The world’s first online Customs Academy was yesterday officially launched at the House of Commons, marking a vital step towards ensuring UK businesses can trade confidently over borders post Brexit.
Funded by government as part of its efforts in preparing the UK’s businesses and Customs intermediaries sector for post-Brexit trading, the Academy was established at the request of HM Revenue and Customs by KGH Customs, the Institute of Export & International Trade and the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies.
The Academy will enable individuals and businesses to gain the knowledge and skills around international Customs that will be essential for trade post Brexit, whatever form it takes. It will become an essential resource for industry professionals that not only offers leading-edge training and education, but also a unique range of individual and business membership benefits to support the profession, providing invaluable business resources, advice on industry best practice, and a virtual community for industry professionals.
With a range of customs-specific qualifications ranging from an entry-level in Customs Practice and Procedure Award through to a Diploma in Advanced Customs Compliance, you can systematically build your customs knowledge and skills from novice to Accredited Customs Professional through the Academy. These qualifications lead to higher education degrees including a Master of Customs Administration.
All of the courses provided by the Academy can be fully funded by the £16m of new grant funding being offered by the government to help businesses prepare for Brexit. This funding is being provided to support businesses in training staff in completing customs declarations and to help businesses that support others to trade goods to make IT improvements in order to complete customs declarations more efficiently.
Opening the event, Lesley Batchelor OBE, Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade, spoke of the need for professional skills in Customs to be treated more seriously. She said:
“As we do with lawyers and accountants, we should recognise that people working in Customs need professional skills and training in the vital work they do. This new Customs Academy is therefore an essential step towards bolstering professional skills in the sector at this critical time for international trade in the UK.”
Professor David Widdowson, Dean of the UK Customs Academy, added: “The digital academy is a landmark innovation and an important project for us with our strategy to become the leading training provider for the private sector in Europe. At KGH, we are proud to work with world-class partners to deliver this new platform and help companies to provide employees with the highest quality training available.”
Andy Robins, Head of Supply Chain at Aquila Air Traffic Management Services, who attended the event, said: “From my industry’s point of view, given we provide lots of services to the UK government that really need to work properly, there’s a lot of pressure. To have this support from organisations like HMRC, the Institute of Export & International Trade and KGH Customs Services is a great help.”
Clive Brady, the Chairman of the British Warehousekeepers Association, also said: “We’re highly supportive of today’s initiative as we’ve long seen a distinct lack of knowledge in Customs procedures in the UK. We really support these efforts to increase awareness and skills in the industry and we will promote it to our members.”