ICS South Africa offer of distance learning programmes

Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2021

ICS South Africa Education offer

Critical to adapt skills to new normal

This article Appeared in South Africa's Freight Features News in September 2021 under the Training & Recruitment section

There has been a surge in online and distance learning courses which has encouraged upskilling and breaking down of barriers for training opportunities in industry, according to Catherine Moodie, chairperson of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) South African branch.

"Over the past 18 months there has been a growing need for online courses.  Covid-19 restrictions and compliance required for the industry have created a need for digitisation of courses and the implementation of distance learning opportunities," she says, indicating how the move to virtual training has allowed for better accessibility for many learners.

"As an organisation, we have seen a steady increase in interest from participants wanting to improve their skills and elevate their knowledge - especially to the changes we have experienced in shipping and logistics from the recent worldwide events," says Moodie.

This is a wake-up call for the shipping industry. "Applicants do not have the job-specific skills that are required and applicants lack work experience to perform the roles," explains Moodie. "With the current global trend of digitising becoming more apparent in the shipping and logistics industry - along with the ability to adapt and be flexible - employees should be open to adapting their skills to the working environment with positive attitude towards learning and meeting future changes.

Many of the required skills are not available because of lack of training and the ability to adapt to the changes and keep shipping and logistics an attractive industry to work in."

Another challenge is that shipping and logistics is not understood or often just overlooked as a career opportunity, says Moodie.  "Creating awareness, training and mentoring improves employability, and it also drives the necessary skill set that is required in this industry. With this in mind, the ICS regularly updates and renews its course topics and subject matter to ensure that it relates to industry and covers real working examples."

According to Moodie, the training sector requires constant investment. "The reality, however, is that often training is one of the first items that is cut back when times are hard. Training encouragement originates from mentors and those wanting to develop and enhance their skills with a return of income and better prospects."

She believes that setting standards is essential - both for training providers and course material.

The qualifications offered should not only to have local recognition but also international recognition, as the shipping and logistics industry is global. "This encourages employability and opportunities to grow within the industry."

As a major provider of education and training, the ICS last year launched its "Understanding Shipping" course online with monthly workshops.  This course offers a thorough introduction to topics and terminology relating to the shipping and maritime industry. Assignments are completed after each of the nine modules, followed by an oral interview for the overall course content.

On completion, students who pass are awarded an International Understanding Shipping certificate - which carries international recognition - issued from the London head office "We too offer our international distance learning programme, "Tutorship", and a variety of courses designed for new entrants to the shipping industry and more experienced people looking for specialised knowledge and development into other more specific fields of shipping," says Moodie.