Apprenticeship Standard: International Freight Forwarding Specialist Level 3

Apprenticeship Standard: International Freight Forwarding Specialist Level 3

Course Code: APL3IF Duration: 2 Years Attendance: Apprenticeship Location: Farnborough Campus Start Date: 09/09/2024    


About the course

The processing of international trade documentation is vital to the UK economy and the demand for international trade skills is forecast to rise.  Freight Forwarders implement these key processes. The sector deals with complex customs legislation and has a need demonstrate competence in compliance with customs controls and procedures. Clients require their international supply chain to be fully secure, efficient and compliant.

What do they do?

International Freight Forwarding Specialists are employed to ensure that the company they work for, and their clients remain compliant with all applicable customs, import and export laws and regulations.  They understand customs rules, regulations and terms of trade, know where to find information and when to escalate issues. They have specific skills around customs procedures, classification of goods, allocating modes of transport and all relevant paper and electronic documentation.

International Freight Forwarding Specialists are responsible for a variety of tasks on a daily basis such as shipment bookings, creating the appropriate documents, liaison with carriers, ports and handling agents, transport requirements, sales quotations, invoicing, financial procedures as well as the many customs processes and regimes they will come across. Clients must be kept informed proactively of progress and this requires skills and behaviours in customer service linked to an appreciation of international cultures, time zones and their effect on transit times. International Freight Forwarding Specialists have the ability to communicate effectively with people from different countries, taking account of differences in working practices.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this course then please contact us by phone on 01252 40 55 55 or message us.

Your course

What modules are covered?

The apprenticeship program consists of the following 4 components, leading to a Level 3 International Freight Forwarding Specialist:

1. Knowledge and understanding of:-

  • The commercial basis for the consolidation of goods being moved across the world and the purpose, function, structure and organisation of the freight forwarding industry.
  • World geography, political boundaries, time zones and travel times.
  • The principles underpinning the regulatory systems that apply to freight forwarding and the import and export of goods and the function of the key regulatory organisations.
  • The terms of international sales (Incoterms).
  • International freight documentation and cargo booking procedures.
  • The range and characteristics of road, ocean, and air transport and the determinants of their use in freight forwarding.
  • The role of freight forwarders in the selection of modes of transport as goods are moved around the world.
  • The importance of marine insurance and carrier’s liability.
  • The classifications of hazardous goods and the restrictions applied to their movement.
  • The use of documentary letters of credit to reduce financial risk in international trade
  • The key features of international customs and excise regimes.
  • The differences in how goods are moved under the different customs controls that apply in the UK, the EU and internationally and the purpose, function and range of Customs Procedure Codes.
  • The entry, transit and exit procedures that apply to goods being imported and exported.
  • The key contents of the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom (UK Trade Tariff).
  • How to find out about the preferences/trade agreements that may apply in international trade.
  • Business accountancy and taxation principles.
  • Commercial invoicing, including appreciation of foreign currencies.
  • Billing and accruals.
  • Pricing and spot-quoting.
  • The importance of accurate and timely communication with customers both internally and externally to own organisation.
  • The importance of proactively monitoring shipments during all stages of the international door-to-door process, including the monitoring of  departure/arrival times of bookings via trucks, vessels, flights, customs and transit delays in foreign countries and the impact of time zone differences.
  • The importance of communicating any delays (domestic or international) to the customer in a proactive manner, in line with their KPIs and giving them as much notice as possible to enable them to plan contingencies.
  • The principles of customer service, customer relationship management and complaint handling.
  • The economic importance of respecting business and social cultures in all aspects of international trading.
  • The business and social cultures of overseas countries with whom you trade, how these cultures differ from those of the UK and the impact this has on the style, content and timing of written and verbal communication with them.


2. The competency to achieve the following in the workplace:-

  • Create international transit documentation.
  • Accurately enter data regarding goods being imported or exported into generic or bespoke ICT systems.
  • Rate shipments for specific modes of transport in line with Incoterms.
  • Book, plan and monitor international shipments - using manual or ICT systems - in accordance with the rules and regulations that apply to that area of the world and to the goods consigned.
  • Prepare the Single Administrative Document (C88 in UK) for export (National Export System) and import declarations.
  • Use data systems to prepare and submit the information required by customs authorities as part of the management of the international movement of goods.
  • Produce accurate customs declarations & valuations.
  • Use UK Trade Tariff to obtain correct information relating to commodity codes, VAT and duty and perform duty, VAT & excise calculations.
  • Produce freight costings and invoices in line with incoterms and relevant charges.
  • Deal with and understand the effects of currency conversion and exchange rate risks on pricing and invoicing calculations.
  • Apply costs and revenues and is aware of desired margins.
  • Prepare quotes for service.
  • Demonstrate good sales/customer service skills.
  • Obtain the relevant information from systems, or know the right organisations/departments to contact to obtain the information.
  • Deliver high standards of customer service both on the telephone and face to face and use various forms of media effectively where necessary.
  • Demonstrate the use of both verbal and written communication that is appropriate to the business and social cultures of customers and their staff in the overseas countries with whom you trade.

3. The soft skills and behaviours to achieve the following in the workplace:-

  • Shows commercial acumen.  
  • Is entrepreneurial.  
  • Is proactive.  
  • Highly organised, careful and diligent in data entry and written work.
  • Seeks to learn from experienced colleagues and team members.  
  • Is open to feedback on work performance. 
  • Seeks to build respect among colleagues and customers.  
  • Demonstrates teamwork. 
  • Communicates accurately and effectively with colleagues and customers.  
  • Is a good listener.


4. Functional Skills: English & Maths (if required)


5. End Point Assessment

End point assessment is the final stage of your apprenticeship and you must pass this to achieve your apprenticeship. It is the chance to show the skills, knowledge and behaviours you have gained throughout your apprenticeship.


To find out more about the new standard, click here.

What training will be provided?

The training is delivered and assessed whilst attending Farnborough College of Technology once a week to learn the underpinning knowledge and develop skills in practical workshops. Apprentices are also supported in the workplace with regular progress and reviews.

Your future

What Next?

To view our Career Map for this course, please click here.

Apprenticeships are a proven way of increasing staff retention and productivity. 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that Apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.  Apprenticeships enable employers to recruit and train the employees to meet the specific needs of their business.

For more information or to recruit an Apprentice, please contact our Employer Hotline on 01252 407299 or email business@farn-ct.ac.uk

Entry Requirements

What previous qualifications and experience will I need?

The training programme is intended for new or existing staff working in the shipping industry.

The entry criteria are staff aged 16 and over with a minimum of 5 GCSEs A*- C or 9 - 4 to include Maths and English. GCSE’s will be considered along with the results of an initial assessment.

Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths (Grade C / Grade 4) will need to achieve this level prior to taking their apprenticeship end-point assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or legacy statement, the English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

Ask a Question

Course Enquiry

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You can apply for this course online.

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