Freight association shows support for national apprenticeship week


The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is supporting the forthcoming National Apprenticeship Week 2022 with a series of events aimed at demonstrating its commitment to the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, which it sees as an ideal entry point for a career in the logistics industry.

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 runs from 7 to 13 February with the aim of promoting apprenticeships as an alternative to university or college for school-leavers.

Throughout the week, BIFA executive director Carl Hobbis, who has responsibility for BIFA’s training and development programme, will be working with colleagues and members of the BIFA Young Forwarder Network to promote careers in logistics to students at schools and colleges.

The events are being supported by several BIFA members including Burhill Logistics, CH Robinson, DHL and the Woodland Group.

The events will culminate with a free one-hour online event on Friday 11 February at 11:00 during which James Billingham, a director of the Skills Office Network, will provide a comprehensive overview of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, its structure, and the benefits that an apprentice can bring to a BIFA member’s business.

Billingham has over 20 years experience in logistics skills and training. He worked closely with BIFA, and a group of freight forwarding companies, during the development of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, and advises employers and training providers on all matters concerning apprenticeships.

During the event he will also provide practical advice that businesses should consider before taking on an apprentice.

Hobbis says: “One week before the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we are urging BIFA Members to sign up for Friday’s event, whilst encouraging them to join us and their peers in promoting the logistics industry as a career of choice within their local communities.

“Despite a good start after the launch of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship in 2018, uptake has been hit by the disruption caused to many freight forwarders’ daily operations by the pandemic and the post transition period.
“A surge in workload coincided with a sharp decline in the number of individuals that have started their journey on the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship.

“As we continue to prepare for a logistics industry, post EU exit and post Covid-19, the recruitment of freight forwarding apprentices will be an essential part of building capacity and equipping a new generation with the knowledge and skills to face the challenges ahead.

“The International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, which BIFA helped create in 2018, is an ideal entry point for the industry with over 600 apprentices already having taken the pathway, with great success. It is the only apprenticeship standard with Customs as a mandatory module.

“It would be great if we could get that figure past 1,000 by the end of 2022, which is achievable in light of the fact that BIFA’s membership is more than 1,500 companies.

“For SMEs, the apprentice programme can cost as little as £450 per apprentice, and includes a BTEC customs qualification for the apprentice as well, which makes it great value. BIFA is committed to encouraging its members to capitalise on apprenticeship opportunities.”