Who do we think we are?

It is said that stereotypes don’t lie.

It’s a crude generalisation and, like all crude generalisations, it is unsubtle.

The current climate – often dominated by keyboard warriors – appears to show humans as being more intolerant of each other than ever before, with negative stereotyping becoming increasingly louder and angrier.

But a quick glance through the annals of history, going back 2,000 years, shows that it was ever thus. It’s just that today it’s easier for people to broadcast their opinions.

“There is a large opportunity for transport to grab this ground, but it is a narrow window of opportunity.”

When it comes to careers, jobs in transport are often incorrectly perceived.

The roles that young people immediately call to mind when asked ‘what sort of jobs are there in transport’ often respond by saying ‘driver’.

It’s not surprising, given that these are the most visible roles.

Aviation faces the same challenges with the majority of people thinking that cabin crew and pilots are ‘the jobs’ – ignoring the myriad other roles without which an aircraft would never leave the ground, or if it did, it would be empty.

Jobs in transport are much more than the ‘front of house’ role of driving, which is what the general public assumes transport is all about

It a subject that Anna Delvecchio talks about with passion, over ‘Lunch With Leon’ in this week’s podcast.

With a highly-influential senior role – as Development Director of Transportation at Mott MacDonald – she is one of the people key to driving change and new thinking in government and beyond. You can listen to her here

Arguably there are probably more roles, and with the ability to move between sectors, in transport than any other jobs in the UK. Although passenger transport is currently bearing the brunt of the aftermath of lockdown, it is but one sector in a massive industry.

We all know this, of course. But what about young people contemplating their careers?

Sadly, it appears that little has changed over the last few decades with career advice for those in education, so it’s up to the industry to do that.

Some organisations, such as Network Rail and Transport for London have done just that with campaigns demonstrating some of the roles available, aiming to inspire young talent to join.

Transport for London is one of the organisations changing young people’s perceptions of transport and the careers it offers

Anna is spot-on when she says that once you’re working in transport, you’re hooked for life.

It is the most diverse, exciting and vibrant industry to be in, with opportunities that are beyond all other subjects.

And, transport is here to stay.

There is a large opportunity for transport to grab this ground, but it is a narrow window of opportunity. With a looming jobs crisis in many sectors, transport still offers openings with quality careers, thanks to a skills shortage.

One thing the crisis has done is to make the general public aware of how goods are transported, and perhaps even the difference between ‘haulage’ and ‘logistics’.

No longer a ‘nuisance’, the result is that the public finally appreciates the vital role of freight – including for the first time trucks – which it has learned to love.

With goodwill towards the freight transport sector at an all-time high, it is the right time for the industry to shine and reset the traditional employment stereotypes across all transport sectors.

In this, we all have our part to play.

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