courses in Italy over the past few years decreased nationwide, Catani specified. The transport and logistics sector, however, seemed to have absorbed the hit better than other industries. “I think a significant part of this positive trend is that many of our courses end with a contract from a company, it’s never only about giving out certificates”, she underlined. Providing students with options for their professional future seems to make courses and jobs more appealing. “A few years ago, students would be in touch with enterprises much later. Now, the industry seems to better understand how important it is to be involved from the start”, she concluded.

RailFreight Connects

The synergies between ports, terminals, and rail infrastructure have recently been under the spotlight, especially in Europe, where ports are increasingly investing in improving rail connectivity. The RailFreight Connects, which will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bremen, Germany, on 6 and 7 September, will be the perfect opportunity for the industry to discuss how these synergies can be boosted. In addition to Catani, representatives from the ports of Genoa and Bilbao, Nevomo, Lohr, DIE GÜTERBAHNEN, UIRR, and more are among the already confirmed speakers. You can find out more about the RailFreight Connects here and retrieve your tickets here.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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