Interview with Stephen McDermott, Director of Education and Marketing of CIFFA

“We designed these logistics training programmes to train our 300+ member logistics companies in Canada, but in the last years, they have been integrated into the curriculum of 16 post-secondary colleges and have been taken by more than 15,000 industry professionals”

CIFFA - freight forwarding courses
Stephen McDermott from CIFFA

This week, we interviewed Stephen McDermott, the Director of Education and Marketing of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA).

Since last year, CIFFA has been working together with The Cooperative Logistics Network to provide exclusive and competitive prices for their freight forwarding courses. These courses, designed by experienced professionals in various logistics fields, have been delivering top-notch professional education to students for many years. Geared towards individuals working in the supply chain sector, the courses offer an opportunity to enhance their careers. Additionally, newcomers to the industry looking to establish a solid foundation in the sector will find these courses perfect for starting their journey.

The Cooperative Logistics Network has just opened registration for the highly sought-after International Transportation and Trade course. Members can already enrol for the course that will start on 2nd October 2023. During our conversation, Mr McDermott provided us with a comprehensive overview of CIFFA’s freight forwarding courses, emphasizing their significance and the exceptional reputation they have garnered within the industry. He also shared valuable insights into the course content, the benefits of enrolling, and the collaboration with the Cooperative Logistics Network.

Q. What prompted you to launch courses for people in the freight forwarding sector?

A. To start with, we designed these logistics training programmes to train our 300+ member logistics companies in Canada. Our training programmes not only help the new employees get a fair knowledge of the industry but also offer valuable opportunities for people looking to advance their careers in the logistics field. Moreover, our freight forwarding courses are currently integrated into the curriculum of 16 post-secondary colleges, specifically within international business and supply chain programs. These courses prioritize the fundamental skills and competencies needed to excel as an independent freight forwarder, giving a competitive edge over generic logistics courses.

Q. When did you start offering logistics courses?

A. CIFFA was created in September 1948 in Montreal by a small group of freight forwarders who wanted to create an association that could cater to the professional needs of its members. For over four decades, CIFFA has been helping freight forwarding professionals scale their careers.

Q. How many students have you had to date?

A. Over the last ten years, our courses have been taken by more than 15,000 industry professionals who have benefited from the extensive knowledge and expertise they provide. The Coop’s Online Academy currently offers two of CIFFA’s freight forwarding courses: International Transportation and Trade, and Essentials of Freight Forwarding.

Q. Are you satisfied with your cooperation with The Cooperative Logistics Network?

A. The Cooperative Logistics Network is an excellent partner who has a commitment to bringing education to its members globally. We started our cooperation with them last year for them to offer the International Transportation and Trade Course and Essentials of Freight Forwarding Course and we are very happy with this productive partnership!

Q. Could you briefly mention the advantages of participating in these training programmes?

A. Our freight forwarding courses not only train the learners and test their understanding, but it also ensure that they get to apply their education to real-world logistics scenarios. Moreover, the digital disruption in the transportation and logistics sector has made lifelong learning imperative. The advent of digitization and automation of the work processes demand a wider range of expertise. The most valuable workers are those who can adapt to the needs of the time and come up with new ways of thinking. Therefore, one needs to engage in lifelong learning to stay updated with the needs of logistics 4.0 and secure their position in the industry.

Q. Who formulates the logistics courses?

A. Our course content is formulated by a team who are veritable experts on the topics covered in the courses. Moreover, we regularly consult these experts to ensure that the courses are up-to-date and relevant.

Q. How did CIFFA acquire this high reputation?

A. CIFFA will celebrate 75 years in 2023, dedicated to offering membership and advocacy services to the logistics industry. Right from the start, we have forged deep connections and partnerships within the industry. This includes our education programs that our members rely upon to teach the vital skills and competencies required of their workforce. Furthermore, CIFFA continually builds on this experience and listens to feedback from students and the industry to create the highest quality education programs. More importantly, our courses enjoy very high approval rates from students.