Careers in International Freight Forwarding

Training and Career Development

Tony Wenham

Lloyds List – November 02 2016 – 09:00:00

myfreightcareer and Front-Line Resources Management are sister companies specialising in the creation and development of careers in the global logistics industry.

myfreightcareer is a market-leading, innovative training organisation providing training and traineeships to the International Freight Forwarding, Customs Broking and Logistics communities. They employ trainees and place them with host employers within those communities and deliver nationally and internationally recognised training packages, accepted by industry and other educational institutions.

Front-Line Resources Management’s goal is to not only provide the highest standard of recruitment and career development services to clients, but also to identify additional opportunities for employers to achieve measurable improvements in areas such as reduced staff turnover and increased employee retention.

Key influences on training and career development trends in the global logistics industry in Australia include:

Decrease in Government Funding

At present, the New South Wales Government is the only state government that provides funding to encourage employers to provide training to upskill their existing workers.

We find that the better trained the staff the better the outcome for the participant, the business, its clients and the community in general.

A Looming Problem

Industry recognises that Australia’s Customs Broking stocks are ageing.

There appears to be declining interest in choosing this as a career, driven by a complex and costly licensing program and the increasing financial and legal risks that licensed Customs Brokers are faced with.

To obtain a Customs Brokers Licence aspirants are currently required to complete a Diploma of Customs Broking, which can take up to 2 ½ years to complete and demonstrate they have the “acquired experience” necessary to perform the duties required of a Customs Broker.

The process required to prove “Acquired Experience” appears to be a major deterrent as anecdotally the majority of applicants are required to appear before the Licensing Committee to prove their experience. The majority of survivors do not speak highly of the interview process.

To exacerbate the problem, in November 2015 the Australian Border Force announced a review of all facets of “Customs Licensing”. The review included the licensing of Customs Brokers and advised a final report date in July 2015. The finalisation date was subsequently deferred until 30 September 2016, which has passed without advice of even preliminary findings. The fear of the unknown prevails.

Finally authorities are increasingly targeting corporate and individual Customs Brokers when seeking to penalise perceived sinners. We have followed the “Asbestos Declaration” discussion with amusement as the legislators take a very black and white stance on this matter, while being unable to give definitive answers to valid questions on the reality of making the declaration in the real world of international trade. The number of questions “taken on notice” at a recent industry national conference bears testament to this anomaly.

Offshore Outsourcing

One of the newer challenges facing employers is whether or not to “offshore”. Offshore outsourcing is the practice of hiring an external organization to perform some business functions in a country other than the one where the service is actually delivered.

Offshoring has definitely had an impact on the number of traditional entry level positions available for trainees and permanent and temporary employees.  We see the impact across the board but most noticeably in operational and administrative roles where repetitive data entry makes up a significant portion of the job role.

The increased utilisation of Temporary employment

We have noticed a growing reliance on temporary employment.  Temporary employment offers the employer scalability to manage busy periods and increase the number of workers to assist in projects of short duration. Temporary roles also provide workers for positions scheduled to be phased out due to budget cuts or reorganization.

Some employers find it advantageous to recruit highly skilled temporary workers to determine if they’re suitable for a particular job. Also, temporary positions offer a way to attract talent when an organization is waiting on approval for a permanent position.

From an employee’s perspective temporary employment is seen as a way to gain entry to the industry or a particular organisation or the opportunity to further develop their skill base. Some workers are only interested in temporary employment as it gives them the flexibility to manage their work/life balance.

Traineeships

Traineeships in International Freight Forwarding and Logistics have long provided an initial entry path for a significant number of current industry participants, but the advent of Offshore Outsourcing, in particular, has reduced the number of traditional entrance level vacancies.

Traineeship formats have evolved to meet the challenge of employers needing higher skilled industry entrants by taking advantage of government funded pre-vocational training. Trainees are now able to “hit the ground running”.  Employers have recognised that these job ready Trainees, who are also trained and mentored by their training company, can meet those higher expectations.

International recognition of Australian qualifications

As the name implies our industry is indeed global and there is a need to gain international recognition of qualifications gained in Australia.

There are a myriad of opportunities for people working in the Australian logistics industry to take advantage of overseas employment opportunities with their current employer or with an alternate employer.

A prime example is the recogni-tion by FIATA (the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations) that the “Australian Diploma of International Freight Forwarding” meets the FIATA Standards required to obtain the internationally recognised “FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding”.

It would appear that our industry is better placed than most to meet the challenges we face in our ever evolving environment.

* Tony Wenham is the General Manager at myfreightcareer and Front-Line Resources Management

From the print edition of the Lloyds List October 27, 2016