£18 million in grants available for customs training

Traders and customs intermediaries that complete customs declarations as part of their business can now apply for grants for support in training and IT. This is part of an £18 million government pot that has been set aside to increase capacity in the sector ahead of Brexit next year.

With millions of e-commerce traders now exporting to Europe and the rest of the world, there is great demand for training and support as Brexit looms. Incorrect labelling and declaration could seriougly delay or even prevent goods being sent to their foreign based customers.

The overall pot includes £3 million set aside by the HMRC for training provision. The government has worked with learning service provider Knowledge Pool who are engaging with training providers to increase the number of courses available in the short term, as well as investing in the development of new courses which will be available over the coming months to support customs broker training.

“I’m really pleased we are investing £8m to support the sector and help them expand their capacity as we prepare to leave the EU on 29 March 2019,” said Mel Stride, financial secretary to the treasury.

Some £5 million of additional funding is available to help businesses, based in, or with a branch in, the UK to meet the costs of employee training and IT improvements. Businesses can apply for one or both grants:

* There is £2 million available to fund training for intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations (or intending to complete customs declarations in the future). The grant will provide funding for up to 50 per cent of the cost of training staff.

* There is £3 million available in IT improvement funding, available to small and medium sized employers in the customs intermediaries sector currently completing customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters. The grant will fund investment in packaged software that increases the automation and productivity of completing customs declarations.

Applications will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated.