Port giant creates 40 new roles as it reduces a reliance on agency staff

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 4 Aug 2017

ASSOCIATED British Ports is bolstering its 1,000 strong workforce across the Humber.

A total of 40 new port operative positions are being created, in a move it hopes will encourage successful applicants to carve a strong career path in the industry.

Nearly 100 candidates descended on Catch at Stallingborough yesterday to take part in a three-stage assessment, with those impressing likely to start in September.

It is part of a wider strategy to improve operations, flexibility and customer focus across the four port locations.

Jane Spencer, ABP’s regional head of human resources, said: “We have a reliance on transient third party agency labour pool, and while there is a need for that, across the region we have been overly dependent on that labour pool.

“We, as a business, made a decision to turn that labour cost into permanent jobs in the region. By converting into permanent roles, we can build the culture that we want.

“I am sure there will be people who have worked for ABP, and this has provided the opportunity for them to show us their skills, attitude and behaviour. If successful, they will join at a really exciting time, with growth in the container market seeing investment on the back of it in the millions of pounds when it comes to cranes and infrastructure in Immingham and Hull.”

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Held close to the eastern entrance to Port of Immingham, the company and the country’s largest port by tonnage, the assessment featured an interview session, as well as exercises focusing on port operations and health and safety.

Explaining the role, Jane said: “What we have done is modernise the port operative contract and the way we work. We want to create careers, previously we have just advertised a job, and people have come in to do it. This gives the role the recognition it deserves, it is a critical skill for the port industry.

“We have designed development opportunities with three levels of competency, and if people start at entry level there are opportunities to build skills. This is also designed to allow the port operatives the opportunity to experience different terminals and different ports across the Humber region.”

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It is closely aligned to a trailblazing apprenticeship scheme. “The pipeline of talent will come through, that is the strategy,” she added.

A total of 400 applications were received, with 100 invited to the sessions.

Chris Bell, group head of recruitment for ABP, was also in attendance, for what is a second such event held by the company. He said: “It is a new system and fits with our strategy ‘One ABP’. It is not about one individual port or one independent job, it is ABP as a business.” 

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