Going digital: A review of BIFA’s new online training courses

Along with several members of the BIFA Young Forwarder Network, Madeleine Matheson, who recently started work with BIFA’s PR consultancy Impress Communications, participated in the testing of BIFA’s new digital training programme prior to it going live at the beginning of June. Here, she reviews her experience

With the coronavirus pandemic bringing BIFA’s face-to-face training programme to a halt, the four-strong training team spent time modifying the content of some of BIFA’s courses so that they could be delivered by video conferencing online. Initially BIFA’s new training consists of two

courses: Freight Forwarding Essentials and Customs Essentials. The former is a three-day course for those new

to forwarding, designed to allow delegates to gain basic experience of the overall processes, with the latter designed for those who have a basic awareness of export and import procedures but who need to gain a better understanding of Customs regimes. More courses are to be adapted and added in the coming weeks.

Course trainers Participants receive workbooks in advance of the interactive training, which features live trainers with over 25 years of industry experience. Having only been in the world of freight and logistics for a short time – albeit as a non-practitioner – I jumped at the opportunity to participate in the testing of the virtual training programme, whilst also broadening my understanding of the role of freight forwarding in global supply chains. BIFA’s three main trainers – Claire Capaccioli,

Elizabeth Sumner and Graeme Wilkinson – along with training development manager Carl Hobbis, will deliver the new interactive training modules, so the testing was a good opportunity to make sure

July 2020

that the new virtual system would work in practice. The trainers’ knowledge on the subject matter

became apparent immediately through their presentation of information in a clear and concise manner. A wealth of information is packed into

sessions, which vary from 30 minutes to one hour in length. Each module begins with a set of objectives, which will have been achieved by the end of the module. The modules follow a progressive order so the

course is logical and understandable. The formulas and calculations for someone starting out in the industry can make the sessions quite challenging – albeit an interesting and fun challenge. I would certainly recommend having a calculator to hand for the more mathematical sections. Diagrams and photographs of case study

examples are used throughout the course to further illustrate different scenarios and aid

understanding, which I found useful. The trainers also kept the course very interactive by frequently asking for examples from participants and their area of work. This again was very useful as it helped with the understanding of specific scenarios. In addition, videos are used to provide visible examples of processes. Each module concludes with a short informal assessment, which participants worked through together. Once a module was completed, there was an

opportunity to offer feedback via a survey, which I felt was very productive as in the later modules my feedback seemed to have been incorporated and built in.

Permanent additions I understand that BIFA sees these courses becoming a permanent part of its training calendar. Clearly, one of the outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic is that people have embraced web-based solutions due to remote working, so I feel that people will think twice about travelling for meetings and classroom training in the future. Whilst it is difficult to beat a live face-to-face

session with a trainer, this hybrid solution is much better than solo eLearning or a webinar. Overall, I would say that the new virtual

Madeleine Matheson: “The new virtual training platform is excellent.”

training platform is excellent and having completed the modules, I can now say that my understanding of the world of freight forwarding and its role in international supply chains is much improved thanks to the trainers at BIFA.


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