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Head of Business Engagement and Employability University of Derby

The University of Derby is seeking a commercially minded leader as its Head of Business Engagement and Employability, to work with the Provost for Innovation and Research and drive forward the University’s strategic ambitions around enterprise, business development, and employability activities.

  • Location: Derby, East Midlands
  • Salary: £69,198 - £93,030

About the Role

Located in the heart of England, the University of Derby builds on the region’s heritage of innovation to provide industry-relevant, expert teaching at all levels.

The Head of Business Engagement and Employability is a newly established senior academic leadership role that will report to the Provost for Innovation and Research. The postholder will play a leading role in driving forward the University’s strategic ambitions around enterprise, business development, and employability activities.

The role will provide visible cross-university leadership to develop sector-leading business engagement relationships to support the University to achieve its strategic ambitions in REF, TEF and KEF, as well as leading the University’s Careers and Employability function. Drawing together stakeholders from across the University, as well as external partners, you will use your expertise to identify and develop business engagement and employability strategies in the UK and internationally. You must work in partnership with colleges and in line with the University’s wider strategic goals, to deliver these targets and to drive income generation through business sources.

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

In addition, the postholder will be responsible for leading the University’s Careers and Employability team, ensuring students and graduates have had the opportunity to develop appropriate employability skills and gained transformational experiences, to make them competitive in the employment market. This will include working in partnership with stakeholders and colleges to increase the number and breadth of work experience and internship opportunities for students, to support the development of highly skilled graduates.

The Head of Business Engagement and Employability will sit on the Delivery and Operations Leadership Group, one of the key decision-making committees for the University, and will act for the Provost for Innovation and Research on Business Engagement and Employability matters where required, occasionally deputising in their absence.

Who we are looking for:

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced and influential individual with a passion for business engagement, development and employability, to join the University of Derby at a transformational time, and use their experience, skills and knowledge to strengthen links between research excellence and excellent student experience. To fulfil the duties of this post, the University seeks a senior academic with a professorial or equivalent standing, and a strong research track record.

If candidates do not have this then they must be senior commercial leaders, who can demonstrate a significant impact within the fields of research, innovation, or enterprise. You will demonstrate extensive experience of operating strategically at a senior management level within Higher Education or a comparable setting, with a track record of leading and developing successful teams to achieve ambitious targets around research, innovation, and commercial partnerships.

You should either be able to demonstrate experience of leading business engagement activity across a comparable HE institution or bring experience of developing partnerships with HEIs within industry. You will have experience of embedding and delivering ambitious and successful strategies, ideally related to business engagement or employability. You will need to demonstrate a track record of income generation, and bring commercial acumen, ideally with experience gained from working at a strategic level within industry.

The postholder should be able to demonstrate relevant knowledge of graduate outcomes, and an understanding of the policies and regulations that influence developments in Higher Education careers and employability functions.

Closing date: 12 p.m. Monday 14th February 2022

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

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364 033


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

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portrait of Warren Manning Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Engineering and Technology at University of Derby photographed by Richard Richards Photography.

Dear Candidate,

I am delighted that you are considering applying for this role at the University of Derby.

At Derby we have worked to build a powerful regional university that addresses the needs of our students, the region and beyond. Recognised by the Guardian as a Top 30 university and the Times Higher Education as one of the Top 250 universities in the world, our reputation for delivering excellence in learning, teaching and for producing high calibre graduates with the skills that businesses require, continues to grow.

Our Strategic Framework 2018-2030, which launched in June 2018, signalled a new chapter for Derby. It has provided staff and stakeholders with clarity over our direction of travel and raised the bar in terms of our institutional ambitions. Embedding high performance in everything we do and this step change in the way we operate is already generating strong results and outcomes.

A recent change in response to this was to revise the Executive structure as the result of a newly developed target operating model in the form of a reconfigured University Executive Board (UEB), forming a Delivery and Operations Leadership Group (DOL) and developing our diverse portfolio to ensure greater strategic alignment to our corporate aims. The newly configured structure and roles provide greater synergies across the University, better enabling innovation and excellence and to maximise the collaborative working that is so essential to the future success of the University.

