IF THERE is one thing that we all agree on – regardless of which side of the industry you work in – is that we have an aging workforce both in government and the private sector.

There was once a time when we started our careers in this industry with the face-to-face release of documents and very little, if any, online communications.

Then something happened in the late 90s and while we may consider this to be a turning point for the better, it brought with it some difficulties. With internet and electronic communications, we started to see the effect of this in our recruitment in the early part of the 2000s.

No longer are we employing those young people in positions such as “the runner,” as there is no need for this.

We have become time-poor in both training and development of our young industry members and very few young people are entering the industry.

This has, as we know, created a gap in our skilled professionals, namely our customs brokers. In a few years, the average age of the customs broker will be well over 50, with only a quarter of all licensed brokers in Australia being under this age bracket.

To head this off IFCBAA is partnering with our members and has begun a pilot campaign advertising to secondary schools and appearing at school career days.


IFCBAA is partnering with employment agencies and engaging with companies and organisations that can help drive employment opportunities for our members.

Throughout 2023, we have engaged with various workforce placement companies, government and nongovernment recruitment organisations and other organisations that have helped to open doors and provide exposure to the benefits of working in the international trade industry.

Rosie Hegarty, facilitator with Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has been an important part of this discussion. Several meetings have taken place throughout the year and each one has opened another door to connecting with various employment agencies.

It is through the engagement with DEWR that led to further discussions with Maryanne Chappell, Industry employment Specialist at Wise Employment. Partnering with groups that already do the hard work of screening at very little cost to our members has been a positive part of the discussion and we are working with Wise to promote our diplomas as part of the overall benefit to our members.


IFCBAA works to provide its members with relevant continued professional development forums.

In November, we had our first Freight Forwarder Forum – designed and tailored towards the freight forwarding teams in our logistics businesses held at the Swan International Hotel in Ascot.

The event was the first of its kind and we will be rolling out the format in our other states on the back of the successful event in WA. The feedback was positive and we had a full room of forwarders with speakers from MSC, Dnata, Fremantle Ports and ABF providing our members with up-to-date information on technology and securing our borders.

IFCBAA continues to work on new initiatives and trialling new and innovative ways to bring our members together, to give them information as it happens and to provide support to our members, regardless of the query.

This article appeared in the December 2023/January 2024 edition of DCN Magazine