Job Title: Higher Level Skills Partnership Senior Officer / Principal
Salary: Within the range £26,998 - £37,838 (dependant on previous
experience and knowledge)
Duration: Fixed Term Contract to 31/3/2011
Responsible to: Director (Skills)
Main Contacts: NW Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Further Education
Colleges (FECs), work based learning providers (WBLPs)
and regional and national partner organisations including
NW Regional Development Agency, Government Office
NW, NW Regional Skills & Employment Board, Sector
Skills Councils, the Alliance of SSCs, Business Link NW,
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE),
the LSC and its successor bodies, the Association of College
(AoC), UK Commission for Employment and Skills,
Regional Cluster Organisations, the Department for
Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and other skills related
Special Circumstances: The nature of the duties means the postholder will be
expected to undertake travel predominantly within the NW
region, but occasionally to national and European events and
to work flexibly beyond normal working hours – including
attendance and reporting on regional, national and European
conferences (as required).
The North West Universities Association (NWUA) was established in 1999 to represent the
fourteen higher education institutions (HEIs) in England’s North West with the aim of
fostering collaboration between its members and regional partners for the benefit of Higher
Education and the region. The NWUA is active across a wide range of regional, national and
European initiatives, with its core strategy and policy remit spanning the following key HE
activities: Learning and Teaching; Research; Enterprise; Widening Participation; Skills;
Culture & Media; Health & Social Care and Sport. NWUA also operates 4 projects:
▪ HEFCE funded Higher Level Skills Pathfinder which aims to assist the NW HE
sector in identifying and responding to employer demand for higher level skills
provision in the region. The Pathfinder will utilise the NWDA Regional Brokerage
Service and the LSC Train to Gain Skills Brokers to identify employer HE skills
needs and work with the NW HEIs and FECs to develop demand led provision
which meets these needs. The Pathfinder focuses work on four industry sectors:
Advanced Engineering and Materials; Construction; Business and Professional
Services; and Digital and Creative Industries.
▪ NWDA funded Higher Level Skills Project which expands the HEFCE funded
Pathfinder to cover an additional three sectors: Biomedical; Energy and
Environmental Technologies; and Food and Drink. This project will also cover
non-prescribed HE and therefore work with NW work-based learning providers
(WBLPs) as well as HEIs and FECs. This project will be integrated into the work
of the NW Higher Level Skills Pathfinder and the joint activity is referred to in
this job description as the NW Higher Level Skills Partnership (HLSP).
▪ NWOP Technical Assistance - NWDA have approved funding for ERDF
Technical Assistance to support an HE sector coordination role under the NW
Operational Programme (NWOP). The function of this activity would be to
provide support to member institutions in applying for funding, identifying areas
of linkage and/or collaboration as well as supporting NWDA European team in
communicating with and understanding the needs and complex funding and
structures of the sector.
▪ HEFCE funded ‘Economic Downturn’ Project –to deliver a linked set of actions to
support the engagement of the Higher Education (HE) sector with regional plans
to respond to the economic downturn. These activities include collecting and
disseminating information on relevant HE activity to regional partners, developing
links between HEIs and relevant regional partners and establishing a Higher Level
Skills Partnership (HLSP) Redundancy Response Fund to support the
development of short course provision to those at risk of redundancy or who have
been made redundant.
NWUA currently employs twenty four staff, all located at the Manchester office.
2. Reporting Lines & Key Contacts
The postholder will report to the Director (Skills). Internally the postholder will work closely
with other members of HLSP staff, broader project-related staff as appropriate, and NWUA
staff providing IT, operational, administrative and financial support. The postholder will also
be required to establish and maintain good working relations with key contacts across
member institutions, FE colleges and work-based learning providers. Externally, the
postholder will be required to develop contacts within a wide range of regional, national and
European organisations as appropriate. The appointee will also be expected to contribute to
both internal and external meetings and fora as appropriate.
3. Purpose of the Post
The postholder will lead and support the activities of the NWUA Skills Strategy and Policy
Network including liaising with key external partners and senior representatives from the
NWUA member institutions. The postholder will also be responsible for leading and
supporting NWUA activities in relation to the Higher Level Skills agenda, on both a national
and regional level. In addition to this the postholder would be expected to provide support for
the Regional Brokerage service and contribute to wider HLSP project and sector activities.
4. Duties and Responsibilities
Strategy & Policy
Strategic and operational responsibility for the activities of the NWUA Skills Strategy
& Policy Network, including production of agendas and papers, assisting in
organising meetings and events, and assisting in the production of promotional
materials as required.
