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A degree to inspire tomorrow’s supply chain professionals

Supply chain and logistics is a fast paced, exciting career that is all about delivering everything we need in our modern lives, every day. Yet too often, high-calibre young people choose to study other subjects, unaware of the excellent career prospects that the industry offers.


What if young people could study for a specialist degree in logistics and supply chain management secure in the knowledge that, on successful graduation, they are guaranteed graduate employment with a leading employer?

It’s a powerful proposition at a time when the unemployment rate for recent graduates is 9 per cent, according to ONS data published in November, while almost half (47 per cent) of those employed are in non-graduate roles. It could also help fill the gaping skills gap in logistics and supply chain management.


As CEO of supply chain and logistics recruitment company, BiS Henderson, Andy Kaye was acutely aware of this issue and was driven to develop the NOVUS Trust in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT). He and his founding team of Chris Kingshott, Managing Director, Manufacturing Division of Wincanton; Paul Brooks – who has just joined BiS Henderson from Unipart; Chris Chaplin, implementation director at Marks & Spencer and Neil McConchie, chairman and Chief Executive of Lloyd Fraser launched the scheme in February 2013 and the first NOVUS students enrolled on the pilot course at Huddersfield last September.


NOVUS is already backed by 22 leading prominent retailers, manufacturers and logistics organisations including: B&Q, Sainsbury’s, DHL, BiS Henderson, Premier Foods, Hoyer, Network Rail, Travis Perkins, Lafarge-Tarmac, Cummins, Arla Foods, Clipper, Hermes, Smiths News, Brakes, Unipart Logistics, Lloyd Fraser, Palletways, DixonsRetails, ASOS, Uniserve and Wincanton. The list will keep growing as new sponsoring companies back the scheme, offering NOVUS degree students an exciting choice of employers.


Kaye explained: “The NOVUS scheme is all about attracting and developing the future leaders that the logistics & supply chain industry needs. The students will benefit, and so will the companies in the scheme because they will have a new pipeline of talent equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed.”


As the first NOVUS students commence their second term, what can young people seeking to follow their footsteps in September 2014 expect?


Following a company-led selection process, successful students will study for a four-year sandwich course leading to a BSc (Hons) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Huddersfield. The degree course will be funded by student fees, financed through the student loan system in the usual way. In addition, the NOVUS Trust and its sponsoring companies will provide a range of valuable benefits and opportunities.


During the course, students will have a company mentor, participate in industry-led seminars and site visits, and study for additional professional qualifications, as well as enjoying paid vacation and sandwich-year placements with leading employers. Most importantly, the NOVUS Trust will guarantee an offer of graduate employment with one of the supporting companies on successful completion of the programme.


To qualify for the guarantee, students will need to graduate with a 2.1 degree, gain additional professional qualifications and achieve satisfactory references from the company mentor and the personal tutor at the university.


The programme has been devised to provide the skills and capabilities needed to help shape the future of the logistics and supply chain profession, to be attractive to young people and to be academically rigorous.


Students will learn how leading companies organise and manage the planning, sourcing, manufacturing and physical logistics of their supply chains to ensure business success, gaining unique insights into operational and strategic supply chain theory and practice. Throughout, there will be a twin focus on relevant theory and application, with industry-led sessions exploring practical application through company case studies.


First year students will develop an in-depth understanding of business and the business environment. There will be a focus on developing professional and academic skills and exploration of the role of logistics and supply chain management in business success.


Through the second year, students will gain a detailed understanding of the key elements of the supply chain, along with the importance of integrating these activities. Analytical and project management skills will be refined and students will learn how companies embed quality into their products and services. There will be a focus on people management skills and extended understanding of how effective human resource management contributes to business performance.


The third year will be spent on placement in a salaried position with a leading NOVUS employer, gaining experience in the workplace in a role within the supply chain.


Returning to university in the final year, students will focus on global, strategic and advanced aspects of logistics and supply chain management and will learn from industry leaders how to develop effective leadership skills. There will be a major industry-based project, investigating a current issue or challenge affecting business performance.


In addition to the university degree course, students will study for additional and relevant professional qualifications, which include Computer Driving Licence,

Prince2 Project Management, a Certificate of Professional Competence in Transport Management and health and safety qualifications.


It is not just the students that will benefit from this focused yet exciting programme; attracting additional high-calibre young people will also be good for the profession as a whole.


Compared to the alternative of employing unknown graduates from other disciplines, NOVUS offers significant advantages. Companies involved in the scheme can engage with future employees much earlier and help shape their development. The curriculum’s design gives students an excellent understanding of supply chain theory and practice and to develops specific technical and professional competencies. As a result, graduates will be able to make a much earlier contribution than at present, reducing the ‘time to value’ and graduate scheme investment requirements, as well as improving retention rates.


As Chris Kingshott, Managing Director, Manufacturing Division of leading logistics company Wincanton, and a founder member of the scheme, concludes: “This is good for my business, but it is also good for UK plc. It is a unique example of an industry coming together to develop future talent and is a model that will surely be followed by other industries.”


For further information visit www.novus.uk.com or Tel 01536 740108. 

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