Press release

National Trade Academy Programme launched to mark one year countdown to Brexit

National Trade Academy Programme and Board of Trade Awards launched by International Trade Secretary today.

Picture of Liam Fox and Patricia Hewitt at launch of Board of Trade Awards.

Liam Fox and Patricia Hewitt at launch of Board of Trade Awards

  • International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox launches the National Trade Academy Programme to help more businesses export

  • ‘BOFTAS’, Board of Trade Awards, also launched in Preston today, celebrating the success of top performing companies of all sizes from across the UK

  • Since July 2016, the Department for International Trade has helped UK companies to start or grow their exports, securing thousands of deals and, in the last year alone, has created 64,000 new jobs and safeguarded a further 28,000 by attracting investment into the UK

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox will launch the National Trade Academy Programme and Board of Trade Awards at the second meeting of the revamped Board of Trade in Preston today (Thursday 29 March).

The National Trade Academy Programme will offer a variety of new learning opportunities to upskill and engage students, businesses and academics. Building international trade and investment related skills and knowledge across the UK, the programme will help foster a culture of exporting through a broad range of initiatives. This will include training and events in all parts of the country, such as a prestigious International Trade Summer School – run in partnership with the City of London – helping our future exporters turn their ideas and ambitions into Britain’s global exports.

Dr Fox will also recognise companies which have shown exceptional performance in international trade through the new Board of Trade Awards. A hallmark of British quality, these awards will become a globally-recognised certificate of excellence, shown on product labels of successful businesses of every size and from every corner of the UK.

Four Board of Trade Awards winners will be announced today: engineering group Arup (North West), The Anglesey Sea Salt Company – Halen Môn (North Wales), bird feed and fish bait producers John E Haith (Haith’s) (Yorkshire and the Humber) and Blue Kangaroo Design, a Gateshead-based creative agency which has worked with the biggest names in the toy, entertainment and licensing industry including the likes of Universal Studios, Hasbro and the Walt Disney Company (North East).

All winners of the award must be headquartered and registered in the UK and have demonstrated outstanding contribution to international trade and investment.

The UK’s trading performance continues to improve.

Since its creation following the EU referendum, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has helped thousands of UK companies to start or grow their exports. Last year alone, DIT helped British businesses secure nearly 10,000 deals, worth tens of billions of pounds in exports and attracted 1,859 investment projects – creating 64,000 new jobs and safeguarding a further 28,000, while planning the UK’s future trade policy.

Speaking ahead of the Board of Trade meeting in Preston, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:

As the UK’s international economic department, DIT is creating the global appetite for British goods and services, and attracting record investment into the UK. Today we are celebrating those companies who have demonstrated exceptional innovation, generating prosperity for their local communities.

Inspiring and educating the next generation of British exporters is equally important, and our new National Trade Academy Programme will help secure jobs, growth and prosperity for the future, and help make the UK a global trading nation once again.

Today’s Board of Trade meeting takes place against a backdrop of growing exports in all regions of the UK. Latest ONS figures show the export of British goods and services rose by 11.5% to £625.9 billion in the year to January 2018.

Notes to editors

The Department for International Trade (DIT) secures UK and global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment, and championing free trade. We are an international economic department, responsible for:

  • bringing together policy, promotion and financial expertise to break down barriers to trade and investment, and help businesses succeed
  • delivering a new trade policy framework for the UK as we leave the EU
  • promoting British trade and investment across the world
  • building the global appetite for British goods and services

About the National Trade Academy Programme

The National Trade Academy Programme will offer a range of initiatives that seek to engender a culture of exporting and ensure that we are constantly striving to become a nation of confident exporters and international trade experts with a solid understanding of the importance of international trade and investment.

In order to achieve this we need to ensure that we continually identify ways to furnish businesses and individuals with the skills and knowledge they require to become proficient exporters, and that there are worthwhile development opportunities available.

The Board of Trade National Trade Academy Programme will offer a variety of upskilling and thought leadership opportunities for students, businesses and academics. It will build international trade and investment related skills and knowledge across the UK and help foster a culture of exporting through a broad range of initiatives. It will include training and events such as an International Trade Summer School to help students and entrepreneurs turn their ideas and ambitions into Britain’s global exports. The initiatives will be run by the Department for International Trade as well as partners organisations.

About the 4 Board of Trade Awards winners announced today

North West England – Arup Group Limited

ARUP is an independent firm of designers, planners and engineers, consultants and technical specialists, seeking opportunities in four broad markets – cities, transport, energy and water. It has more than 13,000 employees across the globe with permanent offices in 35 countries worldwide. Many of the world’s most iconic sports stadia are Arup projects – such as Beijing’s Water Cube, the Singapore Sports Hub and London Aquatics Centre.

During the UK Prime Minister and Secretary of State for International Trade’s recent visit to China, ARUP signed 2 deals with Chinese partners to explore project opportunities along the Belt and Road. The Belt and Road Initiative is being championed by the Chinese Government to promote connectively between China, the rest of Asia and through to Europe. The MoUs (Memoranda of Understanding) with COVEC (China Overseas Engineering Group Co. Ltd) and STEC (Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd) will help unlock business opportunities to support the development of critical infrastructure along the routes.

