Prominent food service logistics provider, PFD Food Services, has announced it has  taken an innovative approach to addressing the skills shortage in the logistics and transport sector through the launch of what it is calling,  the  PFD Academy, which is in collaboration with FranConnect’s learning and development solutions.

The company says the  PFD Academy aims to attract and retain staff by offering ‘upskilling opportunities to employees, enabling them to attain accredited ‘Certificate III’ qualifications in ‘Business-to-business Sales’ or ‘Supply Chain Operations’ as they work and train at PFD Foods.

The company says that the qualifications offered by PFD Foods are administered by a registered training organisation and are considered national qualifications, to the same level as the Certificate III level offered in a TAFE or during an apprenticeship.  The company says they will stay with each employee for their professional career.

“There is a national skills shortage in some areas of our industry, and PFD Foods wants to attract the best talent, keep the best talent, and train our team to be the best. The job market is fierce, and we are demonstrating to our current and prospective employees that we are doing more for our team members than the next company,” said Kylie Baldac, PFD Food’s learning  and development manager.

“We are looking to cultivate our own talent and bring people on our training and development journey using this new qualification program. Our employees know we are investing in them by providing them with this opportunity at no cost to them.”

Implemented through its online training platform, The Pantry, which is built on FranConnect, employees can undertake their training via their smartphones at a time and place that is convenient to them. The PFD Foods workplace training content that they complete for their role is mapped onto the requirements needed to complete the Cert III qualification they choose, with additional training added to bridge the gaps. The team members then continue to complete a series of assessments to attain their Cert III.

“PFD Foods offers two paths to qualifications that employees can choose to follow,” Kylie added. “Sales or customer service employees can opt for the ‘Business to Business Sales’ Cert III that teaches the trainees how to sell products to other businesses, as well as how to build relationships with other businesses for commercial value.”

“Employees in our warehouses or drivers in our vehicles can choose to complete the Certificate III in ‘Supply Chain Operations’ that teaches trainees how to move and relocate materials safely, assess the risks involved with relocating loads, to understand the chain of responsibility, safety and relevant documentation knowledge, and among other topics.”

PFD says the whole program has been built on FranConnect’s ‘World Manager’  learning and development platform by PFD’s training partner, Academy Ink.

The company says that they created the content, mapped the assessment against training criteria, and bridged any gaps between PFD’s internal training, and the requirements for each Cert III qualification. The qualification program is administered, and certifications are accredited, by registered training organisation, The Management Edge.

“With the capabilities of the FranConnect platform, and our partners, Academy Ink and The Management Edge, it’s very low involvement from us and the program runs itself,” added Kylie Baldac.

“Given it is all online, and involves normal daily tasks, our team members can complete the course on the job, with minimal time away from normal duties. It’s been a huge success people participating from all states and branches across our network.”

PFD says that FranConnect and its  Learning and Development System enabled PFD’s training program to be available anywhere, at any time.

“For our existing team, completing training around their work can be a challenge, so a mobile-first training platform makes a huge difference to them. Once their shift finishes, our staff have the option to complete some training, for professional and personal development, at a time suitable to them.” Baldac added.

With an industry-wide skills shortage PFD Food Services  says it sees this as something other logistics and transport providers should follow.

“As an industry we need to continue investing in our people to keep the sector going. All organisations need to train more, and train more efficiently. We’re happy to be doing our part,” Baldac added.

PFD Food Services operates across 60 sites nationally, with a fleet of more than 600 trucks on the road delivering wholesale food and fresh produce to hospitality venues, cafes, hospitals, restaurants, pubs, and a variety of other locations where meals are served.