Senior Trade Policy Advisors

Department for International Trade Logo
Closing Date: 10/10/2022
Contract Permanent
Working Hours Flexible, Full Time, Part Time
Location Darlington
Salary £34,425 - £40,300
Company Department for International Trade

Job Description

Here at the Department for International Trade, we help British businesses sell their goods and services around the world. Our job is to make it easier for businesses to reach customers and investors abroad, and fight for them when they have problems. Sound like something you’d like to be a part of?

We are recruiting Senior Policy Advisors to join our team at an exciting time. The UK has trade agreements with over 70 non-EU countries, covering £240 billion of UK trade in 2021. You will be providing policy  advice and leading on the implementation of non-EU trade agreements in a specific policy area. You will also help to resolve trade issues that prevent UK businesses from accessing global markets, a programme of work worth more than £20bn, and provide trade policy advice for various bilateral trade dialogues.

This is a brilliant opportunity for you to be a part of shaping the UK’s trade policy, maximising opportunities for the UK after leaving the EU. You will be working closely with colleagues across government to develop joined-up, evidence-based policy positions and deliver on the Government’s objective to secure UK and global prosperity.

You will be part of the vibrant Darlington Economic Campus, our pioneering cross-government hub bringing together people from different departments and public organisations to play an active role in the most important issues of the day, and in our department, help make an impact internationally.

We’re looking for people to join us who will be as enthusiastic as we are. We place a strong emphasis on learning and development and the successful applicants will receive a tailored induction programme. For this reason, prior policy experience is not required.

We encourage applications from a diverse range of people and would welcome the opportunity to introduce people who are not currently in the Civil Service into our team. Please get in touch with the Hiring Manager if you are unfamiliar with Civil Service recruitment and require some guidance or if you have any questions more generally. Please see our Linked In page and video for more information on our work.

Applicant Drop-In Session

We want to make sure you’re covered if you have any questions about this job and so we’ll be running a virtual Q&A with the hiring team on Microsoft Teams, which is open to all interested applicants:

Time: 13:00

Date: 03/10/2022

Join here.

We’ll run through the application process, including our top tips on how to complete the application form and prepare for interviews.

Support in applying for our vacancies is available by joining a virtual Candidate Support Session. These sessions include helpful tips and advice on the recruitment process, from application to interview.

Job description

There are multiple roles available in different trade policy teams including Regulatory Environment, Intellectual Property, Government Procurement, Digital Trade, Trade and Sustainable Development, Competition, Cross–cutting policy and Trade in Services. Your exact role might vary depending on the team you are in but in general you will be responsible for a combination of the following:

  • Contributing to, and when required leading on, strategic trade dialogues, including trade agreement implementation sub-committees with partner countries
  • Ensuring dialogues deliver on UK policy and trade priorities, including engaging directly with partners
  • Becoming an expert in your policy area, driving forward the department’s objectives  and providing  analysis and input for reviews of and amendments to the UK’s trade agreements
  • Utilising and working with the wider DIT, overseas and cross-government network to maintain an up-to-date understanding of the bigger picture on policies in partner countries as well as any wider priorities and sensitivities. Bringing together a wide range of skills by working with others to come up with creative solutions which will  be of  benefit to trade policy as a whole
  • Addressing barriers to trade in foreign markets in the respective policy area
  • Developing a good understanding of UK and partner country commitments under free trade agreements and working with colleagues across government to ensure that both the UK and our partner countries are compliant with these commitments
  • Developing and maintaining collaborative and open relationships with teams across the department, across government, and based in partner countries and engaging with businesses and other stakeholders to understand their needs in a rapidly changing environment. Become the point of contact in your policy area, owning these relationships
  • Maintaining an evidence-based prioritisation framework and target-driven delivery plan to effectively forward plan engagements and manage conflicting demands
  • Drafting briefings and other materials related to policy areas for ministers and senior Civil Servants when required
  • Potential line management (in most cases of 1 to 2 people), ensuring sufficient opportunity for development and providing effective supervision and prioritisation for the team

You will be expected to work flexibly across teams and tasks as business priorities evolve. There is also the potential for overseas travel. If you have a preference for any particular trade policy teams, you can indicate this at interview stage.

Hybrid Working

The role will be based in Darlington.

Please be aware that this role can only be worked from within the UK and not overseas.

Informal hybrid working arrangements will be available as agreed with the vacancy manager and in line with the requirements of the role.

Most DIT employees will be working a hybrid pattern, spending 2-3 days a week (pro rata) in an office, on average.

If you are an existing Civil Servant and wish to relocate to Darlington to take up one of these posts you can receive relocation assistance via the Places for Growth Programme.


Essential Criteria

  • Ability to examine a problem while seeing the bigger picture and context and propose effective solutions, bringing together a wide range of interested parties to achieve agreement among stakeholders
  • Ability to anticipate the impact of the work when developing proposals and understand the implications of decisions
  • Confident in the analysis and interpretation of information and data, including making robust conclusions and recommendations from a wide range of sources
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, and are able to persuade or influence others, and are comfortable dealing with senior stakeholders
  • Ability to work collaboratively within and across teams, as well as the ability to build and maintain long lasting working relationships
  • Strong organisational and planning skills, are able to work quickly and accurately, and are able to balance competing priorities
  • A strong team player and leader who is flexible, understands the varying needs of others, proactive and can work across organisational boundaries

Desirable Criteria

  • Knowledge of trade policy or policy making in general
  • A background in international relations, development or economics
  • Experience in strategic planning
  • Experience in project management
  • Experience of working internationally and/or with international counterparts
  • Experience in external stakeholder engagement

Please note the above criteria are not essential – all we’re looking for are people who want to make a positive impact and have the motivation, thinking, communication and organisational skills to that. If that sounds like you, we want to hear from you!

Person Specification

This role requires the ability to work on complex policy issues, to master technical detail, and communicate this as simply and clearly as possible. You will have the ability to pick up new subject matter quickly and to build collaborative and productive relationships with colleagues, external stakeholders and negotiation partners. The enthusiasm to learn and continue learning is therefore important from day one. You will be effective as a part of a team, leading others and comfortable working flexibly in a changing and fast-paced environment. You will have the ability to focus on specific issues and countries in detail, whilst also building and maintaining a strong grasp of the bigger picture.

If you have the right attitude, are willing to work hard, and want to develop yourself and others, we’d love to work with you. We welcome applications from people who are thinking about a change in their career, whether that’s because of circumstances in life or background, caring or other responsibilities. And we’re open to talking about flexible working styles that will help you perform at your best.


We’ll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions
Apply Now!

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