We are all looking forward to today’s celebratory graduation event at Mansion House, as the latest cohort of international trade specialists enter our profession.
We are delighted to be hosting our ceremony at Mansion House, which has its own, unparalleled history and significance in the City, which has been at the heart of international trade for centuries.
Every graduate present at today’s event now has an opportunity to go out into the world and into a profession which also has a long and fascinating history. And it is one that’s essential for the good of the world. Businesses that trade internationally are more productive and more sustainable, more innovative and, crucially, generate more employment.
Later today we’ll welcome 41 Institute of Export graduates and 54 Customs Academy graduates to Mansion House. In total there were 111 Institute of Export graduates and 839 course completers from the Customs Academy this year. The impact all these amazing people will have on the world of international trade is a staggering thought.
The power of international trade, because of its impact, goes literally all around the world. And our graduates are now trained in international trade at a time when myriad exciting changes are transforming the industry.
These changes will advance and develop trade in ways our predecessors could not have imagined. The digitalisation of trade, picking just one example, will revolutionise how we do trade now and in the future. Through measures enabled in the Electronic Trade Documents Act, the UK is already well on the way to seeing businesses of all types adopt digital measures that will save money and time and be better for the environment.
This last point really matters at a time, and in a context, where we need to see trade becoming more sustainable and with lower costs passed to consumers, amid challenging economic times. It remains for other countries around the world to also adopt these measures for a truly interoperable, interconnected and innovative system to become the norm for global trade.
We are also seeing the incredible power of AI emerging, which will help e-commerce trade processes become easier. In truth, I don’t think we can fully yet imagine the impact AI will have, making our lives easier in a host of ways. I am excited to see how it enables smoother, faster trade processes.
Today’s graduates are the future of this revolution. It will be them responding to consultations on how to make policy more friendly for trading businesses, them who fight for their businesses to grow and create and pioneer the new systems that will make trade faster and more sustainable.
As they graduate today, they embark on a new stage in their career, like previous IOE&IT graduates, armed with the skills and knowledge to help businesses trade internationally. Since 1935 IOE&IT has helped generations of people around the world acquire the knowledge of how to trade across borders.
Our mission to professionalise international trade is energised by the knowledge that international trade has a unique power to transform lives, communities and nations. If we are to address the most significant challenges humanity faces, environmental degradation, health inequalities and access to education, we can only do so through rules-based, compliant trade.
We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare ourselves. And the best way to do that is with skills and knowledge; in short, to study. Today, as we acknowledge the achievements of our graduates and they look forward to exciting new chapters in your careers, I am delighted and proud that IOE&IT has played its part in helping them onto the next stage of their journeys in international trade.
On behalf of the Institute’s team, I wish them all the very best of luck for the future.