Training for logistics starts as early as high school, as a branch of the technology sector in Technical Institutes present in various Italian cities and continues in university courses or post-graduate courses. For example, Bocconi University offers MEMIT Master in Management of Transport, Infrastructure and Supply Chain
, a high-level training course aimed at acquiring managerial skills for planning and managing activities in the supply chain and transport sector.
There are various professional roles and opportunities for such training courses, from logistics supervisor to customs agent, to warehouse technician or intermodal terminal manager. The employment rates reported by these institutes are very high, up to 90-95%. In a company like FERCAM, junior professionals find positions in operational roles dedicated to transport planning, for example. These positions are highly appropriate for professionals with a technical spirit, who apply analytical thinking and aspire towards a dynamic activity that has a real impact and offers interesting perspectives of diversified specialization. Those with a more commercial character, on the other hand, will find development opportunities thanks to paths dedicated to junior sales: coaching and practical training in operational offices, commercial back office activities and subsequent transition to a sales role, with an annual budget and challenging individual targets.
Technical skills, but more than just that
The beating heart of the training programs naturally consists of specific technical skills and practical working methods for the organization and delivery of logistics and transport services. Central the acquisition of competence in managing the flow of goods and the related flow of information, in analyzing costs and revenues and in applying administrative procedures and transport regulations, always with a view toward the constant monitoring of quality and aiming at continuous improvement and optimization.
"Technical skills are of course an indispensable basis, but they are not enough to build a complete professional profile," explains Ylenia Vincenzi, HR Recruiter. "In the search for the right person to fit the company, what often makes the difference are interpersonal and individual management skills, the so-called soft skills. Not all training courses are focused on this aspect, but I find the institutions where students are given the opportunity to gain experience in this area commendable".
Through teamwork, for example, one understands how good team dynamics are essential to achieve positive results, how the different skills of one member can support the shortcomings of another and vice versa. Also essential is the focus on clear and correct communication, which makes processing times more efficient and minimizes the possibility of errors due to misunderstanding. Also the learning of time management techniques is crucial for individual work organization and task prioritization, to be able to manage activities even in times of stress.
The importance of experience in the field
Given the practical and highly operational nature of the logistic industry, the best study plans involve combining theoretical knowledge with direct experience in the field alongside accounts from experts in the field, as well as business case studies and guided tours of warehouses or logistics hubs.
Group projects, involving the application of the technical knowledge learned, make it possible to understand the connections between the various study topics and thus overcome the compartmentalized approach typical in school organizations, which is in itself limiting because it does not correspond to the needs of the world of work. Seeing and understanding the full range of operational sequences and cycles, knowing how to identify and solve bottlenecks, and dealing with the client's needs, will be enriching training steps for students.
The best way to experience work environments and get concrete experience, as well as to identify your potential career path, is to spend a period of internship at a company in the sector, opportunities that many companies offer, working directly with educational institutions. Last year, FERCAM offered 70 internships, some of which led to permanent employment.
The collaboration between FERCAM and the Istituto Tecnico Superiore di Novara
Thanks to its strategic territorial location, close to Malpensa airport and important highway junctions, Novara has over time acquired an increasingly decisive role for national and international logistics. It is here, in fact, that the Fondazione ITS per la Mobilità Sostenibile Aerospazio/Meccatronica("ITS Foundation for Sustainable Aerospace/Mechatronics Mobility"), a Piedmontese higher technical education institution, runs the course Tecnico Superiore per l’Infomobilità e le infrastrutture logistiche
(“Senior Technician for Infomobility and Logistics Infrastructure”).
The postgraduate course, which is accessible after selection, aims to train professionals who meet the real demand of the labor market, supporting the integration between technical-scientific training and corporate reality. Out of the total of 1800 hours, 650 are work experience periods in companies and at least 50% of them involve external teaching, thanks to the synergy with local companies, which provide students with the expertise of their experienced staff. This is a highly specialized two-year course, with teaching modules in English, at the end of which students obtain a 5th level higher technical diploma in Industrial and Integrated Logistics, recognized at the European level.
The curriculum is broad and varied, with learning objectives such as planning, implementing and monitoring services and systems for storage, handling and transport of goods, as well as being able to employ equipment and resources throughout the logistics chain, management software and related flows of information and documents. The customs regulations for international shipments, the regulations for Incoterms, and visits to Malpensa airport and Serravalle interport hub are organized, in addition to the obligatory work placement.
In the last two years, FERCAM has collaborated extensively with ITS, offering numerous internship opportunities at its city headquarters and in Rho. Alessandro Francese, who currently works in the logistics department of Novara, started his career in the company with an internship experience as part of the course. "I was already interested in the world of logistics before starting this study path" says Alessandro "I was fascinated by the idea of optimizing the management of resources and handling workflows, of finding increasingly efficient, precise and innovative solutions. It is a study course that ranges from mechanics and 3D design to aeronautics and supply chain management. The branch I chose is in many ways similar to a managerial engineering course, but it is much more practical, faster and more focused on approaching the workplace".