The importance of upskilling: An interview with a recent CTFP grad

Singapore, 4 June: At a time of increasing digitalisation and changing business practices, upskilling is taking on a new sense of urgency. Digital innovations are affecting every company, almost all employees and a range of sectors, meaning educating staff is no longer an attractive offer, but a necessity.

At the ICC Academy, we understand the value in developing talent. That is why feedback plays such an importance role in the evolution of our curriculum. According to our recent Alumni Survey, 100% of our Certified Trade Finance Professionals (CTFP) said the programme helped them bridge the knowledge gap. What is more, 91% say they would recommend the certification to their colleagues.

The ICC Academy took this opportunity to speak with Access Bank’s Global Trade Team Leader, Muyiwa Esan. Mr Esan has 12 years of international trade operations experience within the banking industry in Nigeria and is a recent CTFP graduate.

ICC Academy: How did you learn about the CTFP certification programme?

Mr Esan: It goes without saying that in today’s global and technology-driven economy, keeping up to date with current industry practices is crucial. For practitioners like me, it not only helps bridge the skills gap, but also gives me a competitive edge in the marketplace.

While looking for a practical online trade finance certification, I came across the advanced-level CTFP. After going through the programme, I realised that teachings were exactly what I was looking for to improve my capabilities. The courses focused on a range of products that allowed me to develop my skills, which I can now use to sell, deliver and process global trade finance solutions. The certification provides strong industry understanding, allowing me to improve my knowledge of supply chain finance (both physical and financial) to strengthen my ability to advise customers.

ICC Academy: Talk us about your learning journey?

Mr Esan: I started my learning journey with the “Advanced Working Capital for Trade” and the “Advanced Supply Chain Finance” e-courses. The first course deepened my comprehension of trade finance products for the continuity of businesses and day-to-day operations. Whereas the latter improved my knowledge on applicability of supply chain finance products and how they can bridge finance gaps within their supply chains.

All-in-all, the CTFP offers in-depth knowledge on a range of trade finance products, techniques and compliance issues. From documentary credits to advanced guarantees and standby letters of credit to commodity finance, I found the e-courses to be detailed and hands-on, which helped boost my expertise in specialised areas of trade finance.

ICC Academy: What challenges did you face during the programme? How did you stay motivated?

Mr Esan: The main challenge that I faced was not being able to dedicate sufficient time to the programme. When I signed up, I had a very hectic schedule at work. Taking the time to put in a couple of hours every week to the e-courses was not as easy as I had initially planned. Moreover, the comfort of having access to the lessons anywhere, anytime and on any device makes one lax at times.

That said, discipline on my part and the determination to update myself with current practices kept me motivated. As a practitioner, I am always keen on improving access to trade finance by
offering valuable advice to my stakeholders.

ICC Academy: How did the ICC Academy’s digital platform help with your learning?

Mr Esan: The fact that all courses were available on a digital platform gave me the confidence to sign up in the first place. With my work schedule, it would not have been possible to fit everything into a pre-defined timetable. The ICC Academy’s tailored digital platform made my learning experience easy and engaging. The menu and navigation system was clear and defined, the animated videos with voice over and transcripts for understanding the concepts, the ability to personalize my own dashboard provided with clear markers and badges to track my progress—all of which helped in my learning journey. Also, the combination of text, videos, case studies and quizzes made each course interesting and easy to understand. Plus, the optimised multi-device learning option was great and helped me utilize my so-called “down time”.

ICC Academy: How are you planning to implement the learning into your work?

Mr Esan: Now that I have upskilled, my plan is to implement initiatives in the area of trade operations to boost the efficiency and technical skillset of my team. Once this is done, we will focus on developing trade products for both SMEs and multinationals.

I am looking forward to securing opportunities that will provide platforms for me to fully showcase the knowledge that I have acquired from the CTFP programme. In the long term, I plan to establish a trade finance consulting and advisory firm.

ICC Academy: Has the CTFP certification helped boost your career prospects?

Mr Esan: Absolutely! After completing my certification, I made significant changes, which not only helped our customers, but also earned me a promotion. I have already recommended this certification to my team members. The programme will help them enhance their trade finance knowledge, especially from a supply chain perspective, and put them in a position to offer relevant trade advisory solutions to the unique needs our customers.

For more information, please contact
Priyanka Satapathy
Communications and Events Manager