Chris Dolby - Learning & Development Manager (Logistics)


"I developed my skills and increased my knowledge in a structured environment, whilst learning on the job and receiving great direction and guidance."


Can you talk us through your career from leaving school to now?

I left school at 17 after completing a Leisure & Tourism GNVQ (it was the closest thing I could find to sport). I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but my Mum worked at a local Nestlé Coffee Factory as a receptionist and I was lucky enough to secure a position there as a Production Operator. 


I fell into training by accident – it started off as “Chris is a nice guy, he can train the new person” and built from there. I ended up training people on-the-job, delivering inductions and Health & Safety training. At 21 I was promoted into a Team Leader role – but maintained responsibility over departmental training. 


After seven years I left Nestlé to work for a Training Provider where I completed an Apprenticeship in Business Administration. It was a superb programme – I developed my skills and increased my knowledge in a structured environment, whilst learning on the job and getting great direction and guidance from my assessor. The Apprenticeship definitely accelerated my learning and helped me to progress my career. I also become an Apprenticeship Assessor, supporting Apprentices in a whole range of different environments – from Warehouses, Government Offices to stock rooms in high-street shops.


After two and a half years, I secured a position at Christian Salvesen as a site Training Manager in Wembley. Things went very well for me from there as I found a role which suited what I was good at – helping and supporting people and developing and delivering projects!!


When XPO Logistics acquired Christian Salvesen in 2008, I secured the National Learning & Development Manager role. The past 6 years have been a whirlwind – I have completed a Degree in Leadership and Management (which was supported and paid for by the business) and continued to grow and develop as an employee in this great organisation.


What is it about logistics that has kept you in it for so long?

Logistics is a fantastic industry – it is the life blood of the country. It is fast paced, practical and no two days are ever the same. Having said that, it is the people that make it for me. You could not wish for a more friendly, pragmatic and down-to-earth bunch. I love the industry, the company and the people who work here!!


How has XPO Logistics helped shape your career?

XPO Logistics is an ambitious, driven and people focussed business. It recognises that to achieve its goals it needs to engage, motivate and develop its people. In fact, one of our key targets is to fill 60% of all vacancies with people form within the business.


I am an excellent example of that. My role as evolved dramatically in the time that I have been here – the role has grown, as I have grown. It is now a far more varied, challenging and responsible role than when I first started with the company 9 years ago.


I have been promoted twice and today I manage a department with 8 full-time colleagues, as well as having functional responsibility for around 30 other trainers/training managers. I have been given numerous opportunities to develop my skills and increase my knowledge – including a degree in Leadership & Management, as well as a whole range of other training courses and programmes.


What skills do you think you need to succeed within logistics?

For me, you need to be practical, proactive, hardworking, committed and good with people. If you have those skills then you will very soon be recognised and given the opportunity to progress. It is all about character and attitude – the rest we can develop.


What advice would you give to an apprentice entering the logistics industry?

Work hard, be positive and, most importantly, treat people with courtesy, understanding and respect. Be proactive and continuously look for opportunities to learn from people and situations.