David Cormack, Strategic Partnership Director for System Group, is without a doubt one of the unsung heroes of the Transport and Logistics sector. His passion for learning and development combined with his love for the sector is one of the many reasons he has made it as a finalist for the Lifetime Contribution award at this year’s Talent in Logistics awards.
Having worked in the industry for the past 32 years starting out his career with North American Coal in European Operations, David spent time developing programmes in the US, Europe and UK before moving to a role in European Operations for Caterpillar. It was within his role at Caterpillar where his passion moved him to divert his career into training and development and a need to help others develop their career pathway into the sector, which is where his work takes him today.
“It is about making a contribution back into the sector for me, so over the last few years I have worked with inner communities, in varied programs to get people to change the behaviour in their life to get them back on track and into our sector,” said David Cormack.
As well as working with deprived youngsters in inner communities to help them discover career paths into the logistics sector, he has spent his time within the logistics sector helping them understand and overcome some of the issues related to recruiting from local schools, colleges as well as unemployed communities.
David focuses his effort on understanding the needs of both his clients and the learners, then looks to find a solution suitable for both. He’s more concerned with using his extensive sector knowledge to help steer organisations in the right direction, ensuring they develop the best talent in the sector and deliver their next generation workforce.
“It started with a career in training and development, but about nine years ago this turned into a mission for me to focus on creating the next generation workforce for the sector, creating people who would have a real career pathway into work.
“I work with a wide variety of different organisations on range of different programmes from apprenticeship to management with DPD, Hermes and other parcel organisations through to Dixons carphone, Royal Mail and UK Mail, and what we are trying to achieve is to engage the community, local schools and colleges to motivate people into this ever growing sector.
“What we do once they’re in, is build a development pathway for them creating career progression over a number of years so they can be the managers of the future,” continues David.
Not only does David utilise his knowledge to develop opportunities for learners but he has also identified creative ways of using government funding to forge opportunities for those who are looking for career progression that take them from the warehouse to senior management roles.
“We shape those qualifications to meet the needs of the individual and take them wherever their career wants to take them. We tend to find people who haven’t been terribly academic but have an enterprise or solution brain are really good at logistics. Over the years we have spent time focusing on those skills rather than academic skills to take them through the sector. They have done really well, some of them are general managers now and have gone on to have great careers,” said David.
David believes that the same opportunity should be afforded to the many people entering the sector and has made it his mission to drive these opportunities to the forefront of sector-based conversations. Talking about his nomination David said humbly, “I spend my time working with these people, it’s all about them so this time round being in the limelight is always what I’ve tried to avoid. It should be about clients being in the limelight, not me.”
David’s sector-first low-profile approach is one of the reasons why he has no interest in self-promotion, and no ego that constantly needs addressing. David loves this sector and has focused his recent years in finding ways to give back to a sector that has provided him with a richly rewarding and varied career.
One of the most rewarding parts of David’s job is, “seeing people who you think are going to really struggle, succeed. It is that moment which makes it all worthwhile, the celebration of success is what is most rewarding,” he said.
A true definition of Talent in Logistics, David’s work ethic proves why he has been named as a finalist for Lifetime Contribution.
System Group wish David all the best at the Talent in Logistics awards and conference which celebrate professionals at all levels and reward people inspiring the next generation of logistics and transport talent, later this month at Telford International Centre.