Businesses are reaping the benefits of a new apprenticeship which is helping to deliver new talent into the expanding international freight forwarding industry.
With the threats of an ageing workforce and skills shortages in the increasingly-complex world of imports and exports, businesses across the UK are working with skills specialist Seetec Outsource to equip the next generation with the skills to succeed.
The company has been at the heart of the development and delivery of the Level 3 International Freight Forwarding specialist apprenticeship, which was approved for delivery last year.
British International Freight Association (BIFA)Training Development Manager Carl Hobbis said: ““With customs legislation getting more complex, and the unknown landscape post-Brexit, it will be even more important to promote careers in our industry in many ways – and there’s no better way than through a relevant apprenticeship, which we now have in Freight Forwarding.”
DHL apprentice Stuart Lupton, 19, from Hayes was looking for apprenticeship opportunities after completing his sixth-form studies when he spotted the chance to work in the logistics industry.
He quickly realised it offered good career progression and was appointed as an Import and Export Co-ordinator a year ago. His role includes booking collection of freight and creating paperwork and the correct customs clearance for shipments, as well as liaising with offices around the globe to confirm deliveries and arrange shipments back to the UK.
Stuart said: “It was quite difficult at first, but it has been great to learn on the job, I’m doing it every day so it sticks in my mind and I’ve been able to learn from other people.
“It’s great to be earning money and getting a qualification at the same time. I have raced ahead with my learning so I’m hoping to complete my apprenticeship soon and get a permanent job and eventually to progress to become a station manager.”
For small Merseyside-based business TCB Group, Operations Manager Nathan Shersby explained the benefit of taking on their first apprentice Lewis Rowland.
“It was a chance to bring someone in and train them in the way we want them to be working. Lewis has been brilliant, We couldn’t ask for a better apprentice. He’s treated as one of the team and has the same workload and responsibilities – it was always our intention to train someone to employ them.”
Lewis, 19, from Warrington, had hospitality experience and was looking for an apprenticeship when the freight-forwarding opportunity grabbed his attention. “I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’ve moved into ocean freight and found it interesting. There’s a good mix of doing your work and learning about the regulations and paperwork.
“It’s an industry I intend to stay in where I believe I can be successful – you have to listen to colleagues’ advice and learn quickly from your mistakes.”
Marnie Rose, Client Relationship Manager from Seetec Outsource, explained, “International freight-forwarding businesses play a vital role at the heart of the UK economy. With the logistics sector such a massive growth area, businesses need to plan their future workforce and skills needs so they can capitalize on the opportunities for growth and development.
“The International Freight Forwarding apprenticeship meets this business need and gives individuals a fantastic, internationally-focused, career opportunity.”
BIFA’s Carl Hobbis adds: “The International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship now gives new entrants a valuable structure for their learning. Our job is to encourage employers and potential entrants to consider this apprenticeship as a route into the industry.”