Monday, February 10, 2020

Youngsters in Northern Ireland Get Their Own Freight Forwarding Network

BIFA Gives Newcomers the Chance to Discuss Profession with Their Peers
Shipping News Feature

UK – The growth of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) Young Forwarder Network, designed to fulfil a need for younger members of the freight forwarding profession to meet and exchange ideas and experiences, seems to have been an unqualified success, with another regional group having just been started.

The Northern Ireland regional group was launched at a well-attended meeting, which took place at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners offices, joining regional groups that have already been established in Anglia, the Midlands, North West, London East and London West, bringing the total number of regional groups to six.

During the Belfast launch event, participants were provided with more details about the YFN and given an opportunity to discuss how they would like their regional group to operate going forwards. Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s training development manager, who has played a key role in getting the scheme off the ground, commented on this latest development, saying:

“We have had a really good response to the launch of the YFN and have already held over 20 well-attended events that are assisting in the development of future freight forwarding ambassadors and leaders for the sector. By creating several regional networking groups, run by young forwarders, the YFN aims to help early talent and young BIFA members develop their knowledge and professional skills, but in a more social, event-driven environment.

“Those events give YFN members the opportunity to network with their peers and learn from industry professionals, at the same time, boosting their continuous professional development. Each networking group has a chairperson and vice-chairperson, and a local organising committee, governed by at least two regional employers, as well as a BIFA representative, which in the case of the latest YFN group is Carson McMullan, consultant to BIFA in Northern Ireland.

“Less than one year since it was created, the YFN is really helping to improve the promotion of the sector, making it more attractive to younger people and providing forums for them to learn.”

For many years freight forwarding has remained all too often a ‘learn on the job’ profession, however with the need these days to prove to customers that a company maintains all the attributes of a professional, well run operation, any advances toward accreditations, such as BIFA’s training schemes and BTEC qualifying courses provide a platform for developments such as the YFN to round off, letting youngsters see what others get up to and what they should be considering as their career progresses.

Carl Hobbis is passionate about his role, particularly when it comes to promoting the industry to the younger members and it will doubtless be something he touches on when he chairs the Apprenticeship Seminar at this year’s Multimodal Exhibition at the NEC.

Held on the morning of the 18th March, the last of the three day event, the panel has such luminaries as Beverley Bell, CBE, Chair of Th!nk Logistics, and formerly Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, Steve Granite, Chief Executive Officer, Abbey Logistics Group and another ‘Think’ board member and Sally Gilson, Head of Skills, Freight Transport Association (FTA) to discuss the matter.

Photo: Carl Hobbis speaking to the first session of the Young Forwarders Network back in March 2019.