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A year of opportunity ahead for the FIATA Logistics Institute

This year will bring great opportunities for the FIATA Logistics Institute (FLI). With the merging of the Advisory Body on Vocational Training (ABVT) and the FIATA Logistics Academy (FLA) complete, FLI will now turn its attention and energy to executing the goals and objectives that were put in place under the leadership of the former FLI Interim Chair, Stephen Morris. Mr Morris was essential in providing new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and in line with FIATA’s reset programme, these SOPs will provide the guidance needed for FLI to be successful in the years to come.

Vision and priorities

The structure of FLI is centred around three task forces who will carry out the FLI mandate and mission. Each of them relates to a specific workstream. Together, they cover the core of FIATA’s strategic focus in the field of training and education for the future. The three task forces are:

  • Task Force 1 – FIATA training standards
  • Task Force 2 – Digital learning and international cooperation
  • Task Force 3 – Young professionals and diversity

We are in the process of firmly establishing these task forces and expect to be doing so for months to come. This means that in the short term, FLI will have two fundamental priorities.

1)      Carefully define the strategic objectives of each task force, in line with the overarching goals that have already been set for them. To do so, like any learning and performance professional, it is incredibly important that we begin by analyzing the current and future needs of FIATA members engaged in education.

Informally, this might include sitting in with regional bodies, or speaking with Association Members and other institutes. Formally, it will take the shape of a thorough assessment, supported by a detailed survey analysis. This assessment should give us indications as to the state of play, needs, and challenges of FIATA members and will be instrumental in understanding the short- and long-term educational priorities. This will in turn provide guidance in defining the strategic objectives of the task forces and subsequent work. Therefore, any requested feedback and input from Association Members will be vital to the future success of FLI.

2)      Ensure that each task force has skilled and motivated members, drawn from the delegates of the associations, who will collaboratively work to ensure that all our objectives are fully met. For delegates who wish to be engaged in the education of freight forwarders on a global scale, becoming involved in one of these task forces is a great start. I look forward to working closely with other volunteers who are passionate about digital learning and the growth of young freight forwarders or the promotion of diversity in the workplace. Ensuring that FIATA remains at the forefront of standards on education, training, and professional development, will be without doubt very fulfilling and rewarding. FLI will issue calls for delegates in the months to come. I strongly encourage Association Members to nominate delegates and deputies to join us and contribute to the crucial mission of FLI.

My vision of FLI is based on participation and collaboration – which I consider to be key to the success of the institute. It will be about giving FIATA Association Members opportunities to engage in and influence the work of FLI, be it through a survey or the voice of the delegates. This way, we will ensure that FLI creates real value for FIATA members and fully caters to their needs when it comes to training and education in freight forwarding.

Current work and initiatives

In parallel to these priorities, we are continuing other important work and initiatives, including the validation or revalidation of programmes from Association Members with respect to the FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding and the FIATA Higher Diploma in Supply Chain Management. Due to the pandemic, the validation series are still taking place online. We are doing our best to ensure our full support to associations applying for validation or revalidation through this new format and that the process remains smooth as possible.

The Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award (YIFFYA) competition is also ongoing. We are looking forward to reading inspiring dissertations written by young freight forwarders. The competition, organized with TT Club as sponsoring partner, is of great importance to FIATA as it is an excellent way to involve and interact with young talent, who represent the future of our industry.

Last but not least, we are preparing the FLI annual work plan which will be finalized at the FIATA HQ Meeting later this month. The work plan will ensure that FLI fully meets its ambitions of creating value for Associations Members, by setting targets and establishing a clear roadmap. Once approved by the FIATA Presidency, this work plan will constitute the basis for what FLI will achieve over the year.

Long-term objectives

Without the completed analysis to fully assess where we stand, and what FIATA members’ needs are, it would be premature to set long-term objectives. I remain open to a wide variety of possibilities. Initial ideas which could, in my opinion, create value for FIATA and its members include:

  • a modernization of the way Association Members are validated to deliver the courses leading to the FIATA diplomas;
  • finding ways to ensure broader access to freight forwarding/logistics education, notably with the use of online trainings;
  • working on the implementation of a mentorship programme between young and more established freight forwarder professionals, as well as increasing the recognition of the incredible work that women provide in freight forwarding.

The coming year proves to be an exciting one, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take the next step in FIATA’s progress as a premier educator.

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