Home / Roles / Director of Marketing & Engagement | Education Partnership North East

Director of Marketing & Engagement | Education Partnership North East

Education Partnership North East is seeking an expert Marketing and Communications leader as our next Director of Marketing and Engagement. You will enable EPNE to accelerate brand and recruitment growth to match the College’s wider ambitions to develop our reputation as a sector leader of high quality Further and Higher Education in the North East.

  • Location: North East Region (Sunderland, Hartlepool, Ponteland, Ashington, Berwick-upon-Tweed)
  • Salary: £50,000

About the role

Education Partnership North East was created following the mergers of Sunderland College with Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Northumberland College. The Group achieved a highly successful rebranding and is known nationally as one of the largest college groups in the country, providing further and higher education and training to over 21,000 students across six locations in the North East. With a focus on supporting the education and training of local communities, whilst aligning its curriculum development to wider regional skills needs and opportunities, EPNE is now seeking a dynamic and values-driven Marketing and Communications expert to lead two business critical areas of support as the College moves into its next exciting phase of growth.

As Director of Marketing and Engagement you will be part of the Leadership Team, reporting directly to the Vice Principal – Student Services and Registry, responsible for strategic marketing, brand and reputation building and recruitment activities across the Group. The post holder will manage two direct reports – the Head of Marketing, responsible for a staff team of six covering PR, Communications, Campaigns, Digital and Design, as well as the Recruitment and Engagement Manager, responsible for a well-developed schools’ engagement programme, college information services and the switchboard.

The Directorate is responsible for raising the College’s profile, regionally and nationally, ensuring brand consistency across all methods of marketing and communications and, through focused market research and collaboration with College staff teams, identifying student and employer groups to be targeted for key marketing campaigns with the objective to increase recruitment and engagement in areas requiring growth or support. Leading a culture of continuous improvement in student recruitment will be essential, demonstrated through the consistent and impactful use of data and reporting to the senior leadership, Executive and the Board.

This work should consistently compliment and strengthen the schools’ engagement programmes and the Director will take a lead on developing existing relationships with senior school leaders, whilst developing new partnerships to extend the programmes and reach of EPNE across the region. The Director will have oversight of all external College promotion and must ensure the engagement teams are outstanding, knowledgeable and professional representatives of the College at all Engagement events and as part of their communications with internal and external stakeholders.

The Director will be responsible for the oversight of strategic planning and research across the Marketing team, ensuring that College promotion across all platforms is aligned to a strategic plan of coordinated marketing activities and in line with the College’s branding policies. The Director will be required to gain a comprehensive understanding of college programmes and services through collaboration with Curriculum teams, Student Services and Employer Engagement Teams, and provide strategic guidance to the Executive Team and senior leaders on the reputation strategy, corporate initiatives and developing an improved internal and external PR and Communications strategy.

As well as working closely with the Vice Principal Partnerships and Commercial on a range of business and reputation development programmes, the post holder will ensure the College remains commercially competitive in the marketplace and ensure sales and marketing objectives align to the educational and commercial priorities of the College. The Director will also be the first point of contact for all media enquiries.

Over the next 2-3 years, key priorities for the post holder will include a Marketing Strategy and website refresh, planning all marketing and communications for significant capital estates projects (e.g. Bede Campus Digital Centre, and forthcoming Engineering and Construction projects), securing growth in market share, especially in relation to the Higher Education offer in a competitive and crowded market, as well as the start of T Level delivery from September 2021.

The post will be based at the Bede Campus in Sunderland, with travel to College sites and other locations for the purposes of Marketing and Engagement activities, an essential requirement of the role.

Who we are looking for

Leading business critical areas of support at the College at a time when EPNE will embark on an exciting and ambitious phase of its journey post-merger, the Director of Marketing and Engagement will be responsible for the oversight of all strategic and operational Marketing, Communications and Engagement activity across the entire Group.

As such, the ideal candidate will need to demonstrate a proven track record of successful leadership experience in either a Marketing, PR or Communications role within a large and complex organisation and demonstrate their motivation for working within a multi-campus educational environment.

The ideal candidate will be an effective senior leader with the experience of developing and promoting a vibrant brand, with a strong commercial acumen and able to demonstrate their professional impact on business growth and diversification of market share through measurable successes.

The ideal candidate will be pro-active, highly responsive, and confident in their engagement with staff and stakeholders at all levels. They will demonstrate their success in designing a strong Marketing, Communications or Engagement strategy, with a track record of developing people and teams at all levels to enable the successful implementation and delivery of ambitious targets and objectives that support brand, reputation and/or recruitment growth, from local and regional, through to national and international engagement.

The ideal candidate will have a strong communication style, with the ability to translate Marketing and Communications language for the benefit of staff and stakeholders working closely with the Director and their teams to support the development and delivery of wider Group strategies and objectives.

