Last week the department of education gave the green light to the employer group, known as ‘Trailblazers’, to create the standard for a specific international Freight Forwarding Operative Apprenticeship.

This is something people in the industry have been asking the government for years’ now. There is a shortage of skilled workers in the sector and with increasing pressure on the industry to deliver to tighter timescales, more highly skilled HGV drivers are needed. It is estimated that 35,000 jobs are readily available, but the resources to train and build young people up isn’t there.


The Trailblazer group is made up of 38 members, including Neon Freight, DHL and International Forwarding to just name a few. Driving this is the industry giant Kuehne + Nagel, led by Jon Hettrick – the HR director – who has been a dedicated member of the team on this vital industry endeavour.

“The whole sector can benefit from training and development provision that delivers the specialist knowledge and skills we use every day in freight forwarding,” –  Mr Hettrick

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) have always been a huge encouragement to the Trailblazer group. In January, BIFA called upon the wider freight forwarding community to provide support for the initiative. BIFA said it was imperative that the industry has an apprenticeship scheme now more than ever.


With full support, the Trailblazer group submitted an expression of interest (EOI) in January, now with the approval confirmed they can start work on the blueprints and standards detailing what the apprenticeship will entail.

The story doesn’t end here though, following this submission, BUILDUK released a document outlining how Trailblazer apprenticeships are coming into all industries. The Minister of state for apprenticeships and skills, Robert Halforn said that:

By putting more control in the hands of employers, we are ensuring apprenticeships are high quality and address skills shortages facing the industry.” 

Offering more opportunities to young people gives them a chance to gain vital skills, and this movement forward is not only a milestone for the freight forward industry but for how education can be accessed and applied to real day-to-day work.


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