The background to the new R20-million Imperial Logistics Academy recently opened in Germiston is perhaps best explained by the fact that the CEO of Imperial Holdings, Mark Lamberti, is heading off to Harvard University in February next year for the 22nd time in his career for yet another training course.
We say this because when training is believed in and driven from the top as an organisational culture, it works and the company thrives. As most in the industry know, Imperial Logistics is thriving and one of the main reasons for this is because of the heavy accent it places on the training of its people – right from the top.
“Last year alone the group spent R170-million on training and development investing 715 000 training hours in developing our people,” says Lamberti.
This effort has now been taken to another level with the opening of the Imperial Logistics Centre as a natural step in the evolution of the group’s education and development efforts.
“Imperial has always strived to be an employer of choice and a learning organisation so we’re not new to training. When we recognised the need to move to the next level and establish an accredited in-house training facility to up-skill our people, the Imperial Logistics Academy was born,” says Marius Swanepoel, CEO of Imperial Logistics.
The academy provides customised, integrated training and development programmes that are aligned with national qualifications, as well as practical short courses to address specific skills development and career advancement needs.
“In addition, the academy enables graduates to enter the supply chain and logistics industry through graduate development and Learnership programmes,” says Swanepoel. “A dedicated graduate development manager engages with further and higher education institutions on a continuous basis to reach graduates around the country. Guest lecturing is offered and the academy also participates in career days to maintain a close relationship with higher and further education institutions. A key strategy is to build a pipeline of graduates to feed into the Imperial Logistics internships and bursary schemes.”
All training is customised to reflect the Imperial approach and encompass Imperial Logistics’ best practice. “Subject matter expertise drawn from within the organisation enhances the training programmes and skilled Imperial Logistics people contribute to content development and offer guest lecturing and mentorship. This means that skills are transferred both internally within the group and externally, to develop the broader supply chain industry.”
In line with Imperial Logistics’ vision to expand its African footprint, the Academy is also affiliated with the Imperial Health Sciences Supply Chain Academy, which is one of Africa’s leading providers of training and development for people working in the continent’s public health supply chain.
“As the Imperial Logistics Academy’s African partner, it offers training and skills development beyond South Africa’s borders to health and logistics practitioners in public health facilities, government health departments and private logistics companies,” says Swanepoel.
Also complementing the Imperial Logistics Academy’s offerings is its collaboration with Ikaheng HR Services, a group company that focuses on operator and legal compliance training.
The Imperial Logistics Academy also aims to drive industry cooperation, partnerships and knowledge sharing. The Academy is closely affiliated with the Transport Education and Training Authority, as well as other leading industry associations, such as the Road Freight Association; SAPICS and CIMA.
“At Imperial Logistics, we believe the right solutions and services are meaningless without skilled people to adopt, implement and support them. Through the Imperial Logistics Academy, we aim to get the best from our people and help them get ahead, as well as advancing the supply chain and logistics industry as a whole,” says Swanepoel.
The culture of training its people has been recognised in the past with Imperial being awarded the ‘SAPICS Corporate Educator of the Year’ award and – here’s an interesting one – the South African Graduate Recruiters Association’s ‘Graduate Employer of Choice’ award.
In an environment where overall education and training in South Africa seems to have taken a back-seat, FleetWatch compliments Imperial Logistics on this initiative. It’s the right stuff.