Forwarders urged to support UK’s National Apprenticeship Week


With the availability of a relevant international freight forwarding apprenticeship imminent, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) is encouraging its members to participate in this year’s 11th National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2018), which will run this week from 5-9 March.

BIFA said it has been supporting a “trailblazer” group of employers from the freight and logistics sector, which was given the green light by the UK Department for Education to develop a standard for a specific International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship. Although final approval for the course assessment plan is awaited from the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA), the standard for the scheme has been approved, and when the former has been approved, the apprenticeship will be available for delivery.

Set at Level 3 (A Level) with a minimum duration of 18 months, the new apprenticeship will provide students with core knowledge and skills including; industry awareness, customs procedures and commercial, the association said.

“At the beginning of the programme, apprentices will also be given one of three pathways: air freight, ocean freight or road freight, to reflect the focus of BIFA members' operations,” it added. “Whichever pathway apprentices take, specific knowledge and skills will be acquired in addition to the three mandatory modules.”

Carl Hobbis, BIFA's training development manager, commented: “The new apprenticeship landscape can be a minefield and our members have asked for advice on how to start the process, from planning to recruitment and even attending local careers fairs. We have listened to their comments and have now begun working on some exciting new ideas to support BIFA members and promote the new freight forwarding apprenticeship and the logistics industry as a whole.

He said he timing of the National Apprenticeship Week “could not be better, and we intend to be actively involved”. Throughout this week, he said BIFA will be taking to social media to share useful tips and advice with employers and employees who are interested in learning more about apprenticeships. The theme for the NAW2018 is ‘Apprenticeships Work’, showcasing how apprenticeships work for individuals, for employers, for the community and the benefits of the wider economy.

Hobbis added: “From the start, the trailblazer group was unanimous in recognising the importance of a relevant apprenticeship in the forwarding sector for two main reasons: a lot of knowledge is leaving the industry, plus the uncertain customs landscape post-Brexit. Many people within the freight forwarding sector started as a trainee, or apprentice, and recognise the value these schemes provide for all parties.

“To showcase and encourage take-up of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, which will soon be available, BIFA is urging employers and apprentices to work together and celebrate the success of apprenticeships whilst encouraging even more people to get into our industry via this route.

“We are encouraging BIFA members to play their part and promote forwarding as an interesting and exciting career. We hope that they will offer work experience opportunities and get involved with local schools and colleges, targeting influencers such as teachers and parents, and promoting the business at the same time.”

BIFA highlighted some of the companies that “have been instrumental is the development of the standard”: Kuehne + Nagel, Davies Turner, DHL, Metro Shipping, Hellmann, Neon Freight, OIA Global, DSV Air & Sea, Dachser, DB Schenker, Panalpina, Intelligent Global Logistics, Maltacourt and Yusen Logistics.

More details on the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship can be seen here:

More information about BIFA’s work on apprenticeships can be seen here: