Equipment and space are investments that can be owned by anyone. But attracting, training and retaining the best people is a culture, says Franco Azzopardi, chairman and CEO of Express Trailers.

The Express Trailers Training Academy was set up with the specific aim to provide Express Trailers’ employees with ongoing training based on a structured and long-term plan. The intention is driven by the way we do things at Express Trailers because we do not just hire people, but we provide them with ample opportunities for career progression based on transmitted experience and knowledge aimed at heightening capabilities and experience. Indeed, we do not just employ people – we train them to become experts in logistics.

The transport and logistics sectors are very dynamic and constantly evolving. To be able to retain our expertise, our people need to remain abreast with the latest developments. In fact, through this academy, we will be training them in the art of logistics, be it on the road, at customer level, in operations, planning, administration and management.

I acknowledge the importance for companies like Express Trailers to harness the wealth of knowledge that exists and that is held by many of its key people.

Harnessing this knowledge and passing it on is part of good succession planning every company needs to be looking at. Key experts in companies are always very busy and no one knows what would happen if one day these key people decide to leave. The academy is part of our long-term strategy to make sure this knowledge keeps being passed on to ensure business continuity.

In fact, besides the specialised training courses delivered by accredited bodies and online courses which the employees may follow in their own time and at their own pace, we will also be involving our mature employees, heads of departments, managers and even retirees.

The first course will be an online course on International Commercial Terms and Documentation. Also known as ‘incoterms’, these are standard contract terms used in sales contracts in the import/export markets to define responsibility and liability for shipment of the goods. Other topics will include GDPR, procedures related to safety and security, as well as courses on soft skills.

Our aim is to be a positive experience

Express Trailers has always been a market leader, especially in the way it does things.

We do not see the return on investment in monetary terms but more as a barometric reading of employee satisfaction. We only look ahead of the game. Perhaps others will follow. There are employers who are afraid of investing in their employees because these might eventually move to competition. We think differently and expect any over-spill of people trained by us moving into the industry to transmit a contagion of good practice. There is absolutely nothing wrong there. Ultimately, I know that an initiative like this will not only help us develop our current workforce but also build the next generation of employees.

From a customer’s perspective, they will know they are working with a company whose workforce is being trained in speaking the same language and working in the same style, using the same high-tech systems and equipment, is mindful of ethics, health and safety and manners.

We are positive that our people will embrace this initiative that will help them in their self-development path. Personally, I also look at this as a differentiator that strengthens Express Trailers’ reputation as a good employer constantly seeking to not only hire but train its people into becoming logistics experts.

The question one tends to ask is, what kind of return one could expect from this investment and how this initiative fits into the company’s long-term strategy.

Our aim has always been to be a positive experience and a strong currency on the Curriculum Vitae of our people, even if they ever decide to move on to other jobs. Ultimately, as leaders in the industry, we also believe it is in our interest to see the industry grow not only in terms of numbers but more holistically, especially in the quality of service it offers.