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Chief Finance Officer Eastern Colleges Group

We are seeking an experienced Chief Finance Officer to join our Senior Executive Team, to develop a robust financial strategy that ensures our group continues to be financially strong, ensuring the structures, reputation and funding are in place to enable the necessary investment in key strategic priorities that have been identified in developing and growing the Group for the future.

  • Location: Bury St Edmunds & Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Salary: c.£120k
  • Closing date: 12 p.m. Monday 22nd August 2022

Eastern Colleges Group is a collective of visionary post-16 education providers. Sharing the same ambitious strategic aims, we are committed to providing outstanding vocational and academic excellence to over 15,000 students across the region.

Our member organisations include:

General - The Gateway i

West Suffolk College (WSC) is one of the top colleges in the country and this is testament to our amazing students, fantastic courses, wraparound support and of course our exceptional staff.

We are a further education college with our main campus located in the heart of Bury St Edmunds, a historic town in the middle of Suffolk, England, just half an hour from Cambridge and one hour from London. The college is made up of outstanding creative, enthusiastic and committed staff members, who are experts in their own specialisms and curriculum areas. We teach students from age 16 upwards, and we work with over 1,600 businesses. We pride ourselves as being an essential driving force behind the success of our much-loved county.

We have eight college character strengths that underpin all we do, and we make it a priority to give our students the strength of character in order to shine above the rest when faced with employers or universities.

Not only do they apply to our students, but also to our staff members, and the reasons why West Suffolk College is such a fantastic place to work.

These strengths are:

  • Resilience – We are strong as an organisation, and all teams work together to achieve. If and when we are faced with challenges, we respond efficiently and effectively at all times.
  • Optimism – We use education as a catalyst for positive social change and prosperity for the community we serve, leaving no-one behind. We want to inspire our students.
  • Curiosity – We are a curious organisation, always trying to seek out new opportunities and ways in which we can break boundaries in the world of education.
  • Confidence – We are confident. We believe in all that we do, and we appreciate the abilities and qualities of every single staff member. We celebrate our successes, and we remain sure that we will continue to lead as a provider of education.
  • Ownership – We take responsibility for every single student and every single staff member, ensuring our main goal is that everyone at the college is happy and achieving to their full potential. Our amazing wraparound support demonstrates this perfectly.
  • Self-Control – We are disciplined as individuals, and always put the needs of our students first.
  • Ambition – We are an ambitious organisation. We are constantly evolving, as demonstrated with the new STEM Innovation Campus and the Abbeygate Sixth Form building that opened in September 2020.
  • Respect – We respect our staff and students alike, and we put the success of our students at the heart of all that we do, preparing them for their future.

Abbeygate Sixth Form College (ASFC) in Bury St Edmunds opened in 2019 and continues to grow. It now educates over 700 students each year, with students traveling from Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk to study academic courses in its state-of-the-art facilities.

One Sixth Form College (OSFC) in Ipswich opened in 2010, and has grown year on year. It now educates over 2,100 students each year, with students traveling from across Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk to study both academic and vocational courses in its state-of-the-art facilities. OSFC is also the only Outstanding sixth form in Suffolk.

University Studies based at West Suffolk College, offers degree, HNC, HND, and Access to Higher Education pathways and all accredited by the University of East Anglia. The success of our students means more to us than anything else. Our courses are designed with the input of local employers, and our links with industry means that once our students have graduated, they will be in the best possible position to start a meaningful career in their chosen field.

About The role

We are seeking an experienced Chief Finance Officer to join our Senior Executive Team, to develop a robust financial strategy that ensures our group continues to be financially strong, whilst ensuring the structures, reputation and funding are in place to enable the necessary investment in key, strategic priorities that have been identified in developing and growing the Group for the future.

Delivering operational rigor and strategic direction, you will be responsible for the financial sustainability, growth and development of the Eastern Colleges Group. You will work proactively with the CEO and the rest of the Senior Executive Team, to develop the group in such a way that it is ensured future success and robustness for the benefit of our region, students and people.

Our incoming Chief Finance Officer will be an experienced senior leader with a strong track record of financial management, success and achievement, along with strategic financial executive experience gained within a large and complex organisation. This full-time role will operate initially on a split contract basis, with our sponsored Suffolk Academies Trust.

Whilst being the most senior accountant in the organisation, we need you to recognise how important strong and healthy finances are in ensuring students continue to have access to high-quality teaching, learning, resources and opportunities, whilst also enabling budget holders to understand their responsibilities and accountability.

You will work collegiately with the Senior Executive Team to ensure that resources are available and accessible to ensure our ambitions are realised and the growth of the college group is achievable and successful.

You will need to be both visible across the college group, and comfortable translating data into plans. It is important to us that people have access to your expertise and advice, and that you work to provide solutions to challenges across each area of the college group. As part of a hard-working Senior Executive Team, and through an aspirant and dedicated Management Team, your role will be to ensure everyone recognises their fiscal responsibilities whilst also driving innovation and value for money, in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for our students and people. By achieving this, we will deliver the successful growth of the college group for the Eastern region.

You will drive internal excellence by providing strategic executive and expert financial management, advice and guidance to the group’s finance and business functions, the Senior Executive Team and the Governing Body and Trust Board, to enable the group to run efficiently in the delivery of our core aims.

