The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed the news that the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has delivered the final approval of the course assessment plan, which means that the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship is now available for delivery.

Over the past 18 months, BIFA has been supporting a trailblazer group of employers from the freight and logistics sector to develop a standard for a specific International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship.

Set at Level 3 (A Level) with a minimum duration of 18 months, the new apprenticeship will provide students with core knowledge and skills including; industry awareness, customs procedures and commercial skills.

At the beginning of the programme, apprentices will also be given one of three pathways; air freight, ocean freight or road freight, to reflect the focus of freight forwarders’ operations. Whichever pathway apprentices take, specific knowledge and skills will be acquired in addition to the three mandatory modules.

Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s training development manager, says: “This really is great news and a significant milestone and will definitely help us to attract more young people to the industry,

“It is a feather in the cap of those in the trailblazer group, which has been resolute in recognising the importance and potential value of a relevant apprenticeship that is specific to the forwarding sector.

“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.

“The trailblazer group has worked hard to demonstrate to the Department of Education (DoE) and IfA that the processing of international trade documentation is vital to the UK economy and the demand for international trade skills is forecast to rise.

“The new apprenticeship will give new entrants a valuable structure for their learning, whilst helping to close the skills gap and address the acute staff shortage faced by the sector.

BIFA will now help to promote the availability of the new apprenticeship and encourage employers and potential entrants to consider this apprenticeship as a route into the industry.”