Careers in International Trade

Staffing issues in International Trade

The UK’s departure from the European Union has created a serious shortage of staff with the level of international trade knowledge to enable businesses to effectively trade with Europe.

Customs declarations are now mandatory on all shipments from Great Britain (GB) to the European Union.  The UK requires 40,000-50,000 additional customs staff in order to handle more than 200 million additional customs declarations annually, compared to a total of 55 million annual declarations required before January 1, 2021.

Without enough agents to carry out the extra paperwork that traders will need to complete, goods moving across the Channel risk being delayed at ports, leading to potential supply chain disruption and chaos. In 2019, UK exports to the EU were £300 billion (43% of all UK exports), while UK imports from the EU were £372 billion (51% of all UK imports).

Our Introduction to International Trade Programmes is open to anyone:

On completion of our 18 hour programme you will be able to handle customs documentation as part of an inhouse international trade team or working in a freight forwarding organisation of customs agency. The programme covers:

  • How does world trade work globally and within the UK, what are free trade agreements?

  • Completing Customs Documentation

  • Researching a new market, IP and eBusiness

The UK's departure from the EU has had a major impact on trade - as of March 2021, UK good exports plunged by 41%, whilst imports fell by 29%. 

Source: Euronews

Industry figures have shown that only 12,000 customs agents have been trained and recruited, of the estimated 50,000 required to cope with Brexit.

Source: The Guardian

Customs and haulage industry leaders have warned that the UK government is falling short of targets to train 50,000 new customs agents and is 'misleading' the public over its level of preparedness. 


What Does a Career in International Trade Entail?

International trade is expanding every day and several types of professionals are needed to make global trading work. International trade produces jobs at all levels, be they in air, ocean or road.

 The process of importing and exporting goods can be very complex and involves a lot of different kinds of work. In the UK, companies that import and export are facing increasing challenges in understanding the paperwork and steps involved to successfully trading. Customs agents prepare the necessary paperwork to successfully import and export goods

across the European Union and beyond. This involves classifying goods according to a global tariff coding system and examining product information to ensure compliance with world trade regulations. They prepare and process import and export documentation according to customs regulations, laws, or procedures including payment, or arranging payment of, taxes and duties on shipments.


Customs agents sign documents on behalf of clients, using powers of attorney, to clear goods through customs and to their destinations for clients and calculate duty and tariff payments owed on shipments. They confer with officials in various agencies to facilitate clearance of goods through customs and quarantine. They develop effective business relationships with external stakeholders including maintain relationships with customs brokers in other ports to expedite clearing of cargo.

What We Offer

At Pedagogo we have developed a training programme that enables individuals looking for a career change into the world of customs. The 30 hour on line programme with supportive materials covers customs compliance, customs processes and procedures and effectively importing and exporting goods to and from the European Union.  On successful completion of the programme individuals would be able to apply for customs agents or customs intermediary roles with customs agencies, freight forwarding organisations or importers/ exporters.


The average starting salary for a customs agent is between £22k- £25k