The deals were signed by Arup Chairman, Gregory Hodkinson, and Arup’s East Asia Chairman, Michael Kwok, in the presence of the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox.

On receiving the Board of Trade Award, Paul Grover, Associate Director at Arup, said:

“It is tremendous that some of the many, many thousands of people who work tirelessly to put our skills and expertise on the global map are getting the recognition they deserve. Promoting and delivering trade and investment across the whole of the UK is at the heart of our entrepreneurial tradition as a major global player in global markets.

For a firm like ours, DIT has proven itself to be a truly effective partner. Helping to establish contacts. Building a strong investment narrative. Clearing trade barriers and working alongside industry to secure the overseas investment that has helped create new jobs, development and regeneration in the North and elsewhere.

North East England – Blue Kangaroo Design

Gateshead-based creative agency Blue Kangaroo has been in business for 11 years. The company has a team of 13 who work with some of the biggest names in the toy, entertainment and licensing industry, including the likes of Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Hasbro and The Walt Disney Company.

The team is comprised of strategic, creative thinkers, designers and illustrators who produce standout creative for clients across EMEA, North America and APAC.

The company has been exporting for the past 5 years, over which time the company has seen huge growth with over 70% of its services being exported. This coming year the company is expecting to see significant growth within Asia.

The company has been working with the Department for International Trade for a number of years, completing the Passport to Export programme shortly afterwards and benefiting from market visit support as well. Since then, the company’s Managing Director Jason Knights has become a keen advocate for exporting and recently attended an Northern Powerhouse starter mission visit to Copenhagen in March 2017 as a mentor.

Managing Director Jason Knights offers encouragement to new exporters saying:

Don’t be afraid to try exporting - you will be surprised to see how receptive the world is to working with UK businesses.

Exporting is a key part of the Blue Kangaroo business plan and is fundamental to the growth of our company. We recognised the vast opportunity abroad and now sell more than 70% of our services overseas.

The Department of International Trade has played a huge part in our export journey, from the day we got involved with them we have seen continual growth. Winning this award is recognition for all of the hard work that the team here at Blue Kangaroo Design puts in on a daily basis.

Yorkshire and the Humber – John E Haith (Haith’s)

John E Haith, based in Grimsby, was founded in 1937 and produce animal feed. Not only do they supply many of the UK’s most successful bird-keepers and bird-breeders they export SUPERCLEAN™ bird foods across the globe.

The company has recently reported 3 export wins for exporting carp fishing bait to Germany, Romania and France. If like me you were thinking, what does bird feed have to do with fishing? During the 1960s, when modern boiled baits were being developed in the UK, the first specialised carp fishing bait base mixes were formed using Haith’s bird food ingredients intended for feeding to cage and aviary Birds. These ultimately came to be known as “bird food baits” and - though time has passed -they remain one of the most popular carp fishing baits in current use across the EU.

DIT have a long-standing relationship with this company, and have been working together since 2012 – from Export Communication Review, Passport to Export we have offered advice and support on how to export and continue helping them to grow their exports.

Simon King Associate Director at Haith’s:

When I think of the dynamic businesses operating within Yorkshire and the Humber, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed and proud for Haith’s to be the only exporter in the region recognised with a Board of Trade Award for 2018. So, why us? All I can add is that we take exporting/international trade seriously, and every member of the Haith’s team goes out of their way to ‘wow’ our overseas clients.

It hasn’t been easy. We’ve invested in our brands and protected our intellectual property overseas. But we’ve trusted our genuine clients enough to give them space to make great products with our ingredients and in return, we’ve earned their trust. Our formula is simple: great products, great service and eyes in the back of our heads! And that’s where the services of DIT have added tremendous value – they’ve helped us to focus; they’ve challenged us to get out of the office and shake hands with business owners who very much feel Britain is great. It’s always a team effort.

North Wales – The Anglesey Sea Salt Company, Halen Môn

Situated in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Halen Môn, the Anglesey Sea Salt Company has been making sea salt since 1997, and exporting its products since 2001 when the company joined forces with an American distributor.

Today, Halen Môn’s sea salt is enjoyed across the world. It has been served at the London 2012 Olympics, a Royal Wedding and is a vital ingredient in Green & Blacks Chocolate and Piper’s Crisps. The company continues to build their international reputation and currently exports to more than 15 countries.

In 2015, the company opened a new visitor centre that offers guided tours, tasting sessions and unique insights into how their sea salt is produced. The centre is part of a new salt-cote that the company has built with support from the Welsh Government, the AONB Sustainability Fund, the Lottery Coastal Communities Fund, the Fisheries Local Action Group, and HSBC. The company has also created more than 20 jobs in the local area and supports many more through their ‘local business preferred’ policy of using local suppliers.

The Department for International Trade has assisted the company with export and labelling regulations and helped organise meetings with potential customers in overseas markets. The company also relied on Welsh and UK government support to apply for, and successfully obtain, Protected Designation of Origin status in 2014, which supports the company’s exporting strategy.

For further information

Published 29 March 2018