Danielle Ford, a customs manager for Portwest, graduated yesterday (19 October) with a level 4 customs practitioner award. But what made her choose to take the course, how has it helped her, and what was her experience like learning with the Institute
of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT)?
After taking a year out of work following the birth of her son, Ford was working for a large carrier firm, and decided customs was a path for development. She said:
“I knew Brexit was coming up, and I wanted to start training and understanding what I could to further my career. I didn’t want to just stay in exports, so I built my knowledge in customs through IOE&IT.”
That knowledge brought her a new role as the customs manager of a worldwide business. The future may hold further study – Ford says she is looking to continue her studies with an IOE&IT customs degree, adding:
“If people are looking to enhance their career, enhance their skills, I would definitely recommend it.”
She lauds the support she received and how easy it made it to learn the course material. The customs practitioner course is “really, really informative”, she says, and contained everything she needed to know for her particular role.
“I found everything I need to know from the perspective of my business on importing and exporting. It’s all detailed really well within the content.”
On student support, Ford argues that, on some courses by other providers, “there’s not always someone you can go to”. When taking her customs course, however, she found there was always help available, and you never had to struggle alone with your training.
“There’s guidance and help there. It’s just about making sure you use the resources that are available. For me, it’s really important to understand that you’re not doing it alone.”
IOE&IT’s webinars received particularly glowing praise, with Ford making special mention of how they contributed to her understanding of the border target operating model (BTOM) and post-Brexit trading arrangements with the EU.
The webinars also fit in with her workload, she says, slotting in neatly around her lunch hours.
Speaking about how the course has fit into the story of her career – and her life – Ford notes that she didn’t take the university path after school, getting stuck straight into export work at the age of 16. Now, however, she says she’s thrilled by the prospect of getting a degree, and is even thinking of going further with a master’s qualification.
“I would never have dreamed that I would be in the position that I’m in now, never having been to university – it’s a very different path that I chose.
“I love learning, and I love being able to teach people. It all excites me and I have no reason to think I’m going to stop any time soon – I just hope the IOE&IT can keep up!”