About the Programme - Department of International Trade

Why join the International Trade Development Programme?

Interested in making a real impact on economic growth across the UK? Want to help local businesses thrive – and in doing so, strengthen the UK’s job market? And keen to put your career on an exciting trajectory? Then this is the programme for you!

We are currently recruiting for ambitious individuals with enthusiasm for trade to join our innovative two-year International Trade Trainee programme. This programme will lead to a Level 4 Diploma in International Trade with the Institute of Export and International Trade. Following the successful completion of your end-of-scheme assessment, you’ll then become a Senior Executive Officer within the DIT – and from there, there’s no saying where your career will take you!

This programme has been designed to add plenty of experience to your skillset, which will set you up for a great career with DIT. Combining both placements in Darlington or London with six months overseas, this enriching programme will provide you with a great grounding in the international trade sector. Specifically, you will take on three work placements:

  • Two of these placements (each lasting nine months) will be in: Trade Negotiations, Trading Systems, Strategy & Investments or Exports and UK Trade.
  • The third placement (which will last six months) will see you supporting UK trade policy, exports and investment from one of our 127 overseas offices. As an international department, we have DIT Hubs in overseas regions including North America, Africa, Europe, China and Hong Kong, plus a variety of other locations globally. Cumulatively, our international team numbers more than 4,000 staff who are based in around 108 countries.Across all three placements, we will provide you with plenty of support and guidance as you tackle interesting projects and learn a vast array of transferable skills.
Location heat map

Across all three placements, we will provide you with plenty of support and guidance as you tackle interesting projects and learn a vast array of transferable skills. You can expect to:

  • Develop extensive skills in researching and developing new trade policies. Successful organisations achieve their objectives by setting clearly-defined principles, rules and guidelines, so you will learn how to shape decision-making processes and embed policies that form the foundations of this success. You can read more about Trade Policy here.
  • Learn how to build valuable relationships in partner markets, and work with stakeholders across the UK Government and beyond. This in turn will enable you to start your career with an impressive network of contacts.
  • Refine your skills in developing insightful reports and communications, both verbally and in writing. This will include developing expertise in producing Parliamentary and public correspondence.

DIT is a great place to pursue your goals (but don’t just take our word for it.) Our trainees share their experiences…

Reseanna Alnutt

“It’s an exciting time to work for DIT and it’s incredibly rewarding to work on current affairs that will shape Britain’s future trading relationships.”

International Trade Trainee
  • I’ve worked with Ministerial private offices to organise meetings with businesses, on a joint trade and investment review with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and assisted in negotiations on a free trade agreement text. I’m currently working on clean energy trade opportunities out of the British Consulate in Canada.

  • It’s really rewarding to be part of the work on designing new free trade agreements and to be able to have a real-world impact on the success of businesses. Working with colleagues internationally, both while in the UK and overseas, has been a great experience. I’ve learnt a lot from being able to interact with such a wide variety of people across the world!

  • It’s a big department! I spent a bit of time understanding what each directorate is responsible for and where my various teams fitted into this. Also, trying to organise meetings to accommodate multiple time zones can be a bit of a challenge!

  • The time really flies by! Ask on the first day who you should connect with in your immediate team, and also in other teams and departments. The more people you can get to know earlier on makes it a lot easier to know who to go to with questions. Also, the department has lots of networks to get involved in, so make sure you take up as many opportunities as you can… and have fun!


“It’s such a crucial department, so you get the feeling that every role you do is to the benefit of the country.”

International Trade Trainee
  • I’ve done a real range – some policy work, project delivery, trade and investment focussed-work. I’ve had face time with Ministers meaning political work, and diplomatic work whilst overseas.

  • It’s a such a crucial department, so you get the feeling that every role you do is to the benefit of the country, which adds real pride. The variety within the department is also a great advantage.

  • It can often be very fast-paced due to the political nature of many roles in the department, but it’s flexible enough to cope with those challenges.

  • Being on your own in a foreign country can be difficult initially, but it presents many opportunities to get out there and experience things on your own, and also to make new friends and really socialise with colleagues.

  • Embrace everything. Postings go quicker than you expect so make the most of every opportunity, and don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities from your line manager or wider team. In my experience, they have been very receptive to that and are keen to help your development.