Senior Adviser to the Chief Executive


27th May 2019

Advance HE supports universities in putting institutional strategy into practice for the benefit of students, staff and society.  We bring together HE-focused expertise in governance, leadership, teaching and learning, and equality, diversity and inclusion, to help Universities to deliver world-leading teaching, research and scholarship.  We do this through the provision of specialist knowledge and resources, externally recognised benchmarking and recognition schemes, and a member-focused, collaborative approach.

Job Description:

To provide high quality, strategic and politically savvy advice to the Chief Executive with a focus on priority issues and activities for the sector and organisation. Oversight, planning and support for CEO’s engagement with external stakeholders. The role is line managed by the Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Support and reports directly to the Chief Executive.

The primary responsibilities are:

Advice and Support to CEO  

  • To provide advice and counsel to the CEO; horizon scanning, anticipating developments and future consequences globally.
  • To produce rigorous policy analysis, reports and briefings.
  • To draft speeches, presentations and other papers for the CEO.
  • To draft a range of outputs, in a variety of writing styles, on behalf of the CEO including internal and external blogs, letters and articles.
  • To proactively manage and construct a programme of activity of stakeholder engagement for the CEO.
  • To map and track the CEOs contact with key external stakeholders.
  • To lead on research, analysis and reporting of information relating to corporate strategy, programmes and activities.
  • To be a trusted Adviser.
  • External Environment
  • To monitor policy and political debates and developments on current issues relating to the work of Advance HE.
  • To maintain strategic overview of the external environment and the sector landscape, working with the relevant
  • Advance HE teams, to support the CEO with external engagements.
  • To develop and maintain an understanding of the context and sector in which Advance HE operates, including an awareness of wider political, social and economic considerations.

External Relations    

  • To build good relationships with senior staff in member universities, advisers to VCs and senior staff in partner organisations and sector professional bodies.
  • To develop good relationships with staff at GuildHE, UUK, Universities Scotland and Universities Wales to support the CEO to ensure that Advance HE properly reflects the differences across the four nations and properly considers the devolved implications of national policy and our work.
  • To liaise with policy leads and executive in mission groups and other key stakeholders.
  • To assist the CEO to promote the organisation externally through writing, media, social networks, expert groups and public speaking, with a particular focus on digital media.


  • Work closely with the Executive Assistant to prepare for the CEO’s engagements and guide the priorities of the CEO.
  • To deliver their Operations Plan through the effective use and management of resources including staying with budgetary restraints.
  • To develop and implement systems, in conjunction with Corporate Support, that measure, monitor and manage Advance HE’s outcomes, impact and performance against key performance indicators.
  • To take the lead on a number of organisationally cross-cutting projects and undertaking special projects as delegated by the CEO.
  • To work closely with the marketing and communications team to coordinate external communications
  • To work with the KIID team on research and analysis to support the CEO’s work.
  • To adhere to quality standards and expectations for ensuring high quality, outcome focussed cost effective development and delivery.
  • To support and promote Advance HE and its products and services.
  • To undertake and support appropriate Business Development activity to develop Advance HE’s proposition.
  • To maintain area of specialist knowledge and expertise.
  • To manage and support the performance and development of direct reports.
  • To support cross functional working.
    To ensure compliance with processes and systems and to proactively engage in their on-going development and improvement.
  • To model and live the values of Advance HE.
  • To be responsible for delivering to deadlines.
  • To develop and adhere to policies and procedures to meet legal and moral obligations in respect of, but not limited to equality, diversity and inclusion; GDPR, health and safety; and Charity Commission requirements.
  • Any other reasonable duties commensurate with level of role.

Agreed objectives will be set and performance will be measured by results and how they are achieved.

Person specification

Knowledge and skills

  • An excellent understanding of the higher education sector and its policy context with the aptitude to develop specific knowledge.
  • Well established sector relationships and networks.
  • Experience of working at a national level
  • Excellent written, presentation and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience of using creative and innovative presentation techniques to incorporate a range of multi-media
  • Excellent project management skills
  • Experience of using different tools and approaches to search for and identify relevant data/literature.
  • Experience of summarising research presented in a variety of different formats (reports, articles, papers).
  • Experienced at critical analysis and interpretation.
  • Experience of managing or demonstrable experience demonstrating the aptitude of implementing change management projects including culture change

Personal characteristics

  • A collaborative and supporting personal style, helping to motivate and enthuse colleagues in meeting high standards and delivering client-focused outcomes.
  • Ability and willingness to provide constructive challenge
  • A passion for higher education and its pivotal societal role and a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • A demonstrable commitment to high quality customer service provision and delivery to meet customer needs.
  • A highly effective communicator with the ability to adapt style to suit audience.
  • Ability to take initiative, prioritise and manage own time.
  • A proactive, ‘can do’ attitude.
  • A high degree of emotional and cultural intelligence, diplomacy and political skills.
  • Excellent professional public speaking and presenting skills.

Closing date: 12 May 2019

Interview date: 20 May 2019

For further information regarding the above position please contact Hannah Harris, Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Support,

How to apply

To apply for this position please download and complete our application form which also includes space for a personal statement on your suitability for the role here.

Advance HE is an equal opportunities employer, fully committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture.  We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.