Graduation Day at Irish International Freight Association (IIFA)


On Wednesday, 12 September 2018, IIFA held the Graduation Ceremony for the 2018 IIFA FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding Class Group, while  also marking the 10 Year Anniversary of IIFA delivering the FIATA Diploma directly through the Association.

This event included guest speakers from previous year Groups who shared their past experiences about where they were when they undertook the training, what further education has done for them and what their careers have been like since.

31 Participants from the 2017 – 2018 Class Group became FIATA Diploma Holders on the night. Among the guest speakers were Gabbie White, Director, Global Logistics at Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., Sinead Wheatley, Key Account Manager at Kuehne & Nagel Ireland Ltd., and Glen Warnock, CEO at Emerald Freight Express Ltd., all sharing their past experiences.

IIFA President Bob Rainsford congratulated the new graduates and looked back on the past ten years. Bob commented that these graduates are the future of the industry and time has certainly brought truth to those words. The list of IIFA FIATA Diploma Graduates includes individuals who have progressed to become owners of IIFA member companies, Managing Directors of Multi-nationals, Logistic Managers, and others involved in specialised areas such as Customs & Trade Compliance Coordination. Other graduates represented IIFA in the annual FIATA Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year competition and closer to home, IIFA has seen three graduates become two Presidents and a Vice-President of IIFA.


Bob went on to congratulate IIFA Secretariat Seamus Kavanagh and Grainne Thornbury for their work developing the Irish FIATA Diploma  as a stand-out among FIATA’s Global FIATA Diploma providers. Ireland was among the National Associations to offer this training online and was the first to deliver training internationally, to a US Marine based in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2016.

Another record was celebrated on the night with Philip Thornton of Wells Cargo Logistics Ltd. A 4thYear Student completing work experience in the industry over the past year, Philip’s interest in Freight Forwarding saw him undertake the full FIATA Diploma course as a project during his Transition Year in Secondary School. Bob commended Philip on this by remarking that “Successful completion of this course requires a significant level of self-discipline for the home study involved. In Philip’s case, the largest exam he ever faced was the Junior certificate so while completing and passing the course would be a great achievement, he went further, really put the work in and as testament to this, emerged with a Merit level FIATA Diploma qualification. In doing so, Philip has earned the accolade of being the Youngest FIATA Diploma Holder worldwide, a great personal success and a great success for Ireland.”

“Since IIFA started this training with a classroom seminar on 25thNovember 2008 in the Grand Hotel in Malahide, the Association has evolved over the years to now offer a fully online training platform covering every corner of our country, adapting to the needs of those employed within our dynamic and demanding industry, while staying up to date with relevant industry procedures and regulations. The 31 Graduates from the 2017 – 2018 Class Group raised the number of FIATA Diplomas delivered through IIFA to 226. Combining this number with those previously delivered through FAS from the mid-90s until 2010 raises the number of Irish FIATA Diploma Qualifications to just under 600, a significant number in the presence of the global 14,000 FIATA Diplomas.”

Bob Rainsford closed the event commenting that “We at the IIFA are committed to keeping our members up to date with any new developments within the industry. Our focus is on education and encouraging our members to avail of the industry ready training we have to offer. It is very important that we as Freight Forwarders have the proper expertise to offer our customers.”