The future of FIATA learning

A little over a year ago, the FIATA General Meeting voted in favour of merging the FIATA Logistics Academy (FLA) and the Advisory Body on Vocational Training (ABVT) to form the FIATA Logistics Institute (FLI). This historic decision was a commitment by FIATA to meet the emerging online challenges in professional development and training and integrate the capabilities of FLA and ABVT, for more efficient delivery.

In January 2020, Stephen Morris was appointed by the FIATA Presidency in an interim chair capacity of the FLI. His mission was to build the new policy and processes to hand the newly created institute to the FLI chair elected at the FIATA General Meeting in December 2020. As Mr Morris’ mandate has now come to an end, he discusses the FLI structure and this year’s work which was continued from FLA and ABVT, as well as the way forward.

An overview of the current situation

One of the key achievements since January 2020 has been the maintenance of the work of ABVT as to the FIATA Minimum Standards (FMS) in freight forwarding to enable aspiring individuals to acquire the FIATA Diploma. Based on these set of standards, FIATA has successfully – through its Member Associations who are validated as to their training – expanded critical knowledge, skill sets and overall professionalism in transport logistics and supply chain management.

In addition, the FLA work to foster FIATA’s vision for the future by providing members access to a ‘One Knowledge Source for Global Logistics’ has been consolidated and will progress further in 2021 to take full advantage of the benefits offered by online training. Beyond having shown its ever-increasing relevance during the pandemic, this mode of training represents a flexible, responsive and cost-efficient option acceptable to the new generation of operatives in service to supply chain management and trade logistics.

In terms of change management process, time and energy were invested to develop, as required, the FLI Rules of Procedures (also known as Standard Operating Procedures in modern parlance); which lay out solid foundations for FLI to keep working in an efficient and goal-oriented way on these new initiatives.

Setting goals and objectives 

FLI gives effect to FIATA’s skills development vision for the industry of the future, where it can provide members with the above referenced ‘One Knowledge Source for Global Logistics’ by:

  • positioning training in supply chain, freight logistics and linked soft skills learning among the priorities of deliverables for FIATA’s;
  • contributing to the promotion and marketing of training in freight logistics as a fundamental training programme for practitioners in international trade;
  • participation in the plan, design and development of educational opportunities and courses for FIATA members and subsequently where deemed appropriate industry in general;
  • developing best practices as to applications and training programmes for industry vocational training;
  • continuous process improvement of the FLI validation and revalidation of Association Member competency-based training through delivery methodologies and curriculum development;
  • developing a mentoring programme to support FLI training activities.

Introducing three key task forces

The FLI structure is quite straightforward. It is composed of a chair and a deputy chair, as well as members drawn from delegates of Association Members, all working collaboratively with the FIATA Headquarters. Most interestingly, and this is an innovative feature of FLI, the work and process management will be carried out by three task forces, under the oversight of the FLI Chair. Each of the task forces relates to a different workstream, corresponding to FLI’s mission and mandate:

  • Task Force 1: FIATA Training Standards. The task force defines and ensures the implementation of high-quality training standards within the industry by regular update of the FIATA Minimum Standards. It ensures the Minimum Standards are maintained and updated arising from the latest developments on training and education, and in the industry. It also ensures FIATA remains at the forefront of standards on education, training, and professional development;
  • Task Force 2: Digital learning and international cooperation. The task force supports Association Members in the development and implementation of online training programmes leading to the FIATA Diploma and the FIATA Higher Diploma and any other training programmes certified by FIATA;
  • Task Force 3: Young professionals and diversity. The task force focuses on the key aspect of providing for FIATA members young professionals within the industry and increasing human resources’ diversity across gender, ethnicity and economies.

Identifying the challenges and opportunities

With the current COVID-19 crisis, there is an opportunity for Association Members to look at digital learning and develop these options in a way that employers and employees are able to use this time to their advantage, so that when the rebuilding period commences, a highly skilled workforce will be ready to drive business and economies.

There is a need to offer a sustainable, quality-management facility for professional training to FIATA members through access to leading-edge intellectual property and education, training and development methodologies through our own resources or that of partnerships, so that our members can leverage that opportunity.

Message to the newly elected FLI Chair

The creation of a new institute involved considerable work and it will now be the responsibility of the FLI Chair to continue building on that momentum, in line with FIATA’s ‘reset programme’. Chairs of other FIATA bodies have the luxury of precedent, long-standing human resources and corporate history. This was not the case for FLI. This was a greenfield and work still needs to be done. In a few words, my message to the newly elected FLI Chair would be: “Work closely with the FLI delegates, embrace the change and provide a high-level of input with the FIATA Headquarters”.

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