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Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People Black Country Living Museum

Bring vision, leadership and direction to the Museum’s strategies as its Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People, leading on the successful delivery of this iconic 31-acre visitor attraction and its organisational culture, to continue to bring the rich history of the Black Country to life.

  • Location: Dudley
  • Salary: c.£70,000
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 17th July

Black Country Living Museum is an award-winning open-air museum that tells the story of one of the very first industrialised landscapes in Britain.

Moving from the 1850s through to the 1960s, visitors interact with the past through narrated interpretation, demonstrations of skilled crafts, storytelling and street theatre. Sights, sounds, smells and tastes generate images of the past as visitors immerse themselves in history, experiencing it first-hand.

The sound of metal striking metal reverberates around the village as the chain-maker plies his trade; the scent of motor oil drifts from Bradburn & Wedge Motor Garage as glamorous advertisements peer out from the windows; colourful potion bottles catch the light in the chemist while eye-catching pillboxes promise miracle cures; classic 1950s vinyl fills the air courtesy of Stanton’s Music Shop; and childhood is remembered with a dip of a finger into a bag of kali from the sweetshop.

Our vision

We are the Black Country.

Our mission

We will champion the Black Country by:

  • Celebrating people and communities.
  • Sharing our distinctive history and heritage.
  • Creating pride today and possibility for the future.

About the Black Country

The Black Country is often seen as a collection of 20 or so towns falling within the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton – to the north west of Birmingham. While no one quite agrees on the exact boundaries of the region, there is one thing we know for certain: Black Country folk changed the world.

They built the world’s first successful steam engine, put the first steam train (the Stourbridge Lion) on US soil, fuelled the introduction of the first minimum wage, produced the anchor for the Titanic, practically built the Crystal Palace — and so much more.

About Black Country Living Museum

The Museum invites visitors to experience England of yesteryear as they explore over 200 years of history, from the Industrial Revolution to post-war prosperity, through living interpretation.

They join the Museum’s community for the day and step inside reconstructed shops, houses and industrial areas to say ‘Ow am ya?’ and chat with the people that made this place home, from midwives and miners to brickmakers and schoolteachers – and even a pub landlord or two.

As they hear the Museum’s stories and explore buildings, gardens and alleyways, watching out for a vintage bus and horse & cart as they go, they discover the history of a small region that made a big impact on the people, culture and industry of the world.

About the role

The Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People at Black Country Living Museum is a new role, spanning the following areas:

  • Leading effective collaboration between teams, ensuring robust and productive relationships across the Museum.
  • Contributing to the entirety of the Museum’s short, medium and long-term business planning, you will have an eye on the organisational strategy, ensuring excellent customer service and satisfaction.
  • Leading the teams, ensuring an inclusive and person-centred culture and setting targets, behaviours and standards.
  • Leading successful financial outcomes for the organisation, you will develop budgets (capital and revenue) for Museum Operations, Trading & People, ensuring prudent use of resources, and industry-standard profitability in the Museum’s wide-ranging trading activities.
  • Deputising for the Chief Executive in the job’s areas of expertise.

The Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People reports to the CEO and has the following direct reports:

  • Head of Museum Operations.
  • Head of People & Culture.
  • Head of Site Conservation, Transport and Maintenance.

The role oversees the above ‘Heads of’ to successfully deliver the following areas:

  1. The Museum’s operations:
    • Visitor engagement by our historic characters.
    • Events.
    • Admissions and ticketing.
    • Retail, food and drink operations, including executive responsibilities on the Museum’s Enterprises Board
  2. People – To be the voice for People & Culture at executive level, advocating, championing and challenging the HR agenda and culture of the Museum.
  3. Site Conservation, Transport and Maintenance –Inclusive of safety, providing directorial support and challenge through project management, forward planning and advocating for budgetary priorities.

As a member of the Museum’s leadership team, you will be responsible for an annual budget income of £4.6m and spending of £8.3m. With an annual visitor attendance of 400,000 and over 450 staff and volunteers you will be responsible for managing and directing multiple functions and be responsible for decision-making, problem-solving and decisions in these areas:

  • Efficacy of day-to-day operations and successful visitor experiences.
  • Delivery of our enterprises, visitor experience and events.
  • The conservation and maintenance of the Museum’s estate and transport.
  • Budget prioritising, forecasting and control.
  • Performance of people, their engagement and our culture.
  • Environmental commitments.
  • Relevant policies & regulatory matters.
  • Disaster planning and business continuity.
  • Health & Safety, including as a Safeguarding Lead and Chair of Safety Council.

As with any operations position, relationships with staff, internal and external stakeholders and partners are critical. This role is an important principal advisor to the CEO. There are frequent public-facing opportunities, including interacting with external groups, volunteers, students and, occasionally, the public.

The Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People will expect to interact at middle and senior management levels regularly within the organisation. They will meet and advise the Museum’s governing body, committees and Board of the Enterprises Company, as well as being receptive to input from them.

A curious thought leader in the heritage space, they will naturally want to interact and engage with other museums, partners and external organisations to further the purpose and strategy of BCLM.

Who we are looking for

Black Country Living Museum seeks a hands-on leader with experience operating at a senior level in an organisation of at least comparable scale and complexity.

You will have an outstanding track record of developing and delivering successful strategies relevant to the scope of the role with commercial wisdom and strong business discipline.

As the Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People, you will have experience in developing and implementing sustainable and equitable strategic plans to drive innovation, excellence and manage risk across the Museum’s teams of Museum Operations, People & Culture and Site Conservation, Transport and Maintenance. Your experience will include leading on transformational change to impact trading, engagement, and culture.

Working collaboratively with colleagues, you will demonstrate integrity, well-developed influencing skills, and ethics-based values.

