Business leaders are urged to act now to ensure they have the skills needed to manage the complex new customs regime which will follow Britain’s exit from the EU single market.

Recognising the enormous pressures facing the logistics sector, skills specialist Seetec Outsource is urging businesses to recruit freight forwarding apprentices to build capacity and start equipping a new generation with the knowledge and skills to face the challenges ahead.

With less than six months until the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period, the Road Haulage Association has warned that an extra 50,000 private-sector customs agents will be needed to process the millions of additional import and export customs declarations.

Almost three quarters of businesses surveyed by the British International Freight Association (BIFA) want the Brexit transition period to be extended, with half saying they don’t have sufficient staff to handle the additional regulatory requirements.

Businesses will now receive £2,000 for each new 16-24 year-old apprentice they recruit, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged 25 and over. The training can be funded through the apprenticeship levy or through government co-investment for SMEs.

Neil Bates, Seetec Outsource Managing Director said: “The businesses that thrive Post Brexit will be those who act now to build back better and start addressing the shortage of trained staff in a sector which is crucial to the UK economy. Young people are bearing the brunt of the economic hit caused by Covid-19, yet they represent the talent that can help businesses to adapt and embrace the changes and opportunities that Brexit will bring.

“There is a wealth of young talent available, and the Government is offering significant incentives to businesses that recruit new apprentices between now and January 2021. There has never been a better time to recruit an International Freight Forwarding apprentice.”

Carl Hobbis, Training and Development Manager from BIFA added: “With the need to add more customs experts to the sector, an apprenticeship in freight forwarding is one solution. Forwarders will continue to play a crucial role in the UK’s international trade in the future, therefore the industry will provide a long-term, exciting career for a young person.

“The government has promised significant investment in the GB-EU border, so now is the time for businesses to invest in new talent and plan their future talent strategy. Employers shouldn’t underestimate the amount of time needed to train someone to become competent in Customs procedures.”

Richard Hird, Group Training Manager from Woodland Group said: “We love to incorporate apprentices    into our team as often as possible. The benefit of hiring an apprentice is that they don’t come to us with preconceived ideas of the Freight Forwarding industry and are eager to learn the ‘Woodland Way’. During the apprenticeship they learn about every different aspect of the role including Imports and Exports via road, sea and air, Customs and customer service skills. This means that by the time they reach the end of the apprenticeship, we have a well-rounded and knowledgeable team member who can fit in to any area of the business.

Seetec Outsource apprentices have won BIFA’s national Apprentice of the Year awards for the past two years.

For more details about the Level 3 International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship watch:  or visit

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About Seetec

Seetec is a leading provider of training, skills and rehabilitation services to businesses and government in the UK and Ireland. It is the 9th largest employee-owned company in the UK and the largest employee owned business in the sectors within which it operates.  

The business helps thousands of people every year to take ownership over their future by helping them into work, develop new skills or make more positive choices. Originally founded in 1984, the company has grown by focusing on creating sustainable and lasting change for the people it supports.

The company is Ofsted Grade 2, B-Corp certified and accredited with the gold award for the Investors in People and Health & Wellbeing standard. For more information, visit

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