Customs Support Finland – Trained By Finnish Authorities

A Smiling Customs Support employee

Our experts in Finland are trained by customs authorities so that they can give you factual, certified advice. Kseniia Smirnova explains her education with Finnish customs in this article.

What’s included in your training?

The customs vocational course in Finland consists of four modules: three mandatory subjects and one specialisation:

First, we need to understand the classification of goods: how this is done, how different materials and components can impact the way goods are handled, and what considerations there are with regard to origin and destination.

The second part covered all the aspects of import clearance, such as how preferential origin, incoterms, and special procedures can all impact the required information.

The third focused on export clearance: what to consider when exporting goods from Finland and issuing documentation, as well as export controls to be aware of.

These three areas are mandatory for everyone, and then you can choose a fourth area which is a specialisation. There are three areas you can specialise in: transit movements, ferry clearances (husbandry and ship spares), and supply chain documentation and best practices.

I chose the first option, deciding to learn more about transit movements. I work with customs documentation on a daily basis, so I felt that this variant allowed me to have a more complete skillset in addition to import and export clearances.

The majority of our graduates chose transit but many of my colleagues also chose the third option, specialising in documentation and procedures. This is useful for companies that have AEO status or are applying for AEO, as well as those looking to improve customs compliance.

What is the learning process like?

The full vocational degree takes a year to acquire, and consists of lecture days, assignments, group projects, and practised case studies. Since Covid, the whole learning process has been more digital which has also been a bonus for us, but we have attended many live sessions in Helsinki as well.

In the sessions, we’ve covered real scenarios that come up for different procedures and industries, so we were given a greater understanding of what to consider and when.

During these activities, we were given instant feedback and the chance to discuss things with other attendees. The instructors have seen all the common misunderstandings or mistakes, so they knew how to explain them to us when we made them.

How do you feel about receiving your training this way?

I think we have a much deeper understanding and greater knowledge than most newer declarants because we were given structured training and it was from those who audit the declarations.

More importantly, though, is the chance to review case studies as a group. There were more than 20 of us in the classes, each from different companies and backgrounds. This meant that there was a variety of questions asked; questions that will have been asked by operatives across the industry. We benefitted from learning the answers to these questions as well as our own.

Our assignments were key as they gave our instructors insights into where our knowledge had gaps. This is so important for us as it’s that 1% omission in knowledge that can become a big problem when navigating customs processes. It’s good to highlight that gap so we can fill it.

Overall, the customs officers gave us theory and a fantastic environment to learn in, but it’s our practice that has given us an advantage. We practise and reinforce our knowledge every single day across a range of functions, so it becomes second nature to us.

Now that you’ve graduated, what will you do at Customs Support Finland?

I work as the export team leader at  Customs Support Finland. My team specialises in export and transit procedures, so I use the knowledge that I learnt every single day. Working closely with my customers, I share my expertise so that they remain compliant and confident in their international trade

We have a lot of graduates here at Customs Support Finland, working in all the departments. If you need help with customs in Finland, then you can reach out to us and we will put you in touch with the best expert for you.