BIFA to launch networking group for young forwarders in U.K.

In an effort to encourage more young professionals to join the freight forwarding profession in the United Kingdom, the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said it will create a new networking group, the BIFA Young Forwarders Network (YFN), on March 6 to represent people who have recently joined the industry.

Initially, the goal for YFN is to create several regional networking groups “run by young forwarders and designed to help early talent and young BIFA members develop their knowledge and professional skills, but in a more social environment,” said Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s training development manager. The groups will focus on giving YFN members the opportunity to network with their peers and learn from more-established industry professionals, he added.

Each networking group will have a chairperson and vice-chairperson, and a local organizing committee, governed by at least two regional employers and a BIFA representative. The first of the regional groups will start at London Heathrow, before expanding later to England’s North West, the Midlands, Anglia and the South East regions.

“So far, every employer I’ve asked to get involved has been very supportive and extremely positive about its concept,” Hobbis said. “The more that get involved, the better.”

The YFN launch will take place during the U.K.’s 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week, March 4-8, during which BIFA said it will be active on social media “to share useful tips and advice with both employers and employees who are interested in learning more about apprenticeships in the industry,” Hobbis said.

All apprentices participating in the International Freight Forwarding Specialist Apprenticeship program will automatically be invited to join YFN. Membership in the network, which is offered free to everyone, will also count towards the 20 percent “off-the-job learning” that apprentices must complete.

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