A day in the life of an ITA: Hilary Charman FIEx (Grad)

Wed 29 Jan 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham

hilary charman

The Institute of Export & International Trade provides training and support to all of the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) International Trade Advisors (ITAs), many of whom are long-term members of ours.

In a follow up to an interview we did with her for the Autumn 2018 edition of World Trade Matters, Hilary Charman FIEx (Grad) - pictured above with Lord Empey - talks us through a ‘day in the life of an ITA’.

As is often the case with Global Trade, every day is different for ITAs like Hilary, each with its own distinct set of challenges. Her diary from a day in early January 2020 hopefully gives a flavour…

A day in the life of an ITA

“I am writing this on a train to Taunton at 8.30 in the morning. It seems a fitting start to describing a day in the life of an ITA as my days often start this way!

“I am travelling to see a jewellery maker called Julia. We have so far helped her to internationalise her website in advance of a trade show in Germany, where she attracted the attention of an influencer site.

“My colleague, a digital adviser, is going to do a review of her website and social media strategy to help her to attract even more overseas business. 

“My job this morning is to help her plan the logistics for getting the jewellery shipped directly to her German customers. I will also help her to provide information in German in order to build customer confidence.”

How did it go?

Julia tells us:

“Hilary is very efficient in getting the job done! I've received a great deal of help in both brainstorming and tangible advice to help my jewellery brand expand to the overseas market.”

Calls, calls, calls

“I have a few calls booked in, as I often do! 

“One company would like to talk though a brief for researching New Zealand as a market and another company, who is attending an exhibition in Germany, would like to do some preparation to ensure they attract visitors to their stand.

“I have another call with a company who would like some advice on how to direct traffic to Amazon.com in the USA through social media while ensuring that posts and ads suit and attract their American target customers.  

“At the same time, I am working on arranging an event on US Sales Tax, and another on Instagram marketing. Then, of course, my final call of the day on which I give advice on how to send hibernating snails to the Middle East!”

Into the afternoon…

“In the afternoon I support a course we are running for retail businesses about how to use Instagram to promote international sales. Many of my clients have previously used agents and distributers to sell overseas but are now moving to e commerce models so need to upskill on social outreach.

“Companies on the course range from a company which manufactures smart jackets for riders performing in dressage competitions to a chocolate manufacturer!” 

All in a day

“After a long day of advising, travelling and, as ever, learning, it’s time to head home, have a G&T, and unwind!”