Taking leadership in international trade as a career, not just an activity


National Occupancy Standards - International Trade

National Occupancy Standards - International Trade

Have you ever wondered why international trade jobs aren’t more widely recognized and standardized as occupations? Us too, so we’ve decided to take action to change that. As far as we know, this is something that has never been done before by anyone else in the world!

“International trade has historically been viewed as just an extension of the activities that are performed during the course of business,” says Caroline Tompkins, CITP, President at FITT.

But as we very well know, the international trade industry involves countless stand-alone occupations that require specialized knowledge and skills.

Classifying and standardizing international trade jobs, as well as the specific skills and knowledge needed to perform these jobs competently, will make it easier for employers to match qualified candidates to their human-resource gaps. And not only will professionals have an easier time sourcing jobs specific to their individual qualifications, they’ll have standard occupational titles to use to simplify the search process. Approaching international trade like this from a human resources standpoint is a necessary shift because trade is conducted between trade-capable people, not countries or governments.

The roles and responsibilities involved in doing trade across borders are often folded into other jobs and professional classifications, resulting in some confusion about occupational titles, skills requirements and overall human resource needs.

Kathryn Ohashi
Kathryn Ohashi, Manager of Product & Service Development, FITT

Over the next 15 months—with the project leadership of Kathryn Ohashi, FITT’s new Manager of Product & Service Development—we’ll be developing National Occupational Standards (NOS) for up to 50 jobs core to international trade. Kathryn previously worked as a project manager on a number of NOS for early childhood education, as well as on updating those NOS several years later. It was the first time those occupations had been clearly defined and standardized, and it has since led to a higher level of consistency and more clearly defined skills and standards within early childhood education. The same will be done for international trade.

“NOS describe what a person in a particular occupation needs to know and be able to do to be considered capable in a specific occupation,” says Kathryn. “NOS are written by people who are directly employed in the occupations, with the assistance of facilitators, as opposed to being written by researchers. This helps to ensure accuracy and currency.”

FITT will be developing international trade NOS with the help of a committee of experts from across Canada. Members of the committee will have global connections and a breadth of knowledge and experience in international trade from a practical, policy and educational standpoint. The project will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will be the completion of the NOS, and the second will involve updates to FITT’s body of international trade knowledge.

This initiative is going to affect everyone who works in international trade, says Caroline. That includes individual global business professionals, SMEs, import-export service providers, students, government, associations and even educators.

Once we’ve created a benchmark for defining the jobs core to international trade, it will be easier to evaluate performance and growth in the industry. Educators will know what they need to teach to create work-ready graduates. Employers will know which skills their employees need in order to do their jobs competently, and in which areas they should encourage professional development. As a whole the industry will slowly start closing labour gaps, and it will also be in a better position to track the knowledge and skills evolution of occupations vital to its success.

Learn more about the CITP designation

International Business Certification—CITP©/FIBP©

Advance your career and build your professional credibility in the field of global business by earning the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.

Why Earn the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) Designation?

The Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation is the world’s leading professional designation for the field of international business. So whether you’re new to global trade or have over a decade of direct experience, you’ll find the CITP designation can help advance your career and build your professional credibility.

The CITP designation sets you apart in the competitive international business industry because it’s proof you possess the competencies global business experts have identified as being essential for a successful career in international trade. It also recognizes your dedication to ethical business practices and ongoing professional development—both of which are desirable traits for today’s global business practitioners.

Click here to take the next steps to your CITP designation

“The NOS initiative is also going to help us make updates and improvements to our international trade training at FITT,” says Caroline. “We’ll be determining the most relevant skills and knowledge for working in international business today and in the coming years, which will help us tailor our FITTskills courses as well as continue to build on the high standards of educational requirements for our elite Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.”

Ultimately, the NOS initiative is going to enable us at FITT to continue helping international trade professionals and SMEs thrive in global business, which is what we love to do most! And although this initiative is starting in Canada, we’ll be creating a global precedent that can be used by businesses and business professionals around the world.

With all of the recent international trade agreements coming into play, the international trade industry is becoming more vital to the Canadian and global economy than ever before.

By ensuring we have a well-trained, highly specialized and sufficiently equipped workforce to man that industry and the industries it supports, we can make sure we’re prepared to compete and collaborate in world markets.

Stay tuned for more updates on this initiative as it unfolds, and subscribe to our Trade Ready blog to receive updates on this and other exciting projects that will change how global trade jobs are viewed and performed across the business landscape.

 Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Partnerships Initiative Program

About the author

Author: Daniella D'Alimonte

With her background in writing, marketing and business journalism, Daniella focuses on crafting quality stories and relevant content to inform and inspire the international business community.

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