Preparing Future Logistics Professionals

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B2G CONSULTING TOP STORIES: Preparing Future Logistics Professionals by Bahrain Polytechnic


  • Preparing Future Logistics Professionals


  • 5. Overview of Educational Programs in the SCM Sector

    John Webb is the Project Manager for the School of Logistics and Maritime Studies at Bahrain Polytech-

    nic and has responsibility for the academic direction and industry partnerships that are vital to the ac-

    ceptance of the Bachelor of International Logistics Management (BILM) in Bahrain and the Middle East

    region. John was educated in New Zealand and holds degrees from two New Zealand universities, he

    has a Masters Degree in Transport Management from Lincoln University and a Bachelor of Arts from the

    University of Auckland.

    John is relatively new to education having joined Bahrain Polytechnic in 2009 after spending a year as a

    Lecturer at Lincoln University. Prior to this he spent his nearly twenty years in various roles within the

    maritime side of the international logistics industry. His first specialized logistics qualification was that

    of a logistics officer within the Royal New Zealand Navy which provided a solid logistics background and

    understanding of the maritime environment that would assist in following positions within the industry.

    After his military career John joined the stevedoring industry in New Zealand as a Stevedoring Supervi-

    sor and worked in a number of positions before eventually becoming the General Manager of Opera-

    tions for New Zealands third largest port which is located at Lyttelton. John has substantial experience

    in all types of cargo operations in a port and shipping environment having managed bulk, general cargo,

    container terminal, marine and security departments within the New Zealand port environment.

    Preparing Future Logistics Professionals

    How strong is the demand for logistics / SCM

    programs in the Middle East? When did you

    start your program? Why?

    Within the Economic Development Board of Bahrain 2030 Vision the transport and logistics sector is identified as an industry that has the

  • Mr. John Webb, Project Manager

    Bahrain Polytechnic



    potential to grow and add value to the Bahrain

    economy in the future. This focus on the indus-

    try has lead to a demand from young Bahraini

    and other GCC nationals for academic qualifi-

    cation, skills and training that will assist them

    in a career in this developing industry.

    To assist young Bahraini and other GCC nation-

    als in fulfilling their academic goals, Bahrain

    Polytechnic has devel-

    oped the Bachelor of

    International Logistics

    Management (BILM)

    which is now in the

    second year of deliv-


    This has led to very strong demand for places

    in the BILM at Bahrain Polytechnic. There are

    currently 120 students enrolled in the first two

    years of the BILM with an expected 80 addi-

    tional students to begin studies in the degree

    in September 2011.

    The BILM is not strictly a Supply Chain Manage-

    ment (SCM) program. It is a logistics degree

    that has been designed to meet the challenges

    of developing a transport and logistics hub

    within Bahrain which will be a vital part of the

    future prosperity of the Kingdom. As such the

    degree course of study is very broad and it is

    planned to offers majors in Supply Chain Man-

    agement, Maritime Logistics, Aviation Logistics,

    Transport Security

    What is the trend for

    your university? De-

    veloping more SCM


    Once the BILM has

    been embedded at

    Bahrain Polytechnic

    there are plans that could see the delivery of

    graduate certificates and diplomas and Mas-

    ters level qualifications. The rational for this is

    to support the progress of individuals already

    working in the industry who need to up-skill in

    order to advance in their career as well as of

    individuals that are seeking a career change

    from their current industry having identified

    the logistics sector as a growth area with solid

    the transport and logistics sector is

    identified as an industry that has

    the potential to grow and add value

    to the Bahrain economy

  • Preparing Future Logistics Professionals

    Preparing Future Logistics Professionals

    It is also being discussed that a SCM major

    could also be offered within the Bachelor of

    Business Studies that would provide Bahrain

    Polytechnic students who are more focused in

    traditional business careers a background un-

    derstanding in the international logistics indus-

    try that can provide them with career options

    in this growing industry.

    As a University,

    what are the chal-

    lenges that you are

    facing while offering

    a SCM Program?

    There have been a number of challenges that

    have been faced while developing the BILM. In

    the first year of offering a programme in logis-

    tics the biggest challenge was educating par-

    ents of potential students in the basics of the

    logistics industry as many had never previously

    heard of the sector.

    We believe that student demand for positions

    in the BILM would show that we have had

    some success in this process. However we do

    encounter every semester students keen to

    join the program but who have parents that

    need convincing that the transport and logis-

    tics industry has opportunities for lifetime ca-


    This has been overcome through education

    forums with parents and potential students

    where the make-up, size and opportunities of

    the international

    logistics industry are

    discussed. This usu-

    ally has a number of

    parents expressing

    their surprise at the number and diversity of

    the careers available in this industry.

    Another challenge has been to develop the

    acceptance of the BILM and our future gradu-

    ates in the local, regional and international

    logistics industry. To assist in this process a

    Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC) has

    been formed that consists of senior managers

    within the Bahrain logistics industry. This com-

    the biggest challenge was educating

    parents of potential students in the

    basics of the logistics industry

  • Mr. John Webb, Project Manager

    Bahrain Polytechnic



    mittee meets to discuss the courses on offer

    and provide guidance on the direction of the

    BILM as a course of study. The importance of

    the CAC committee to the BILM students is

    that they be assured that what they are learn-

    ing is in partnership with and relevant to indus-


    To ensure that the BILM from Bahrain Poly-

    technic has international recognition we have

    partnered with the

    Chartered Institute

    of Logistics and

    Transport (CILT) and

    their Certificate,

    Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses are

    embedded within the degree course of study.