The Director will be required to negotiate and maximise budgets for cost-efficiency, with experience of leading the marketing function in a sales-focused environment, delivering large-scale projects and with the ability to use data to lead organisational improvements.

The ideal candidate must show a strong alignment to the values of EPNE and be able to demonstrate their ability as a leader to align the culture, activities and successes of a Marketing, Communications or Engagement team to the values and brand of an organisation.

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

Closing date: 12 noon, Monday 24th May 2021

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Sophie Carney

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Welcome from Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in joining our college community of great people who are deeply passionate about making an outstanding difference across our North East region and the diverse localities we serve.

When applying for any position at Education Partnership North East, a multi-award winning college group, you should know that people matter to us.

We care deeply about authenticity and respect and believe the two go hand in hand. This means we want our employees to always be respectful – a key requirement for a healthy workplace, combined with a strong commitment to being who we say we are, and doing what we say we will do.

We value the human element of people and culture, which means we really engage, listen to and act upon the views of our workforce and varied stakeholders.

Over a number of years, we have been evolving as a learning organisation. This means we actively seek to learn from our experiences and proactively take steps to educate, train and invest in our employees. This approach is important to our continually developing culture of innovation and improvement.

We believe it is our unique approach to people, teamwork and leadership that is attributable to our successful journey to date. This is why careful recruitment and selection of future leaders and employees is an important part of our work.

If you are successful in your application to Education Partnership North East, it will be because we can see you will be a brilliant addition to our college community, that you will work hard in pursuit of our vision for excellence, and that you will be ambitious for our students, your colleagues, our college community, partners and stakeholders.

We are a very large and complex college with multiple campuses and a number of satellite delivery centres situated wholly within and across the North East region. Over the last few years we have also prioritised a significant multimillion-pound investment programme ensuring only the best estates and resources for our staff and students. And excitingly, this work continues.

Our catchment area spans from the Scottish borders through to the Tees Valley, and because of this, we serve multiple wards of significant socio-economic disadvantage. In response we are deeply committed to people, productivity and place, and have developed a strong regional approach to further and higher education and skills strategy. Whilst our regional college group is connected and coherent, our individual colleges (City of Sunderland College, Northumberland College, and Hartlepool Sixth Form), are equally connected and remain responsive to their local communities, an approach we purposefully prioritise.

Should you be successful in your application, your passion and commitment toward helping to improve skills development and as a consequence social mobility will be essential. And now more than ever, as we support the North East to recover from the effects of COVID-19, the impact of your contribution as an outstanding employee of Education Partnership North East will be everything.

As a strong Further and Higher Education College, optimistic for our future, I do hope we sound like an organisation you aspire to work for. We look forward to receiving your application.

With regards

Ellen Thinnesen
Chief Executive
Education Partnership North East

About Education Partnership North East (EPNE)

Education Partnership North East (EPNE) is a dynamic partnership between Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College. Following a successful merger between the three colleges we are now one of the largest college groups in the country, educating and training 21,500 students across three counties. With a catchment area stretching from the Scottish border to the Tees Valley, we have seven campuses situated across Sunderland, and in Hartlepool, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Ashington and Ponteland. Whilst working hard to create a one-college approach, each college remains strongly connected to the communities they serve.

EPNE delivers high-quality post-16 education and training through a broad curriculum in academic, professional and technical subjects. We offer qualifications across further, higher and adult education programmes, as well as through apprenticeships. We also offer specialist provision for students with special education needs and disabilities.

Our sector specialisms align to the key needs of the labour market and are embedded both in our pioneering curriculum development and investment in world-class facilities that equip our students with the relevant skills for industry. EPNE courses are delivered by experienced and dedicated staff and we have some of the best training facilities in the North East. EPNE specialises in the following industries:

  • Land-based and Animal Management
  • Business and Professional Services
  • Health and Care
  • Construction
  • Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Digital Industries

To realise our vision, EPNE aims to excel in pursuit of excellence to enable our Colleges to increase engagement and improve performance by uniting the large and sprawling populations under one culture and strengthen our reputation locally, regionally and nationally.

Purposefully bold and challenging, EPNE aspire to be:

  • In the top 10 Colleges nationally for student achievement; and
  • In the top 25 Colleges nationally for financial health.

EPNE believe that culture and quality are equally important and as such, place a high value on living and breathing our professional values.

EPNE’s passion is our strength – we have demonstrated this continuously and will continue to pursue our vision with enthusiasm and determination.

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    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Role Description and Person Specification and fill out this Equality Monitoring Form

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential chat, please contact the lead consultant at Peridot Partners:

    Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528307

    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 also complete the Equality Monitoring Survey.

    Please ensure that your application and Equality Monitoring Survey is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Director of Marketing & Engagement – EPNE” 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: 12 noon, Monday 24th May 2021
    Interview Date: Monday 14th June 2021 (TBC)

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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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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