8th July 2024

Inspiring new recruits

How careers in Trading Standards can be made attractive and relevant to the next generation.

By Vincent Searle
Trading Standards Officer, London Borough of Newham
Trading Standards is more than just a job – it’s an opportunity to make a real difference while embarking on a fulfilling professional journey

In partnership with REACH Society, the CTSI London Branch Race & Equalities Group took part as an exhibitor in an inspiring careers conference at the Royal National Hotel in London which attracted a turnout of more than 1,000 registered attendees.

The event, which took place in early April, served as a beacon of opportunity for aspiring individuals aged 13 and over, particularly those from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, to explore a multitude of professional careers. These included the Trading Standards Apprenticeship programme and qualification framework.

In 2010, REACH Society was conceived by Professor Donald Palmer, Rob Neil OBE, and Dr Dwain Neil OBE in response to the government’s decision to stop funding the national REACH role model programme. Bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds, REACH Society offers tailored services for personal and professional growth, ensuring individuals connect with inspiring role models. With a resounding motto of ‘building connections’, REACH Society inspires and empowers individuals, continuing the transformative work of the original programme.

The aim of the Race & Equalities Group at the conference was to push the Trading Standards profession’s inclusive ambition, ensuring a workforce representative of diverse communities.

In 2021, CTSI made a significant stride towards fostering diversity and inclusion by signing the Race at Work Charter. This signalled a commitment on the part of the Institute to creating an inclusive workplace where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued, respected, and empowered to thrive.

Inspiring future recruits
Attendees at the event gained invaluable insights into the world of Trading Standards. The interactive discussions delved deep into the critical role
Trading Standards plays in addressing pressing consumer issues affecting young people today.

From vapes and e-bikes to intellectual property, illicit goods, cosmetics, artificial intelligence, scams and net-zero initiatives, the topics covered were wide-ranging and thought-provoking. The group also explored the devastating effects of knife crime and corrosive substances, shedding light on recent changes to domestic legislation and the role of Trading Standards in shaping law.

During the event, the group emphasised that Trading Standards is more than just a job — it’s an opportunity to make a real difference while embarking on a fulfilling professional journey, having the chance to make a real impact, and advocating for fairness and justice. The group celebrated diversity and empowerment, shining a spotlight on
the indispensable role of Trading Standards professionals.

The event also featured workshops on financial literacy, bridging the gap between the world of corporate banking and the community. Expert panels provided guidance and mentorship, offering attendees useful resources to kick-start their careers.

In addition, there was a focus on aspirational growth, empowerment and entrepreneurial journeys as key themes, emphasising the need to support underrepresented members of society.

The Race & Equalities Group remains dedicated to generating interest in the Trading Standards profession and ensuring that all staff, regardless of background, have opportunities to excel and contribute at all levels within the Trading Standards profession.

This event served as a catalyst, unlocking opportunities and empowering young people, positioning Trading Standards at the forefront of innovation and growth. Our overarching vision is to bolster resilience within the profession and future-proof regulatory services.

Making an impact
The event created real interest in the Trading Standards profession from young people, professionals and parents alike. The thirst for knowledge about our career was refreshing and encouraging to see.

This was echoed by Dr Patricia Smith, Senior Lecturer in Professional Health Sciences at the University of East London and her students, who voted the Trading Standards stand as the most impactful at the event. According to the students, “whether we are passionate about law, economics, or consumer advocacy, there is a place for us within this dynamic field”.

It was pleasing that students felt Trading Standards offered a diverse range of career paths, from enforcement officers to policy advisors and management positions, providing ample opportunities for growth and development.

The Race & Equalities Group is optimistic about CTSI’s overall commitment to investing in the pipeline of Trading Standards professionals, as set out in the Institute’s 2024 Manifesto.

In conclusion, the event served as a testament to the importance of diversity and inclusion in shaping a fairer, more equitable society for all, and one that is rich and reflective of the communities that we serve. The event also proved the necessity for continued outreach work through further community initiatives.

CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, who was in attendance on the day, said: “Events like this are so important to the future of Trading Standards. By speaking to young people and telling them about the work we do, we can bring new voices, ideas and perspectives into the profession.

“It was genuinely exciting and inspiring to see the students’ curiosity about careers in Trading Standards — harnessing that curiosity and passion will be vital to safeguarding the future of consumer protection.

“I would like to thank all of those who made this event possible, especially Tendy Lindsay and Valerie Simpson, and all of their colleagues in the CTSI London Branch Race & Equalities Group.”

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