Thursday, July 9, 2020

Freight and Logistics Community Welcomes Latest Government Investment in Jobs

Summer Economic Update Funds Training, Apprenticeships and Job Retention
Shipping News Feature

UK – With the Chancellor revealing the second part of his three stage plan to try and mitigate the disastrous effect of the pandemic in his Summer Economic Update yesterday, all businesses were poring over the details to see what would give them most benefit. Not least amongst these would be the transport and logistics professions and the reception proved generally favourable with a welcome from such as the British International Freight Association (BIFA).

The organisation, which represents the country’s freight forwarding community is always amongst the first to react to government policies which affect the logistics sector, and whilst often putting views to the politicians which are not always well received, the package of measures unveiled scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships was clearly appreciated, with Director General, Robert Keen, saying:

“Whilst our members are currently rightly focused on significant business continuity issues, we welcome the additional funding. We are ready to help any of our members that are willing to capitalise on the funding being made available to either recruit apprentices, make traineeships available, or increase training for existing employees.

“We will also be reminding our members, than in addition to the [latest] finance announced, last month the government made available an additional £50 million to accelerate growth of the UK’s customs intermediary sector via training, with applications for the new funding being open since the start of this month.”

As one of the largest providers of freight forwarding and Customs-related training courses, BIFA is currently delivering those courses via video conferencing, due to the Covid-19 crisis preventing face-to-face training. Keen was supported by Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s Training Development Manager, who commented:

“Having been actively involved in the creation of an International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, BIFA has committed to promote its availability since it was introduced in 2018. We will continue to encourage employers and potential entrants to consider this apprenticeship as a route into the industry.

“There is a dedicated area of the BIFA website,, that can help both employers and potential recruits to better understand apprenticeship opportunities in the freight forwarding industry.”

The announcement from Rishi Sunak once again contained some substantial funds for dispersal. A Job Retention Bonus will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers. UK employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.

A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, and employers will be able to top this wage up.

Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. The government says it will invest £111 million in the scheme to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020-21 to ensure more young people have access to high quality training.

It also pledged to invest £17 million of funding to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements in 2020-21, and nearly £900 million to double the number of work coaches to 27,000, whilst it claims over a quarter of a million more young people will benefit from an extra £32 million investment in the National Careers Service. Announcing the plans the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“Throughout this crisis I have never been the prisoner of ideology. For me, this has never just been a question of economics, but of values. We believe in the nobility of work. We believe in the inspiring power of opportunity. We believe in the British people’s fortitude and endurance. Our plan has a clear goal, to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”

Photo: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in relaxed mood.