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  Sowing the seeds of customs knowledge

Riding on Singapore Customs’ history of educating the trading community, the agency ventured into a new area of educating students when its officers became adjunct lecturers to deliver the inaugural run of a module on Customs Brokerage Management to students of Ngee Ann Polytechnic at their campus from April to July 2010.

Singapore Customs officers involved in the development and delivery of the Customs Brokerage Management Module: (from left) Mr Tan Wee Loon, Ms Tricia Lim, Ms Lee Chwee Peng, Mr Benson Lim, Mr Yeoh Eng Yew and Mr Desmond Chia.

This is the result of a collaboration between Singapore Customs and Ngee Ann Polytechnic to spearhead the development and delivery of a new Customs Brokerage Management Module as part of a three-year diploma course in International Supply Chain Management.

Singapore Customs trainer Mr Desmond Chia delivering a lecture to Ngee Ann Polytechnic students.
A first in the history of Singapore Customs, the collaboration is seen as a win-win strategy for both Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Customs that will ultimately translate into benefits for the local freight and logistics industry in the longer term. Students of Ngee Ann Polytechnic stand to gain first-hand information and industry insights into customs matters while the freight and logistics industry stands to benefit from logistics professionals who are better equipped with customs knowledge. By making inroads into the education sector, Singapore Customs also hopes that the agency will gain greater prominence amongst potential recruits.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic students with Singapore Customs officers during their field trip to the Singapore Customs tax office at Changi Airport.
Conducted over four months, the module aims to equip students with the fundamentals of import, export and documentation matters. The tie-up will see six of Singapore Customs’ more experienced trainers conducting lectures on various topics under the customs domain, including customs procedures and declaration, Harmonized System classification and valuation of goods. Also included as part of the module are field trips to learn about Singapore Customs’ functions at Changi Airport and a visit to one of Singapore Customs’ licensed premises.

Prior to the inaugural run of the course, Singapore Customs’ trainers had conducted a training workshop for about 10 Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturers on the topics covered under the module, and developed the course materials as well.

The Singapore Customs trainers relished the opportunity to share their customs knowledge and experience with the students, and the challenges that came with it. Said Mr Desmond Chia, “It’s a totally different, refreshing experience teaching a group of students at a higher education institution as opposed to traders or our own staff. I am glad to have had the opportunity to impart my knowledge on Custom matters to the younger generation.”

Agreed Ms Lee Chwee Peng, “It was indeed a new and challenging experience to teach a bunch of young and inquisitive students. The questions posed were also quite different from those of other training courses we’ve conducted given that the students have little exposure to the customs domain. I feel privileged to be part of the team selected to share my experience on customs work with our young, who will be the future of our logistics industry.”

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