With the end of the Brexit transition period just around the corner the UK shipping industry faces a number of challenges and uncertainties.
Now more than ever employers within the industry must consider the potential for skills shortages and begin to bridge skills gaps before they expand.
To help, we’ll be covering some key aspects of this month’s featured apprenticeship standard: International Freight Forwarding Specialist Level 3. Read on for an insight into the knowledge and skills this standard develops and how these meet the needs of businesses within the shipping industry.
The role of a freight forwarder
Once summarised as “a travel agent for freight”, the role of a freight forwarding specialist is to move goods from one location to another via road, air or sea transportation. This role is undertaken while ensuring that the company remains compliant with import and export laws for industrial shipping.
Freight forwarders provide a company’s clients with a safe, efficient and compliant international supply chain, among other key responsibilities such as:
- Customs clearance procedures
- International import/export documentation preparation
- Storage & packaging
- Inventory administration
Key knowledge, skills and behaviours
The level 3 international freight forwarding specialist apprenticeship develops the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to become competent in this role.
Apprentices gain a practical understanding of international freight movement, customs procedures, business finance and freight costing and the principles of customer service.
They also develop key skills relating to booking, planning and monitoring international shipments, producing accurate customs declarations and valuations and managing currency conversion.
The three pathways
At the beginning of the programme apprentices are assigned to one of three possible ‘pathways’ within this particular industry – depending on the nature of the employer’s business.
These pathways are:
- Ocean freight
- Air freight
- Road freight
Each pathway embeds the knowledge and skills most relevant to the apprentice’s role, ensuring they develop the specialisms that shipping companies depend on. Employers benefit from a more efficient, productive workforce, better able to tackle future challenges and meet the needs of the industry.