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Capacity Building, Training and Professionalism in Customs

31 July 2012

Supporting the WCO Capacity Building Policy

Global, regional and national imperatives have reinforced the need for responsive Customs organizations. Their human capital is one of their most valuable assets to keep pace with an ever-changing environment.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) has been developing initiatives and tools to enable the Customs community to empower its organizational platforms and promote an efficient shift to organizations which shall be compliant, agile and adaptable.

Customs is a coherent professional body with unique operating models, and the WCO has endeavored to ensure that its workforce’s characteristics are progressively identified as sharing specific and graduated knowledge, competencies and skills, and fully connected to today’s economic and social challenges.

In order to continue contributing to today’s economy and knowledge society, it was therefore strongly recommended that the Customs community adopt appropriate and relevant “fit-for-purpose” professional principles and practices in line with the Customs in the 21st Century approach adopted by the WCO.

Training to sustain reform ownership

In a fast-changing environment for many Customs administrations, but also for many Customs professionals in the private sector, there is a need for investment in their human capital. The Customs in the 21st Century strategy document identifies the need for a professional, knowledge-based and customer-oriented culture where training and organizational culture serve to support efficient and pro-active staff competencies.

The preparation of Customs professionals to efficiently perform their duties necessitates the acquisition and development of a wide range of skill sets, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours through a comprehensive and complex process of learning. This requires setting up an organizational and operational model for both the national training policy and infrastructures, taking into account the regional and national diversity of Customs.

Implementing a learning culture entails viewing training and staff development as a continuous and long-term education and learning process at each level within a Customs hierarchy and each step along a Customs Practitioner career path.

WCO Training tools

The WCO has been developing its Training offer around three principles.

Managing a state-of-the-art Customs knowledge

Standardized training materials are produced by the Secretariat gathering the state-of-the-art knowledge and expertise on the WCO topics. They are available for free for all Members staff.

The WCO has developed e-learning modules and training kits for trainers on the majority of the WCO Conventions, instruments and tools. Widely disseminated, they are constantly being updated and are also used by the Secretariat as powerful knowledge management means inside the organization. Those standardized tools can be reviewed and adapted by any Members in order to be fully complementary with the national training policy and material. They are available to our Members through our platform CLiKC! (WCO Customs Learning and Knowledge Community).

A Leadership and Management Development Programme also articulates a wide range of activities from national workshops upon Members’ request to fellowship and internship programmes within the WCO, inter-regional exchange programmes between two regions, and top-executives symposiums. All those components are based on the WCO PICARD Professional Standards for Customs managers which are defining the management knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for modern Customs administrations.

Empowering the regions

A network of different regional structures and Capacity Building coordinators comprising 24 Regional Training Centres hosting and disseminating the WCO training offer worldwide.

A network of accredited trainers and experts constantly assessed who are allowed to deliver WCO training activities in their region and able to comply with both WCO standards and regional specificities.

Offering à la carte activities

Each Directorate in the Secretariat is developing upon request tailor-made training activities depending of the strategic needs and priorities of each administration.