A new college dedicated to training people in areas such as transport planning and warehouse operations has opened at the vast Magna Park site in south Leicestershire.
The Centre for Logistics Education and Research – or CLEAR – is being operated by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College is working in collaboration with supply chain partner Wincanton and Magna Park owner GLP.
The college, on the outskirts of Lutterworth, close to junction 20 of the M1, is the heart of a logistics “golden triangle” – with the biggest concentration of logistics operations in Britain.
The facility was first mooted about five years ago as part of a huge expansion of Magna Park, which is the biggest distribution park in Europe, smack bang in the middle of the country.
Magna Park has 13 million sq ft of floor space across 40 buildings and has 35 tenants – with plans to grow to 16 million sq ft over 1,350 acres on its northern and southern sides.
When fully operational the centre will have up to 1,000 students and provide courses in areas such as planning and supply chain operations; engineering maintenance, repair, design and automation; business support roles including customer service, HR, marketing; and accountancy and digital skills including software development and cybersecurity.
CLEAR is currently based at Bittesby House within the Magna Park Northern, and will eventually move to a bespoke facility.
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College principal Marion Plant OBE FCGI said: “Our ambitions for CLEAR are based on offering a holistic one-stop-shop training service both from its base at Magna Park and also remotely online, enabling a flexible skills pathway tailored to meet the needs of specific businesses and providing individuals with well-defined opportunities to progress their careers.
“Businesses can train one or many members of their team with flexible start dates and bespoke provision and students will be able to move seamlessly between training partners as their development needs progress and skills gaps are identified, improving retention, and driving down costs.
Dean Clamp, group operations director at Wincanton, said: “Over recent years we have seen how much the UK relies on the ability of its logistics and supply chain operators to keep the shelves stocked in essential retail outlets.
“As client demand increases efficiencies, higher safety standards and greater sustainability, we need to act smarter as a sector and make sure that we are attracting, developing, and retaining the highly skilled individuals on which our business relies.”
GLP planning director Gwyn Stubbings said: “As the UK and Europe’s largest and most successful dedicated logistics park, it is fantastic to be able deliver CLEAR within that environment.
“This is a truly pioneering and exciting initiative that is focused on logistics led research, innovation, education, and training at the heart of Magna Park.
“Situated as part of the Magna Park Northern expansion, CLEAR provides students and businesses with the opportunity to immerse themselves in Magna Park as the ‘classroom’ and be an integral part of the ongoing growth and evolution of Magna Park into the UK’s top logistics cluster.”
The official launch on September 30 will be attended by Wincanton chief executive James Wroath, Screwfix logistics director Ian Howe and UK Warehousing Association chief executive Clare Bottle, among others.