Executive Director – External Engagement


2nd July 2021

UCB is a vibrant and diverse university, situated in the heart of Birmingham city centre. We offer both Further and Higher Education programmes as well as apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships, and approximately 30% of our student community is made up of Further Education students. We have recently approved a new strategic plan 2021-2024 – http://applications.ucb.ac.uk/strategic-plan-2021/12-13/, with a specific focus on employability and meaningful partnerships. Our goal is to develop into the university partner of choice for a broad range of businesses and employers, and to become established as an anchor institution in the local community.  In delivering this goal, we want to nurture and develop excellent relationships with an extensive range of private and commercial organisations, regionally, nationally and internationally, to provide employment and placement opportunities for our graduates and students, as well as to help ensure our curriculum meets industry expectations.


This is an exciting opportunity for someone who can bring extensive experience and a track record of success in engaging with external bodies to develop commercial partnerships. You will have a keen commercial instinct and strong professional networking skills. Extensive past experience of working in the Further or Higher Education sectors is not a pre-requisite for the role, but you will have an excellent understanding of our strategic objectives and empathy with our values. It would also be advantageous if you have a good understanding of graduate outcomes. We encourage applications from candidates with broader commercial experience from other sectors. This is not a role comparable to that of a traditional Marketing Director and it does not include responsibility for the Marketing department.


You will be the institutional lead for promoting the potential value of the full breadth of the University’s work and activities to external stakeholders. As part of your responsibilities, you will effectively and pro-actively engage with the wide range of public and commercial industries which we serve through our curriculum, and whose priorities must inform the future development of our curriculum through your feedback. The full range of our curriculum portfolio is available at https://www.ucb.ac.uk/study/courses/.To that end, you will be expected to be able to fully understand and present proficiently our vision, offer and business priorities. The external partnerships which you establish through your networking skills and professional gravitas, and which grow over time must be able to demonstrate tangible benefits for students, i.e. placement opportunities, college and graduate level employment opportunities, high-profile external guest speaker sessions and strengthening our Employer Boards. You will also act as the University’s key liaison with a range of other external stakeholders such as local government agencies, accrediting organisations, regulatory bodies and other providers of Further and Higher Education.


The post-holder will work collaboratively and at a strategic level with executive colleagues who lead our academic Schools and direct the development of the curriculum. As a member of the Executive Management Team, you will be responsible for the over-arching strategic leadership of the University’s employability service, Hired, line-managing the operational heads of the department. As Executive Director, you will ensure that the service is optimally and strategically directed in a manner which best supports all our students through their study, and the first five years post-graduation, and that it supports and helps the University benefit from the huge talent base available through our alumni. You will also shape the department so that the services it provides to employers – (http://applications.ucb.ac.uk/hired-employers-brochure/) remain in line with industry expectations, meet the national and regional skills priorities and regulatory expectations in both Further and Higher Education, and are of benefit to the employers and our students.


We are in the process of entering into a unique, exciting and truly innovative partnership with the University of Warwick, (https://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2020/sep/05/the-best-uk-universities-2021-league-table), and are looking forward to working closely with colleagues at Warwick on developing a number of exciting aspects to the partnership. Employability is a vital component of the partnership and you will be the key contact with counterparts at Warwick concerning employability opportunities for students and external engagement discussions.


Educated to degree level, you have a proven track record of managing complex commercial relationships and projects, awareness of the broad context of Further and/or Higher Education and government policy in the UK. You will be able to represent the University professionally on a number of external representative and sector bodies, both locally and nationally. You must also be passionate about working for an organisation which is committed to equality and diversity, and applications from candidates from a diverse range of heritages and backgrounds are particularly encouraged.


Note for applicants:

All applicants for employment at the University will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the principles of Safeguarding and the PREVENT agenda in the context of further and higher education.



You will need to submit a written statement (maximum 4 sides) detailing your CV and a cover letter (maximum 2-sides) setting out specifically how you meet the requirements of the role. You should use font size 11pt.

If you would like an informal telephone conversation regarding the role, please contact Nicola Baker (n.baker@ucb.ac.uk) who will make the necessary arrangements.

Please submit your completed application to n.baker@ucb.ac.uk by no later than 5pm on Friday 2 July 2021.

Standard Information: UCB is an equal opportunities employer.