Proactively investigate items of relevance for the Strategy & Policy Networks
Act as a lead contact for a small number of external organisations ensuring
information flow to other NWUA staff and communication to member HEIs (e.g.
through the NWUA Monthly Report or SPN)
Produce papers and briefings as required for NWUA Directorate and NWUA Board
and Management Board.
Support for Regional and National Higher Level Skills Development
Undertake a proactive monitoring and intelligence role across regional, national and
European agendas to identify, assess, filter and disseminate information relevant to
the Higher Level Skills agenda.
Facilitating and coordinating engagement between NWUA member institutions and
national and regional policy development, including responding to relevant
consultations as appropriate
Assisting the Director (Skills) in responding to the emerging Regional Skills Strategy,
in order to maximise HE engagement with this process
Direct contact and representation in appropriate fora related to the HE skills agenda,
including deputising for the NWUA Director (Skills) as required
Produce accurate, concise and timely briefing papers and reports to support NWUA
staff and other partners on relevant skills related topics
Increasing and supporting the NWUA interaction with key stakeholders, e.g. NWDA,
the LSC and its successor bodies, NW RSEB, SSCs and the ASSC, UKCES and
Supporting the Regional Business Support Brokerage Service
Developing contacts within NWDA Brokerage organisations, including generic and
sector specific regional brokers.
Develop a detailed knowledge of higher level skills strengths and capabilities in
relation to skills and wider business support for one or more HLSP sectors, in order to
be the key point of reference for higher level skills and business support related
Provide advice to brokers regarding the current abilities and the potential capabilities of
the NW HLS providers in relation to skills and wider business support.
Assist in the development and delivery of the broker training across the region.
Assist with the development of the Discover HE database to ensure it meets brokers
needs and can be integrated with the knowledge platform being developed by NWDA.
Assist brokers in establishing contact with NW HLS providers with the ability to meet
business needs identified through the brokerage systems which cannot currently be met.
Assist in the establishment and development of the required monitoring and evaluation
activities for enquiries received through the regional brokerage service.
Higher Level Skills Partnership
Produce accurate, concise and timely briefings, papers and reports to support NWUA
staff and other partners involved in the HLSP, including the HLSP steering group.
Disseminate HLSP activity to HEIs, FECs, work-based learning (WBLPs) providers,
regional and national skills organisations, HEFCE and BIS on a regular basis as
detailed in the HEFCE business plan, NWDA Monitoring and Evaluation Plan and
HLSP Communication Strategy.
Support HE providers in undertaking the development of demand led provision,
including the monitoring, evaluating, reporting and claiming requirements of the
Assist in meeting the HEFCE and NWDA reporting requirements for the HLSP
Assisting in the general running and success of a dynamic and pioneering new project
(HLSP) with a high profile in both regional and national arenas.
Adapting as appropriate to the changing needs of the project as it progresses, being a
pilot project the HLSP will be constantly reviewed and evaluated and activities refined
to ensure success.
Promoting NWUA members’ strengths and the importance of the HE sector in
contributing to the skills development of the region
To represent NWUA and/or deputise for the Director (Skills) or other members of
Directorate and team members as appropriate.
Such other duties which are commensurate with the grade of the post as may be
assigned and agreed with the postholder, such agreement should not be reasonably
5. Other Information
The NWUA operates to an established set of policies and procedures; all staff are required to
adhere to these policies and procedures when undertaking their work.
6. Person Specification
Skills/ Experience Desirable Assessment
First degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline E E
Demonstrable knowledge of strategy and policy issues Form
relating to higher education within the regional and national E E
Demonstrable ability to work in a strategy and policy Form
Ability to undertake a monitoring and intelligence role, Application
including collating, analysing and interpreting information Form
from a wide variety of sources, and preparing material for Interview Task
dissemination to diverse audiences Interview
Demonstrable ability to represent Higher Education (or other Form
relevant sector) in sub-regional or regional fora
Excellent written and verbal communication skills including Application
the ability to prepare and present clear, concise reports and E E Form
briefing papers on a diverse range of agendas Interview
Excellent interpersonal skills with an ability to communicate
E E Interview
efficiently and effectively at all levels
Demonstrable ability to establish and develop effective Form
contacts and networks with external organizations
Experience of working both as part of a team and on your Application
own initiative, with an ability to work proactively and to E E Form
The ability to prioritise and re-prioritise workload quickly and Application
effectively and to have a flexible and adaptable approach to E E Form
changing circumstances Interview
Politically astute, with a diplomatic, sensitive and professional
E E Interview
Fully competent in the use of standard office software, Application
including MS Word, Excel, Access, email and the internet Form
Knowledge of the North West region D D Form
Demonstrable ability of undertaking a representational role at Form
a senior level
Knowledge of working for a multi-partner organisation and/or Application
ability to achieve a consensus position on politically sensitive D D Form