Engagement Manager, Free Trade Agreement Utilisation – Department for International Development – Darlington

Department for International Development

Job summary

This recruitment is continuing as usual, but candidates should be aware that following a Government announcement on the changes to some civil service departments, roles will be located in the new Department for Business and Trade.

This is an exciting time to join the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). The work we do has a real impact on jobs and growth across the United Kingdom. Our mission is to help businesses export, drive inward and outward investment, negotiate market access and trade deals, and to champion free trade. We are an international department based in 108 countries, and we work closely with our colleagues worldwide.

The Free Trade Agreement Utilisation (FTAU) team is a multidisciplinary team created to support exporters to seize the benefits of new Free Trade Agreements. Through policy expertise, knowledge of export support, and a deep understanding of the UK’s economic strengths, the FTAU team will help ensure businesses are fully equipped to take advantage of new global opportunities.

The successful applicant will play a vital role within the FTAU team, helping to lead our engagement with businesses across the UK, and the organisations that represent them, to activate the utilisation of our Free Trade Agreements. The role will require you to develop a strong network of UK businesses which trade internationally, as well as relationship manage some of the FTAU team’s strategic partners.

As an internationally-facing role, you will be required to develop knowledge on different global markets and a range of cross-cutting trade policy areas. The FTAU team will also be involved in G2G collaboration with partner countries, which you will be expected to support and advise on to ensure the needs of UK businesses are being represented.

The role will occasionally require some periods of overseas travel, as well as some meetings outside of normal working hours to accommodate for time differences when needed.

The team is high-performing, ambitious and inclusive, and is the ideal place for existing or aspiring trade professionals to make a difference and develop their careers.

Job description

  • Strategy: supporting the design and implementation of a business engagement strategy for FTAU, which ensures the team is targeting its engagement and business-facing activities in the most impactful areas.
  • Engagement and relationship management: supporting the FTAU team’s engagement with businesses and Business Representative Organisations (BROs), and relationship managing our strategic partners.
  • Policy: developing an understanding of UK growth areas, international markets, and cross-cutting areas of trade policy to support the activation of FTAs.
  • Coordination: helping coordinate the external activity of the FTAU team with other external facing teams in DBT, such as Post, External Affairs and Strategic Communications.
  • Advising: acting as a sounding board for other parts of the team seeking external input and ensuring a coherent and strategy-led approach to our engagement.
  • Upskilling: commitment to continuous professional development to ensure up to date knowledge of FTAs, international markets, and emerging sectors of the UK economy.
  • Hybrid working

    The role will be based in either Darlington or London. You will be asked to express a location preference during the application process.

    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 your office location is London, you will be eligible to receive London weighting.

    Appointments will be made to candidates in merit order based on location preferences.

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

    Person specification

    Essential Criteria

  • Demonstrable experience of working with businesses and Business Representative Organisations (BROs) in an external affairs or relationship management capacity.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, and comfortable communicating with a range of different stakeholders and audiences, including presenting at roundtables and events.
  • Strong organisational and planning skills, and comfortable managing and balancing competing priorities.
  • Comfortable with developing and maintaining a network of external contacts, in support of the team’s engagement objectives.
  • Strong team player who is flexible and proactive and can work across organisational boundaries.
  • Ability to quickly alter your approach to delivery in a fast-paced environment and make decisions with autonomy.
  • Desirable Criteria

  • Experience of designing and implementing engagement strategies for a range of different sectors, with measurable objectives.
  • Knowledge of the trade policy environment, with an understanding of the broad range of policy areas that sit within a typical FTA.
  • Experience and/or understanding of UK export policy and DBT’s export-facing activities.
  • Experience of working with, and running campaigns for, a range of different sectors.
  • Experience of working in an international or internationally-facing team.
  • Person Specification

    We seek dynamic, energised applicants who are comfortable working in client-facing and cross-organisational teams, delivering at pace and to a high quality, and who can demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Self-starter who feels comfortable operating independently and can confidently represent DBT externally, whether with businesses, organisations, or counterpart governments.
  • The ideal candidate will be a skilled collaborator, with strong written and oral communication skills, that enjoys working across the Department and engaging with internal and external stakeholders.
  • You will be motivated and keen to deliver an important part of UK trade policy, while being able to adapt to changes, prioritise workloads and work at pace.
  • You will be committed to your professional development. The FTAU team will invest in your L&D, which will be provided by a combination of external training, on the job experiences, and opportunities through the Trade Profession.
  • Behaviours

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

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Benefits

  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • Things you need to know

    Selection process details

    This vacancy is using , and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths and Experience.

    Interviews for this vacancy will be conducted virtually. We will, however, consider in-person interviews by exception.

    Please ensure that you check your emails regularly as all updates from us will be sent to you this way.

    Sift will take place week commencing 27.03.2023. 

    Interviews will take place week commencing 11.04.2023.

    As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and a personal statement. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

    Please align your CV with previous skills and experience. Maximum of 2 A4 pages.

    Please use the personal statement section to reflect on your previous experiences and how they align with the job description and the essential / desirable requirements. Maximum word count of 500.

    In the event that there is a high volume of applications, a short sift will be conducted based on: CV Only. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview. 

    For this role, the Department will not consider sponsoring a visa or issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship. Please note we are unable to offer advice on any Visa and Immigration cases. 

    If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check may be carried out.

    In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Serviceon your behalf.

    However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading. 

    New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.

    Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening, subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment. 

    A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5-year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

    Please note – the successful candidate will be expected to remain in post for a minimum of 18 months before being released for another role.

    The Department for International Trade embraces and values diversity in all forms. We welcome and pride ourselves on the positive impact diversity has on the work we do, and we promote equality of opportunity throughout the organisation. 

    Please note – harmonised terms and conditions are attached. Please take time to read the document to determine how these may affect you.

    Further Information

    A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

    Any move to the Department for International Trade from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

    Reasonable Adjustment

    If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes. 

    If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should: 

  • Contact Government Recruitment Service via [email protected] as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs
  • Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at an interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional
  • If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the ‘Contact point for applicants’ section.

    Vetting Requirements


    All security clearances require you to provide evidence of your UK footprint where you have been physically present in the UK. The requirement for SC clearance is to have been present in the UK for 3 of the last 5 years. Failure to meet the residency requirements will result in your security clearance application being rejected.

    If you require SC clearance you will need to provide evidence of the below requirements.

    Checks will be made against:

  • Departmental or company records (personnel files, staff reports, sick leave reports and security records)
  • UK criminal records covering both spent and unspent criminal records
  • Your credit and financial history with a credit reference agency
  • Security Services records
  • Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


    Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is .

    .People working with government assets must complete checks.

    Nationality requirements

    This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
  • Working for the Civil Service

    The sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

    We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s .The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.

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    To apply for this job please visit uk.whatjobs.com.

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