With Brexit almost upon us, regardless of a ‘Deal or No Deal’ companies and affected individuals across Ireland are turning to experts, such as those at CILT Skillnet, for guidance on how to handle one of the biggest disruptions to the supply chain and logistics network in Ireland in decades.
The impact of the end of the ‘transition period’ on 31 December, 2020, and beyond, will be enormous, given that almost 95,000 Irish firms trade with the UK, according to Mick Curran, CEO of Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) Ireland and Network Promoter of CILT Skillnet and highlighted that: “In 2019, the value of this relationship was £62.7 billion.”
The CILT Skillnet was established in 2016 and provides a specialised learning network for enterprises of all sizes within the transport, logistics and supply chain management sectors in Ireland. It is one of 70 training networks that operate under the umbrella of Skillnet Ireland, an Irish Government business support agency, responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning.
“2020 has proved to be one of the most challenging years in recent memory with a culmination of global events which have tested logisticians and transport networks, both nationally and globally,” added Mick.
“The combination of the Covid-19 pandemic along with the end of the Brexit ‘transition period’ is almost a perfect storm for businesses trading with or through the UK. Preparation is vital, and learning is a very important part of this preparation,” advises Michael Fitzgerald, CILT Skillnet Network Manager.
To that end, some of CILT Skillnet’s most successful and well-known national training and education programmes have been built around the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. ‘Brexit & Your Business’, a free webinar series aimed at keeping business in Ireland informed on how to trade with and through the UK will operate from January 1, 2021.
Another impactful initiative offered by CILT Skillnet is the tailored ‘Certificate in Customs Compliance and Trade Facilitation’ programme, validated by IT Carlow and designed to help Irish businesses to trade internationally easier, faster and with lower costs. This is the only programme in Ireland accepted by Revenue as an approved training course when assessing an applicant for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.
“Demand for the programme has been very high and the feedback from learners has been really positive. We recently launched three additional courses for early 2021 which are filling up fast. The high quality, high impact training along with the subsidised training cost is really attractive to businesses in the current climate,” added Michael Fitzgerald, CILT Skillnet Network Manager.
Together with Skillnet Ireland, CILT Skillnet has also been getting businesses nationwide Brexit-ready through the ‘Clear Customs’ initiative; a free training programme delivered virtually, as part of Getting Ireland Brexit Ready. Last year, CILT Skillnet trained 995 people across 512 companies in Customs Clearance procedures through the Clear Customs programme. This year they aim to more than double that number as the deadline looms large and business rapidly need to train for all aspects of dealing with the complexities of Customs as Britain moves outside the European Union.
“Brexit is almost here,” stated Mick Curran. “There are no rabbits to be pulled out of a hat at the last moment. Deal or no deal, goods will only be able to move to and from the UK accompanied by a Customs declaration. Without a declaration, there will be no movement.”
To get business in Ireland Brexit-ready, as well as dealing with unexpected crises such as the global health pandemic, CILT Skillnet offer off-the-shelf courses, specifically chosen and tailored to meet many of the training needs of businesses. As Michael Fitzgerald noted, the Covid-19 focused programmes delivered by CILT Skillnet, such as ‘Returning to Work’ and ‘Designated Person’, were rolled out as the first lockdown ended.
“They really helped logistics and transport companies come back once the lockdown lifted,” he said.
Bespoke training programmes can also be created where CILT Skillnet works with a business to identify their training needs and then design, plan and deliver the specific training required. That expertise will be vital given the uncertainty that is certain to follow in the year ahead.