Just two years after it was launched in March 2019, the British International Freight Association’s Young Forwarder Network (YFN) has passed the milestone of 50 events, which is made all the more impressive considering the massive disruption caused to the sector from COVID-19 and the UK’s exit from the EU.

In its first year, 741 individuals had attended 28 events organised by the YFN, which included regional launch events, airport and port tours, as well as talks by industry professionals.

In March 2020, COVID-19 led to the first national lockdown, which caused a temporary hiatus in planning, but events recommenced online in May 2020 with a virtual bake-off.

In the past 12 months, 1,222 participants have attended 23 online events with the 50th event, a virtual port tour of DP World London Gateway, taking place yesterday, attracting a record 108 participants.

The YFN was launched in March 2019 to create several regional networking groups, run by young forwarders and designed to help early talent and young BIFA members develop their knowledge and professional skills, but in a more social environment.

Carl Hobbis, BIFA Executive Director, who has management responsibility for BIFA’s training and development services, says: “When the YFN was launched, we said we thought it would prove to be a major step forward for the industry in developing its future freight forwarding ambassadors and leaders.

“The young people who are participating in the events are improving their knowledge of the sector, trends within it, as well as building their skill sets and learning from others.”

BIFA’s Young Forwarder Network (YFN) is committed to providing opportunities for those new to the industry to develop their knowledge and professional skills. Membership is free and open to any employee of a BIFA Member company.

Robert Keen, Director General of BIFA adds: “50 events in two years is a remarkable achievement and a clear sign of the attraction of the YFN to the younger generation within the freight sector.

“The YFN is really helping improve the promotion of the sector, making it more attractive to younger people and providing forums from which to learn.

“We now need more BIFA members to take heed of this opportunity by encouraging attendance at YFN events; and making greater efforts to promote the freight forwarding and logistics sector in their locality.”

Hobbis concludes: “As we aim for a century of events, hopefully, we will be able to hold some in a face-to-face, more social environment, just like in the first 12 months of the YFN.”

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