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Assistant Principal – Finance & Business Services | Northern College of Adult Education

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Our next Assistant Principal – Finance & Business Services will lead on all aspects of service delivery that impact the financial performance, ICT and Management Information Systems (MIS). The successful candidate will lead on the development of our business systems and work with the Executive Leadership Team to attract new income sources and new student groups to support the Colleges’ strategic priorities.

  • Location: Wentworth Castle, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
  • Salary: £66,000 - £76,000 plus generous pension and annual leave

About the role

Following the appointment of our Principal & Chief Executive in Autumn 2018, we are going through a period of change, impacted by the impending devolution of the Adult Education Budget, changes in society and our ambition to continue providing high quality education to adults from across the country. The College attracts students both regionally and nationally because of its quality provision, incredible student support, committed staff team and the opportunities that are available.

To help achieve our ambitious plans, we are seeking an inspirational and innovative finance and operations leader to join our dynamic executive team. We are looking to attract a high calibre qualified Accountant with strong commercially minded business performance skills with the drive and determination to deliver greater success to our students and college’s future.

As our Assistant Principal Finance & Business Services you will be the executive lead on all operational aspects of finance, ICT and MIS, and you will have direct impact on decision making, with accountability for driving the strategic direction, performance and organisational strategy. Reporting to the Principal & Chief Executive and working closely with the Board, Audit Committee and Executive Team, the position is critical in building a success driven ethos through providing strong, clear, and inspiring leadership across the organisation – all of which support our objectives.

Through your work as the strategic lead on finance and business services, you will work collaboratively with the leadership team to enhance opportunities for students to engage in every level of education and training, and continue to provide outstanding support, services and facilities for them. You will do this through the development of business systems and funding strategies, working with senior colleagues to ensure our infrastructure is designed to educate, empower and inspire our students to make excellent life choices around careers, employment and future study or training.

Who we are looking for

As we are no ordinary college, we are not looking for an ordinary finance & business services leader. Some of our students come with extraordinary life stories and it is important to us that our learners, regardless of background or study level/type, have access to education and training here.

We are looking for a professionally qualified Accountant (ACCA or equivalent) who is passionate about making a difference to people’s lives through our college. From a technical point of view, you will need to be highly skilled in both strategic financial planning and scenario-based modelling around funding, as well leading on the production of statutory reports and audits.

You will be an entrepreneurial leader who has an eye for improvements and new revenue streams, who brings out the best in people – encouraging and fostering collaborative way of working, whilst being able to ‘roll your sleeves up’ when needed.

You will be highly proactive with a proven record of inspiring and developing high performing teams and embedding the most effective and efficient internal systems and processes.

Outside of finance you will be able to demonstrate previous accountability for the success of leading, MIS, ICT and development of business systems.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential chat, please contact our executive search advisers at Peridot Partners:

Sarah Szulczewski | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017 043

Closing date: 12pm, Monday 8th March 2021

Further education recruitment with Sarah Szulczewski

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Sarah Szulczewski

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Welcome from Yultan Mellor, Principal & Chief Executive

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in the post of Assistant Principal – Finance & Business Services here at The Northern College.

The Northern College is one of only four adult residential colleges in England and has a proud and distinguished history of providing educational opportunities for those individuals and communities who may have previously been disengaged and have returned to learning later on in life. Much of what we offer provides a platform to engage people back into education with the aim of designing a supportive pathway to progress through our courses to ensure that everyone participating can achieve their potential.

The College offers so much more than you might expect from further education; attracting students from all over the country with its residential accommodation, amazing location, focused student and learning support and evening library accessibility. Studying at The Northern College is a very inclusive, impactful and memorable experience for our students.

The College is reviewing its curriculum offer to ensure it meets the post-COVID recovery needs of Barnsley and the wider Sheffield City and West Yorkshire regions. It currently offers a wide range of non-accredited Community Learning provision, aimed at engaging adults into education and delivering the essential skills necessary to progress, and follow on accredited courses including Functional Skills and GCSEs in English and Maths, short courses at L1 and L2, with progression opportunities to our full time residential or non-residential L2 Pre-Access and L3 Access to HE programmes. We offer Teacher Education provision up to degree level in partnership with Huddersfield University and we have a long standing Trade Union Education offer attracting union reps from all over the country. The College works closely with a number of local authorities, voluntary sector organisations, and other stakeholders to reach out to individuals and communities engaging them and supporting them to progress within the college. The full range of provision can be found at www.northern.ac.uk.

Our 2025 Strategic Ambition sets out our priorities for the next five years in readiness for the changes that the devolution of the adult education budget from September 2021 may bring. Applying the key themes of ‘Innovate, Diversify and Promote’, the College is at the starting point of this exciting next phase of development. The governing body and entire staff team are driven by the desire to make a positive difference to the lives of individuals and the communities they live in, and it is critical that this remains at our core.

I am keen to appoint a candidate that will embrace this opportunity to take the College into its next phase; an Assistant Principal who will work closely with our dedicated team, developing the College offer – ensuring it meets needs and is efficient and value for money. As well as a focus on financial performance, ICT and MIS, the candidate will lead on the development of our business systems and work with ELT to attract new income sources and new student groups.

I hope you are as excited as I am about the potential at The Northern College, and I look forward to receiving your application.

Yours sincerely,

Yultan Mellor
Principal and Chief Executive

About Northern College of Adult Education

We are Northern College, one of only four residential colleges dedicated to the education and training of people who are without formal qualifications and seeking to return to learning.

We also offer training for those who are active in community and voluntary groups as well as in their trade unions and have a rich history of promoting social justice.

Our mission is to ‘inspire positive change through adult education’ and is central to all we do.

We deliver this mission through our values of:

  • Always be ambitious,
  • Have people at our hearts,
  • Make things happen.

And is underpinned by our strategic priorities, to:

  • Diversify our curriculum offer,
  • Value our people,
  • Promote Northern College and adult education,
  • Be sustainable,
  • Innovate to improve the student experience.

Further detail behind our mission and our strategic priorities, can be found in Our 2025 Ambition.

We are a small college in comparison to some others across the country, though our 4000 students come from a range of different backgrounds across the local area and region. Aged 19 plus, and often with families and dependants, many are familiar with unemployment or part-time, low paid jobs.

We are incredibly proud that our students have in common a determination to secure education, qualifications and better life opportunities. They wish to take control of their lives and change them for the better. Many hope by doing so they can also help to improve the lives of those around them, by supporting their children’s learning or being more effective citizens.

We offer a curriculum that begins where students’ learning levels start, building on the experience of life and work that they bring with them, providing opportunities to acquire new knowledge, skills, ambition and a fresh approach to lifelong learning.

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Job Description & Person Specification and please fill out the Equality Monitoring Form.

    If you would like to have an informal conversation about the role you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Sarah Szulczewski | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017 043

    Please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification. Please include your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Northern College – Assistant Principal Finance & Business Services” into the subject field.

    Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.


    Closing date for applications: 12pm, Monday 8th March 2021
    Candidates informed of outcome: by Monday 15th March 2021
    Informal first stage meetings: TBC
    Formal panel interviews: TBC

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Northern College are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We would therefore be most grateful if you would complete this equality monitoring form.

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    The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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