A plea for transport operators to recruit more apprentices has been made by the British International Freight Association (BIFA). 

The call came at the end of last week’s National Apprenticeship Week.

Carl Hobbis, executive director of BIFA, asked firms to consider the next generation of workers.

“We know it’s a tough call, with the pandemic and post transition period continuing to disrupt operations,” he said.

“Forwarding businesses have many difficult commercial decisions to make, but shelving apprenticeships should not be one of them.”

Hobbis pointed to the International Freight Forwarding specialist apprenticeship as an ideal entry point to the industry. 

In fact, BIFA helped to create that apprenticeship programme in 2018 and 500 apprentices have been through the course.

BIFA says that the fall in apprenticeships is not just a freight industry problem.

Indeed, government statistics show a sharp decline in apprenticeship starts across the entire country. 

However, for the freight industry, the issue is bigger because if the workloads both before and after the end of the EU-Exit transition period.

“It is vital to continue to recruit freight forwarding apprentices,” said Hobbis. “We need to build capacity to equip a new generation with knowledge and skills to face the challenges ahead.”

Hobbis stated that available finance should not be an issue. 

Funding is available as part of the government’s support scheme for training and apprenticeships. 

In fact, until March 2021, the government is offering up to £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire.

“Now, more than ever, we need to promote the industry and give young people employment opportunities,” said Hobbis. 

“We have had an apprenticeship standard for international freight forwarding for three years and the sector has been in the news more than ever,” he concluded.