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South Africa Branch article - Critical to adapt skills to new normal
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2021
This article Appeared in South Africa's Freight Features
News in September 2021 under the Training & Recruitment
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
"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
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
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.
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