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Trade Training on Trend (At last...)

This blog post looks at skills development options available to internationally trading businesses, focusing specifically on the competencies involved in imports and exports from a customs perspective.


With the UK facing the possibility of increased trade bureaucracy, UK government has made a pot of funding available, designed to increase capacity of customs related competencies. The website launched outlining these funds seems to stipulate activities around the production of customs declaration, meaning training/software specifically relating to this key task. This is sensible, given HMRC estimate an additional 205 million customs declarations will be required in a no deal scenario. To put that into context, trade of goods in and out of the UK require 55 million declarations per year, roughly equivalent to 150,000 per day. An equivalent uplift of approximately 550,000 declarations will be required when we leave the EU. Per day. There is no doubt the UK has vulnerability in regard to this specific task, in the event of a no deal Brexit. It can also be argued the need for this additional capacity is fairly likely regardless of the timescale, as most forms of exit from the EU will see a new requirement for declarations between the UK and EU. At present the vast majority of this work is done by the freight forwarding industry, although a growing number of businesses are making their own declarations, particularly for exports. This can be done through various of our software packages, as outlined here.


Unsurprisingly, given the complexities involved in producing customs declarations and the impracticalities of delivering training in volume in the required timescale, the pot is being advertised as available to those wanting to gain a contextual understanding of the customs environment, rather than just those seeking to make customs declarations directly. This is referenced indirectly by traditional providers in this area, including the Institute of Export and International Trade, who run a series of courses designed to help attendees understand the working practices involved in moving goods over borders.


Established in 1935, the Institute of Export and International Trade deliver a comprehensive range of training, covering items across the spectrum of trade and customs operations. Their one day courses also come with the potential of continuing professional development points, and are delivered around the UK’s major cities. They also run a suite of training carried out over longer periods, from their Young International Trader programme, aimed at those looking to pursue a career in international trade, and designed to be delivered over a term period, through to an MSc in International Trade, Strategy and Operations.


The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) network also play a significant role in the development of trade related skills, through their network of accredited Chambers based throughout the United Kingdom. As the UK’s provider of origin paperwork, the network interacts with thousands of international businesses through it’s export paperwork function, and Chambers offer a comprehensive suite of complimentary services. Most in the network run a range of one day courses, with many offering delegates the chance to complete competency based assessments on topics including payment methods, origin and incoterms to name a few. Demonstration of competency in six modules leads to the attainment of a Foundation Award in International Trade. Details of individual courses can be found via the Chamber’s individual websites, and a list of local chambers can be found here. While Chamber membership often brings discounted prices, training and some events are available to all companies.


There are a range of other private sector providers operating in the space, with companies such as Morley Consulting a notable example, of whom we have heard excellent feedback from shippers over a number of years. Strong and Herd are another doing great work nationally, with their practical and hands on methods well received by businesses of all sizes.


Given the unprecedented levels of change anticipated over the coming months and years, demand on such providers is particularly high, and those interested in developing their competencies to improve resilience would do well to get in contact sooner rather than later. While it can be difficult to plan for all potential outcomes, investing in staff is always on trend. 

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