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Sam Paley - from Online Services Administrator to Trade Procedures Manager


Sam Paley, 30, joined Chamber International as an administrative assistant in August 2016 after enquiring about a career in international trade. He was promoted to Trade Procedures Manager in March 2019. Since then he has been appointed to a national trade procedures committee - the Certification Group at British Chambers of Commerce.

Can you briefly describe your role?

I lead busy teams in Bradford and London that support our clients throughout the UK by issuing important international trade documentation, and advising on technical matters such as rules of origin. We may be dealing with exporting food ingredients to the Far East one minute and steel girders to South America the next, but it is always interesting.

What attracted you to the industry?

My father and sister worked in freight forwarding and I wanted to do something connected to exporting. Chamber International was recommended to me. It seemed a bonus to able to fulfil my ambition with an organisation that is part of the British Chambers of Commerce network.

What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?

There is a huge amount of variety in my work, because of the wide range of businesses we help and countries they are exporting to. The international trade environment is constantly changing, and globalisation and the Internet have had a significant impact on cross-border trade, opening up exporting to small businesses. The work is satisfying because many Chamber International clients are relatively new to exporting; we help them at a grassroots, functional level and make a real difference to what they achieve.

I especially enjoy visiting companies to carry out inspections, to help them improve their import and export procedures, and dealing with the technical challenges of my role.

What skills does your work require?

You need efficient time management, to work well under pressure and to have the personal skills to get on well with clients, who you may know only from telephone conversations, and colleagues. You also need to be a ‘self-starter’ although there is a very friendly atmosphere and help and advice is always available.

What internal support have you had since joining Chamber International?

From the moment I joined, I’ve have been receiving valuable training and support – and that keeps on going. I’ve been trained to be proficient in all aspects of trade procedures, from methods of payment and letters of credit to EUR1/ATR training, and much more. With CI support, I completed the BCC Certification Assessment course, making me a British Chamber of Commerce accredited authorised signatory for certifying documents used for customs clearance, and have now also been trained in the details of customs brokerage.

After her years working as Head of Origin at the World Customs Organisation, during her year as advisor to Chamber International Mette Werdelin Azzam gave me extensive coaching about matters of origin, which was an amazing opportunity to develop my knowledge in that area.

Are your colleagues helpful?

Yes. Everyone here is very friendly and very helpful, so there is always support available to get urgent tasks completed.