Head of North East Region

DIT is the international economic department responsible for bringing together policy, promotion and financial expertise to break down barriers to trade and investment and help businesses grow. DIT promotes British trade and investment across the world and is building the global appetite for UK goods and services. DIT has laid important foundations for the delivery of an independent trade policy and has continued to help businesses discover, access and exploit export and investment opportunities, boosting the UK economy.

DIT will do whatever it takes to support UK businesses to continue trading during and after the Covid-19 pandemic; through advice, finance and using our clout on the world stage to remove tariffs and barriers. In times of economic difficulty, it is more important than ever for countries to remain open to trade; free trade and resilient supply chains through open markets will be crucial to the global economic recovery as the crisis passes. Our export and investment strategies are being redrawn to support the effort. The department’s current four strategic objectives are to:
• Support UK businesses to grow internationally in a sustainable way;
• Ensure the UK remains a leading destination for international investment and maintains its number one position for international investment stock in Europe;
• Open markets, building a trade framework with new and existing partners which is free and fair;
• Use trade and investment to underpin the government’s agenda for a Global Britain and its ambitions for prosperity, stability and security worldwide.

Its fifth enabling objective is to:
• Build DIT as an effective international economic department where our people are expert, enterprising, engaged and inclusive.

DIT delivers these through a wide range of activities, products and digital services designed to help businesses take full advantage of global opportunities.

This is an important time to join the Department. The UK Regions Team sits at its centre and is part of the department’s commitment to levelling up opportunity. It runs high-profile projects and services for Ministers and senior leaders to support the Department’s objectives and contribute to the success of the UK’s trade goals.

Job description

About the Team:
UK Regions is the face of DIT across the UK working with teams from our International Trade Advisor Delivery Partners (DPs) and the Investment Services Team (IST) . We also work directly with businesses . We manage a network of Export Champions drawn from businesses who have been helped by DIT and volunteer to support others on their exporting journey.

This role is part of DIT’s Northern Powerhouse Trade and Investment team. Its primary purpose is to encourage and support businesses to achieve increased growth through exporting and so support greater prosperity in the region.
The postholder heads the North East trade office in Newcastle. It consists of a small team of civil servants and a delivery partner which is contracted to provide expert trade advisory services.

The successful candidate will be based in Newcastle. Regular travel may be required across the region with occasional travel to other locations in the UK.

Specifically, you will:

• As the Department’s senior representative in the North East, advocate the benefits of trade and investment growth to local businesses directly, through your stakeholder network and by advising ministers and senior officials where they can make the biggest impact.
• Work with elected mayors’ offices, local enterprise partnerships, businesses, government departments and other organisations to take advantage of opportunities for collaboration which best promote local economic growth.
• Apply your strong leadership skills to build on current strengths to create a high performing team across in-house and contracted out staff.
• Develop and maintain a broad network and use your insights to inform national policy as it relates to the NE/Northern Powerhouse.
• Work proactively with other parts of the Department including overseas posts, sector teams and trade policy group to ensure that businesses in the region have simple access to the Department’s services, advice and guidance including the timely communication of changes relating to free trade agreements not least with the end of the European Union transition period.
• Give thought and operational direction to the international trade advisor programme delivered through our delivery partner, the NE Chamber of Commerce (c£1.4m).
• Lead on contract management of all three sub-regional delivery partners in the North (c£6.6m) to ensure continued growth in export performance.
• Expand the number of export champions in the NE and ensure their activities are prioritised to best support companies which are new to exporting or seeking to access new markets abroad.
• Co-ordinate the Northern Powerhouse with our posts abroad and manage the new Northern Powerhouse specialists overseas.
• Act as project lead for the implementation of new initiatives across the NE and occasionally nationally.


Line Management Responsibility
Leadership of a small team of 5 civil servants in the NE. You will also work with HM Trade Commissioners to provide leadership and oversight of 14 specialist champions overseas.

Person Specification:
• You are a strong leader with the ability to develop and maintain effective relationships with partners and stakeholders.
• You will combine your passion for the North East with first-class communication skills to give powerful, persuasive presentations about exporting to mixed audiences.
• You have a flair for assimilating and synthesising large volumes of regional data and translating that in to strategy and delivery.
• You will have commercial acumen gained from your business experience.

We are especially keen to hear from those who have experience in the following areas:
• Business experience – ideally internationally
• The ability to align competing interests across public and private sectors
• Managing or delivering through others, including external partners/delivery bodies

Preferred Experience
• Recent, ideally current, business experience particularly in exporting
• Understanding of the North East’s business strengths
• Knowledge of the North East private, public and business landscape


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

  • Leadership
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Leadership
  • Delivering at Pace

Apply today!