We are on a mission to be the leaders of education in the East of England, whilst putting the students and their success at the heart of everything we do. This is an exciting time to join a successful and ambitious college group and play a significant part in the future of the organisation, influence the educational landscape of our region and celebrate the accomplishments of our students, people and employers.


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

Sarah Atkins-Boalsarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

Further education recruitment with Sarah Szulczewski

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Sarah Atkins-Boal

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Welcome

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in joining our Senior Leadership Team at Eastern Colleges Group (ECG).

It could not be a better time to join us at Eastern Colleges Group. We are evolving at a remarkable pace – offering our students the best learning experience and our colleagues an incredibly exciting and innovative place to work.

Whilst we remain financially strong and the future is looking very promising for our organisation, as always in Further Education there is more to do. We are looking for our Chief Financial Officer to complete our leadership team and we anticipate that with the right candidate in place, this will support in providing the Group with stability and security.

Having worked in education for over 25 years, I am continually humbled by the achievements and attitudes of our students and staff across the Eastern Colleges Group. There is a huge amount of pride, progress, and ambition in our family – and we cultivate resilience and optimism in everything we do.

At Eastern Colleges Group we are on a journey. We continue to instil our vision of putting students and their success at the heart of everything we do, and we are at a very exciting time. If you think this is a vision you can share, and you have the ambition and passion to help us achieve – I very much welcome your application.

Nikos Savvas

CEO – Eastern Colleges Group

About the Organisation

About Eastern Colleges Group

The Eastern Colleges Group is a collective of visionary post-16 education providers. Sharing the same ambitious strategic aims, we are committed to providing outstanding vocational and academic excellence to over 15,000 students across the region.

Our vision is to provide the right education for our students, employers and the region. Students are drawn to our colleges for outstanding education, collaboration and innovation and it is our intention for the Eastern Colleges Group to be known locally, nationally and internationally as centres of outstanding education. We look to inspire, support and enable best practice and excellence at schools, businesses and other institutions within the community.

The Eastern Colleges Group believe that our collaborative approach to education will be a catalyst for prosperity in our region. This is why we work extensively not only with businesses, but also with nurseries, primary and secondary schools, sixth forms, universities and other education partners as part of our trailblazing ‘escalator model’ – to support students at every stage of their education, provide them with the best opportunities to inspire them and improve their future prospects along the way.

We are immensely proud of our passionate and talented staff, who are inspired to work here because of our outstanding reputation for excellence. Thanks to their commitment and dedication, we are growing and evolving to better serve our students, employers, the region and beyond.

Most importantly, we enjoy a deep-rooted culture of putting our students and their success at the heart of everything we do. Our method for continually achieving this ambition is to focus on our three pillars of success.

  • Connections – using our excellent sustainable multi-partner collaborations, including those with leading local and national employers, to ensure our students’ opportunities are maximised.
  • Qualifications – focused on tailoring our provision to each individual student so their path is as inspiring, efficient and direct as possible.
  • Thirdly, we believe that there are eight ‘Character Strengths’ which are present in every truly successful individual: Resilience, Optimism, Curiosity, Confidence, Ownership, Self-Control, Ambition and Respect. We work to instil the importance of every one of these characteristics in ourselves and our students so that employers, universities and, most importantly, the students themselves, can fully realise what remarkable things they are capable of achieving.

In addition to these pillars of success, we believe in giving the right support to our students, from financial, for course materials, to welfare support for activities inside and outside the college. It is our duty to our students to provide the best educational experience. They never cease to amaze us with their determination and willingness to strive for, and exceed, what we expect of them.

Our vision – To put students and their success at the heart of everything we do, preparing them for their future.

Our mission – To use education as a catalyst of positive social change and prosperity for the community we serve, leaving no-one behind.

Our aim is to inspire outstanding education to enable all students to gain the right qualifications, the best grades, the connections with businesses and the character strengths they need to succeed and realise their future.

Our strategic aims

  • Put post-16 students and their success at the heart of everything we do.
  • Prepare students for their future.
  • Be recognised for achieving excellence in each of the curriculum areas and in the wrap-around support for our students.
  • Create an inclusive environment where every student is on the right course, at the right level, and supported towards outstanding achievement, so that no-one is left behind.
  • Create a responsive curriculum that meets the needs of our region, and provides the energy that powers our local economy.
  • Ensure that we are a learning organisation at all levels that is committed to developing a highly trained and responsive workforce.
  • Provide an estate that fulfils the needs of a fully resourced curriculum.
  • Develop diverse sources of income from the private and public sectors that is resilient to policy changes.
  • Ensure financial stability and sustainability for all the institutions in the group.
  • Work in collaboration with other organisations, including employers, to support the educational needs of our community and act as a catalyst for prosperity and excellence within the region.

Accessibility

The Eastern Colleges Group take accessibility seriously, and we endeavour to make our sites as accessible as possible.

Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, accessible workstations (e.g. desk, office), and step-free access to all key meeting rooms and toilets.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcomed.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats if needed.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for an interview.
  • Working patterns / working locations can be adjusted.

If you have any further needs around accessibility, please get in touch with the advising consultant for a confidential chat on how we can best fulfil your needs.

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    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners

    Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

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    Timetable

    Closing date: 12 p.m. Monday 22nd August 2022

    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 26th August 2022

    First stage interviews: Monday 5th September 2022

    Final interviews: Thursday 8th September 2022

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