As an enabler of teams and an experienced leader, you will display a demonstrable passion, understanding for and commitment to, the Museum’s vision, mission and philosophy and its independence — and an interest in all areas of the Museum’s work.

A key part of the role will be managing and improving significant stakeholder and partner relationships.

You will bring strong commercial insight and the ability to scan horizons for diversification opportunities, bringing new ideas to bear from your own experience and initiatives.

You will be keen to be involved in current discussions around best practice and will be informed by thought leaders within the sector, especially around the areas which most directly influence your role.

You will recognise BCLM as an opportunity to platform best practice in all areas, influencing and contributing to national policy and thinking in areas relevant to the post.

With a keen eye for strategy, you will be consummate in the devising and implementation of short, medium and long-term business planning.

Furthermore, you will enjoy working in a dynamic and engaged environment.

Benefits of working with Black Country Living Museum

We are a bostin’ place to work, with our unique working environment across our 31-acre site, a healthy approach to working hours and a supportive attitude to work-life balance.

Annual leave

We offer 33 days of annual leave with the option to buy and sell for up to 5 days. With the exception of Christmas and Boxing Day bank holidays, you can choose to take statutory holidays on alternative days.

Well-being

Access to a blended programme of Well-being Initiatives, including our 24-hour EAP support, on-site Mental Health First Aiders, Menopause Support Champions and enhanced sick pay to support your financial well-being at times of need.

Discounts

Access to the ‘Perkbox’ benefits portal which offers discounts on many retail/leisure and hospitality outlets at the point of purchase.

Discounts at Museum events, on-site retail, food and drink units.

Travel support

The Museum is commutable from the surrounding counties of Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands. It is located near a local train station and we offer free onsite parking, season ticket loans for rail travel and a cycle-to-work scheme.

Professional fees

Professional Fees relevant to memberships aligned to your job will be met by the Museum.

Trustee responsibilities

The Museum at its discretion offers support with paid time off for trustee responsibilities you may have with other organisations.

Family-friendly support

We offer enhanced paid Maternity and Paternity support.

Flexible and agile working

We have a suite of options to facilitate balance between working both on and off our site.

Contributory pension scheme

We offer a contributory Pension scheme up to 6%.

Complimentary tickets

10 staff tickets each year that can be shared with friends and family.


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

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Clare Chesworth | clarec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07904 158737

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Rebekah Abbott

View profile

Welcome from the Director and CEO

I am pleased to be writing this letter to offer an opportunity which might be right for you.

 

We have described the purpose of this job to bring vision, leadership and direction to three significant aspects of the Museum. In those few words, I hope you grasp what it’s all about and can see yourself wanting and being able to take it on.

Read on to see if your initial instincts are correct and to see if the Black Country Living Museum is your kind of organisation. That said, this is a high-ranking job, and this is as much an invitation to assert your thinking and influence, as it is to join an existing team of leaders.

Make no mistake, the job requires the absolute best strategic thinking, cutting through complex issues, in parallel with highly tuned influencing skills and business acumen — as well as ensuring annual plans and targets are being achieved, and our promise fulfilled.

In this context, we are a reasonably large organisation but not so large that you won’t be isolated from the impact of your judgments. You will need to enjoy and value personal accountability.

This opportunity arises after we have taken our storytelling forward into living memory with a £30m expansion of the Museum. This has only been possible because of the extraordinary scale and depth of the goodwill we assembled.  The goodwill of many different funders for sure, but also from those who wanted to share their stories, like John and Alan Aston who lived in our Cast Iron Houses, and Cynthia Burgin, who met her husband on a blind date and ran the family newsagents in Dudley, now recreated at the Museum — as well as hundreds of people who have donated objects to our collection; many of which are now proudly on display in new areas of the Museum.

So, united with successfully outpacing pre-pandemic levels of visitor attendance (now at 385,000 or 107%) and 16% higher than in 2022 and with an annual turnover of £11.5m, this is the jumping-off point for our new Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People, and its critical role to lead effective collaboration between diverse teams and their relationships across the Museum.

An important feature of the Museum is its independence. By this, I mean, we do not look to others to achieve our results. We describe ourselves as a heritage business, rather than a heritage service; winning the intersection sweet spot between visitor attraction, museum and charity, to generate 94% of our income. It is this balance which makes leading the Museum fascinating, complex and challenging. But, we love it.

This is a redefined role, bringing together three objects vital to the continued success of the Museum.

You might have more experience in operations, visitor-centred trading or in people and the working culture; but you will be able to work effectively across all three to deliver a museum of consequence.

Andrew Lovett OBE
Director and CEO

Accessibility information

We believe the Black Country Living Museum must reflect the diversity of the Black Country, to ensure the Museum, its collections and its programmes remain relevant and valued by our communities.

We are committed to creating and sustaining a staff, volunteer and audience community where everyone feels valued, where their contribution matters and where they can reach their full potential, irrespective of their background identity or circumstances. The Museum has a responsibility to its communities (inside and outside the Museum) to challenge the perceived status quo.

BCLM is an equal opportunities employer committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment that celebrates the richness of the human experience. We are dedicated to eliminating bias and discrimination at every stage and encourage applicants to get in touch should they require reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process.

Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.

Applicants with a disability 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 role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.


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

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Clare Chesworth | clarec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07904 158737

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

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    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: Black Country Living Museum – Director of Museum Operations, Trading and People” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

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

    Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

    Clare Chesworth | clarec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07904 158737

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

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    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.

    Timetable

    Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 17th July 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Tuesday 23rd July 2024
    First stage interviews: Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st July 2024
    Second stage interviews: Wednesday 7th August 2024


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Black Country Living Museum 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 will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.


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