    The certificate level courses are compulsory

    and the other qualifications are optional for

    students. The CILT based qualifications are

    awarded to students as they progress through

    the BILM. This awarding of duel qualifications

    will assist BILM students in proving to interna-

    tional employers the validity and high stan-

    dards of the education they have received

    through the global recognition of the CILT part-

    ner awards.

    Other non CILT sourced courses of study are

    developed on behalf of Bahrain Polytechnic by

    a group of transport and logistics professors

    and academics headed by Emeritus Professor

    Chris Kissling from Lincoln University. The

    group utilises professionals from across the

    logistics sector to

    develop papers spe-

    cifically sourced for

    Bahrain Polytechnic

    and customized for

    local, regional and international perspectives.

    This ensures that Bahraini and other nationali-

    ties that study at Bahrain Polytechnic under-

    take papers that are of a global standard hav-

    ing been written and audited by well respected

    academics and industry professionals. This pro-

    vides graduates with a unique insight into the

    potential situations that they will face in their

    working careers.

    To ensure international recognition

    we have partnered with the Chartered

    Institute of Logistics and Transport

  • Preparing Future Logistics Professionals

    To support all of the above points the BILM

    also has an international monitoring pro-

    gramme to ensure that the courses being of-

    fered are at an internationally accepted stan-

    dard. The monitor for the BILM is Professor

    Ross Robinson who is the Dean of the Austra-

    lian Maritime College at the University of Tas-

    mania as well as being a globally respected

    academic in regards to supply

    chains and the maritime logis-

    tics environment.

    Which type of courses are the

    students most demanding: Procurement, Sup-

    ply Chain Strategy, Freight and Transport?

    The BILM is only on the second year. To date

    the areas of maritime logistics and aviation

    logistics have been identified by our first co-

    horts of students as their preferred areas of


    What is the background of the students / pro-


    Currently the majority of our students are

    school leavers. This is due to the fact that we

    are still an institute in a post set up phase. Our

    long term vision is to be the institute of choice

    for adult learners and those pursuing part-time

    study in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

    What is the ratio between SC

    courses and the rest?

    Bahrain Polytechnic also deliv-

    ers degree courses in Busi-

    ness, Engineering, Design, Information Tech-

    nology and Office Administration.

    Bahrain Polytechnic also has a foundation pro-

    gramme that many of our students complete

    before undertaking their degree course of

    study. This runs for a semester or two and is

    aimed at assisting students in the challenge of

    completing a degree in a second language. The

    School of Logistics and Maritime Studies has

    Preparing Future Logistics Professionals

    Our long term vision is

    to be the institute of

    choice for adult learners

  • Industry


    approximately 10% of the students currently

    enrolled at Bahrain Polytechnic.

    How many students do you have each year?

    The BILM has two enrollment periods per year.

    It was initially expected to have approximately

    30 students per semester but this is currently

    being reviewed due to the interest from stu-

    dents in the programme.

    What are the skills that

    your feel most compa-

    nies are looking for in

    the Supply Chain market in the Middle East?

    All employers are looking for a solid academic

    qualification in their potential employees. The

    Middle East is developing into a centre for

    global hubbing and the associated production

    networks and secondary business functions

    that develop in trans-shipment and production


    Employers are looking for graduates that have

    a very good academic knowledge of the indus-

    try as a whole, traditional business degrees

    with SCM majors will always have their place in

    the market but more and more logistics com-

    panies are seeking degree graduates that have

    focused primarily on the logistics industry.

    As mentioned earlier the BILM involves indus-

    try leaders in all phases

    of the BILM development

    so that graduates are

    deemed by employers to

    be relevant to industry.

    In our relationship with employers we have

    ascertained that academic understanding must

    be developed along with a series of critical

    soft skills. These soft skills include such

    things as the importance of appearance and

    punctuality, ability to work individually and in

    groups, confidence in various forms of commu-

    nications and a desire to be a life long learner.

    Mr. John Webb, Project Manager

    Bahrain Polytechnic

    All employers are looking for a

    solid academic qualification in

    their potential employees

  • Preparing Future Logistics Professionals

    To meet the demands of industry and the ex-

    pectations of potential employees these soft

    skills are embedded within all courses of study

    at the polytechnic and are referred to as

    employability skills.

    Do you have any special partnership with any

    company in the region?

    As mentioned above

    Bahrain industry lead-

    ers have been fully

    involved in the devel-

    opment of the BILM

    which has formed close partnerships with a

    number of Bahraini and Bahrain entities of

    large multi-nationals. The BILM development

    has been closely assisted by APM Terminals,

    Agility, the General Organisation of Seaports in

    Bahrain, the Kingdom of Bahrain Civil Aviation

    Affairs, DHL, First Bahrain and others.

    The School of Logistics and Maritime Studies is

    also developing a partnership with Maersk

    Training that will concentrate on more industry

    focused skills development. This potential part-

    nership will allow students to be trained by a

    global logistics leader and will allow the devel-

    opment of specialized skills in such areas as the

    maritime and offshore industries.

    The companies in-

    volved in assisting

    the development of

    the BILM have been

    extremely supportive

    as they all recognize the importance of edu-

    cated and motivated staff to the future devel-

    opment and potential of their companies and




    The companies involved in assisting

    the development of the BILM have

    been extremely supportive

    Mr. John Webb, Project Manager

    Bahrain Polytechnic


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