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BIFA awards highlight vital role of apprenticeships

BIFA awards highlight vital role of apprenticeships

Thomas Frost from Geodis and Jack Reddington from Hemisphere Freight Services won the British International Freight Association (BIFA) awards for their excellence in making a difference to their employer’s business.

Four apprentices were shortlisted for the award and judges were astounded by the quality of the applications and the knowledge and maturity they demonstrated facing rigorous face-to-face interviews and presentations.

Thomas, who was recruited to Geodis’ apprenticeship scheme by Seetec Outsource in July 2018, was chosen for the quality and thoroughness of his research and his professionalism and confidence in progressing his freight forwarding career. The judges identified him as a future leader in his field.

Chris Packwood, managing director, said, “Rarely, an employee shines so brightly it is impossible to overlook them, and Thomas is one of these people. What really set Thomas apart was his assertive and confident manner coupled with a desire to learn.”

As well as learning functional aspects of his role quickly, from negotiating with airlines to completing export customs entries and airline delivery schedules, Thomas quickly grasped the commercial aspects.

Packwood continued, “Thomas listens closely to advice and understands commercially that whilst moving goods is the role, making money is the goal. This was demonstrated when the team took on a challenge to maximise profits.

“Thomas, on his own initiative, kept the details of all shipments where he and the team had found ways to improve value for the company. I fully expect Thomas to become a future respected leader in the industry.”

Thomas started working in the freight industry with a part-time role at FedEx Express, which helped him to understand the opportunities to build a rewarding career.

After gaining his apprenticeship with Geodis, he quickly embraced the support provided by the structured learning programme combined with on the job training.

Thomas said, “I have been learning about business acumen and the need to identify opportunities for improvement. I look forward to starting a full-time role at Geodis and, long term, I aspire to a managerial role, ultimately Managing Director.”

Jack Reddington was chosen for his enthusiasm, persuasion and determination, with the judges describing him as “a superb ambassador for future apprenticeships.”

Jack’s managers at Hemisphere Freight Services, Louis Perrin and Katie Murphy, said he was their first apprentice and they were concerned the apprenticeship would be time-consuming and onerous for his colleagues.

“Jack has proved this to be wrong and he contributes massively to our team and has made us very passionate about bringing more apprentices into our company and the industry,” they said.

With his qualification in customs upcoming, Jack is moving into the import operations team. His managers continued, “Jack is an absolute natural when it comes to networking and building relationships with colleagues and industry peers.”

This has included becoming actively involved in the Young Forwarder Network and becoming vice-chair of the East Anglia region.

Jack said, “Over the next five years, I hope to become a supervisor and keep progressing my knowledge, career and experience at Hemisphere, while continuing to promote the industry to other young people. There are so many different career paths available in logistics, as well as numerous apprenticeship schemes like Hemisphere’s which give people an excellent grounding in the industry.

“I can honestly say that pursuing a career in the freight and logistics industry is the best decision I have ever made.”

Marnie Rose from Seetec Outsource said, “Thomas and Jack demonstrate the enormous value apprentices bring to both large and small businesses. With their enthusiasm and commitment, they provide real opportunities for employers to develop talent to future-proof their business.”

Robert Keen, BIFA director general, said, “The calibre of entrants for the Apprenticeship category of the BIFA Freight Service awards was phenomenal. It gives me great confidence that the future of the industry will be in good hands – our challenge is to continue to recruit young talent to maintain the professionalism and high standards our industry requires.”

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