International Trade Advisor Profile: Prosper Meets Jayne Shields 

With a successful international marketing management background in the private sector, Jayne Shields brings a wealth of experience to her role as a field-based International Trade Adviser (ITA) at the Department for International Trade.


For over 5 years, Jayne has worked with businesses in the Black Country to develop and action growth plans, initially as a business adviser for the Black Country Chamber of Commerce before moving into her role with the Department for International Trade 15 months ago.

Here Jayne answers questions about her role, the clients she works with and the kind of support she offers.


What region do you cover?

I work across all boroughs within the Black Country.

Do you have a sector focus?

I am a generalist ITA so work with companies from all sectors, from manufacturing and engineering, defence and security to creative and retail, food and drink to construction.

What did you do before you became an International Trade Adviser?

Before joining DIT, I headed up the regional marketing team within Ingersoll Rand’s Security Technologies division. I spent 17 years in the role of working with distributors in the UK and colleagues overseas to grow our brands and markets across the EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) region.


Within this role, I was responsible for developing and implementing marketing plans for our various brands, product launches across multiple countries, as well as our attendance at many international exhibitions, working in partnership with our overseas teams or exhibiting to attract distributors from new markets.


Prior to this, I spent 4 years working in the materials handling industry firstly for a local SME manufacturing and supplying storage solutions and then for Yale Forklift Trucks where I was responsible for the marketing communications throughout Europe.

Which countries have you visited?

I spent a university semester studying in Pennsylvania, USA as part of my degree in International Business Administration, which was a great experience and made me realise that having a common language does not equate to having a common culture.

I have been lucky enough to travel for work, as well as work with overseas teams virtually, which has provided me with a good understanding of the different cultures.  I also enjoy travel personally and have travelled extensively in North America and Europe, as well as visited countries in Africa, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Do you speak any other languages?

In my previous roles, I have had some need to speak French to be understood, but despite studying at GCSE and as part of my degree, regrettably, this is not something I find easy, though my confidence does improve with a glass or two of wine! 


I do also have a GSCE in Russian, but this is many years ago and I have not spoken it since, though being able to read Cyrillic text does come in handy every so often.

What kind of advice and support do you offer your clients?

I provide support to clients to help them with their overseas growth whatever their stage of export.  This could be assisting companies who are new to export and really don’t know where to start or those who are relatively experienced exporters who are looking to enter new markets.


Our services are bespoke to the company and their needs, so this normally starts with a meeting to get a detailed understanding of the business, their current customers and routes to market, their competitors and their export ambitions.


Next steps tend to be developing an export action plan, information gathering on a particular topic or connecting companies with the DIT overseas offices and wider services, such as digital trade advisers, e-exporting teams, complex market advisers, sector specialists and training webinars.

We work very closely with other support organisations in the region so that we can signpost clients to wider support and funding to support their export readiness.

What skills do you need as an ITA?

Being an ITA, you need to be organised in order to keep abreast of all the opportunities and activities, such as meet the buyers and sector or country briefings happening across our global network.


Being a generalist working across all sectors there is a lot to keep track of.

You also need to have good listening skills in order to effectively identify where our services and support can assist a client’s need. Building trust and relationships with clients is also key, so good interpersonal skills as well as international trade experience and knowledge are vital.

What do you like about your role?

I love being able to support a company to develop and grow and see their success.  I like the challenge of finding the best way to support them to achieve their goals.


I also like the fact that as an ITA you are always learning, as there is so much to know and understand about doing business across the globe.  With every business challenge that you help to overcome you grow your own knowledge and experience.

Tell us about your clients?

I work with such a diverse portfolio of companies including food brands, security and construction product manufacturers, engineering companies, automotive supply-chain manufacturers, skincare brands, leather manufacturers and education suppliers.

And finally, what advice would you give a company looking to export into new markets?

Whether you’re new to export or experienced and looking to expand into new markets, an International Trade Adviser can help you with tailored support, funding, market intelligence or finding contacts. Get in touch to find out how an adviser can help your business.

To talk to an International Trade Adviser about how they can help your business to expand internationally call the team on 0330 024 0820 


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