The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is launching a monthly video conference that will provide apprenticeship recruitment guidance.


Apprentice of the Year finalists seen with football legend Kevin Keegan (left) and BIFA president, Sir Peter Bottomley MP (right) at the BIFA Freight Service Awards ceremony in January 2023. Image source: BIFA

The first conference will take place on April 21. Participants will gain an understanding of the administration involved including school engagement, the recruitment process, candidate onboarding, cost implications, as well as some tips from BIFA’s own experience.

There will be further events on May 26 and June 16, and interested persons can register on BIFA’s website.

The trade association that represents UK freight forwarding and logistics businesses has been vocal in its assertion that apprentices can be a key component for members as they seek to address the recruitment difficulties facing the sector.

Carl Hobbis, one of BIFA’s executive directors, who has responsibility for its training and development programmes, said: “It is vital that we continue to attract the younger generation to the sector. The recruitment of freight forwarding apprentices will do that whilst equipping them with the knowledge and skills to face the challenges ahead in the post-Brexit and post Covid-19 world.”

He added that the International Freight Forwarding Specialist Apprenticeship, which BIFA helped create in 2018, is an ideal entry point for the industry with over 1,000 apprentices already having started on the pathway.

Most of BIFA’s 1,600 members are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the trade association will be using its own experience of employing its first apprentice to showcase to those members the actions needed to take the first steps in the apprentice recruitment process.

Hobbis explained: “BIFA members that are large organisations are likely to have their own teams to look after processes involved in apprentice recruitment, and we know that many have programmes in place that are already delivering results.

“As an SME ourselves, when we considered recruiting an apprentice, we had some concerns, but like many things that can appear daunting on paper, the recruitment process and subsequent administration work has proved to be straightforward.

“So, we hope that a demonstration of our own experience will encourage even more of the BIFA members that are SMEs to do the same and hopefully give a young person, or two, an opportunity to develop a career in logistics.”