Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Training Gets a New Apprenticeship Microsite

Technological Boost from BIFA is for Employers and Potential Recruits Alike
Shipping News Feature
UK – There are few in the industry who will be unaware of the current crisis of staffing many branches of the logistics sector with suitable candidates. From heavy goods vehicle drivers to freight forwarding operators, there is a paucity of suitably qualified staff, a problem which can only be addressed by systematic training, particularly given the uncertainty of the status of candidates being recruited overseas with the 'B' word on everyone's lips. Now however the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has taken the bull by the horns and addressed the problem.

Membership of BIFA is seen as an essential prerequisite by virtually every reputable British freight forwarder and it has now launched a dedicated website to enable both employers and potential recruits to better understand apprenticeship opportunities in the freight forwarding industry. The development of the microsite follows last year’s introduction of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, providing more opportunities for young people in the industry. Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s Training Development Manager, explains the thinking behind this development thus:

“Having been actively involved in the creation of the apprenticeship, BIFA has committed to promote the availability of the new apprenticeship and encourage employers and potential entrants to consider this apprenticeship as a route into the industry. After meeting with various employers, BIFA wanted to provide a support system that means its members have the accessible resources to enable them to confidently reach out and engage with local communities. The website aims to be a basis of materials to support them in doing so.

“One of the big attractions of choosing a career in freight forwarding are the different pathways that your career could take you. On the microsite, visitors can read a range of case studies from established BIFA members which demonstrate some of those fascinating career paths. They can also see top tips from existing apprentices as to why an apprenticeship should be considered."

The microsite includes case studies containing an array of advice all of which comes from the experiences of BIFA members and their apprentices. With the aim of creating a support network, there are a range of materials for employers including information about funding and hiring. Advice for apprentices includes highlighting that myriad of career pathways, as well as information about the International Freight Forwarding Specialist Apprenticeship scheme. It aims to help those seeking apprenticeships in freight forwarding and be a resource to find opportunities.

This latest development follows BIFA’s recent addition of an apprentice category into the trade association’s annual Freight Service Awards competition, which was created to encourage and reward high standards and professionalism and represent the ultimate recognition of special achievement. The category added to the national Young Freight Forwarder Award category which saw last year’s winner, Louis Perrin, go on to win the even more prestigious International Award from FIATA.

BIFA wants its members to be ahead of the curve in thinking about their early talent planning and believes there is no better way than during the forthcoming National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) which runs from 4 -8 March, a move Robert Keen, BIFA’s Director General insists needs to be taken seriously, pointing out:

“Too many companies leave their recruitment planning until the summer, but the ‘early talents’ that are potential candidates have already made their career choices. If you need guidance to cut through all of the red-tape, the [new] website provides a range of assets that can be used for attending careers or local community days, clarity on funding benefits and practical tips that can create a better chance of hiring the best talent. In 2018, freight apprenticeships came to the fore, and there has already been significant interest from both employers and candidates."