Additionally, the change responds to messages in the external environment and the need to continuously reflect and improve on performance as well as ensuring high standards of integrity, transparency and governance. As a result, our Head of Business Engagement and Employability will be joining us at a time of real momentum and positive change, where we look to build on our teaching excellence, enhance the student experience, grow our innovation and research profile and further establish our impact regionally, nationally and globally.

Furthermore, as the only university in the city and county we take seriously our civic responsibilities, working in partnership to improve the health, education and wellbeing of our community and have reaffirmed this commitment by pledging to develop a Civic University Agreement.

We are an ambitious university on an upwards trajectory, with exciting plans for the future, and therefore need a Head of Business Engagement and Employability with the knowledge, experience and leadership qualities to drive forward a high performing team, while ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the institution.

Thank you for your interest and time.

Professor Warren Manning

Provost, Innovation and Research

The University of Derby is a modern, innovative education provider that achieved its University status in 1992. Teaching at the Derby site actually dates back to 1851, when it was a Diocesan Institution for training teachers, so we have over 160 years of expertise in education.

We have since become a University of first choice for students who want a supportive, aspirational environment where they can equip themselves for the career they choose. Our significant investment in world class facilities is building on our reputation for student-focused real-world learning in an increasingly competitive sector. Located in the heart of England, we build on our region’s heritage of innovation to provide industry-relevant, expert teaching at all levels.

Our combined higher and further education offering is spread over campuses in Derby, Buxton, Leek and Chesterfield and we have some of the best university facilities in the UK.

Dome Cafe at the Buxton Dome, photographed by Richard Richards Photography

During the last ten years we have invested over £200 million in facilities designed to give students the very best possible learning environment. We have more investment planned and continue to develop teaching to be innovative, stimulating and engaging.

Recent investments include:

  • £12 million STEM Centre including facilities for mechanical testing, robotics and an anechoic chamber
  • State-of-the-art £10.8 million Sports Centre
  • Immersive Interactive Simulation Suite, the only one of its kind in a University outside London
  • Forensic Training Facility with a dedicated crime scene house
  • Fashion industry facility at Chandos Pole Street
  • Industry-standard Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab
Exterior of Kedleston Road campus

We achieve outstanding results for our teaching and research and with more than 34,000 people choosing to study with us every year, we depend on the dedication of a team of 2,200 academic and professional services staff.

Financially strong and seriously ambitious we offer our employees a family-friendly, rewarding career with lots of opportunities to progress.

We want everyone to receive the high-quality education they deserve, regardless of age, background or location. We were named University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020 and Higher Education Institution of the Year at the 2020 NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) Awards. And we have won the Guardian University Award 2020 for Social and Community Impact.

Challenging, interesting and constantly changing, the University of Derby is an exceptional place to learn and an incredibly rewarding place to work.

Every aspect of our University is committed to promoting equality and diversity through inclusion. We understand that in order to thrive at work, inclusion engenders a sense of belonging and we recognise that wholeness at work is key to engagement and high performance.

We encourage and enable our staff to celebrate the richness of their diversity, participating in staff networks, contributing to awareness raising and role modelling practices and behaviours consistent with our values.

Throughout the year, we hold multiple events that champion equality, diversity, and inclusion; such as International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Disability History Month and LGBT History Month. We provide staff with a blended approach to staff development, offering a wealth of online and face-to-face resources, which are thought provoking and challenging in order to ensure that staff understand their responsibilities towards equality, diversity and inclusion.

Working at the University is exciting and together, we will continually strive to make the University the most inclusive place it can be.

We offer the following amenities:

  • Our buildings and facilities have step-free access
  • Accessibility dogs are always welcome on our premises
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats if needed

The University of Derby is a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Accessible Scheme, holds a bronze Athena SWAN Charter award, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion, and won University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020.

See the following links for further information about the University of Derby’s commitment to encouraging diversity and championing inclusion:



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    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 “Head of Business Engagement and Employability – University of Derby” into the subject field.

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

    Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

    Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364 033

    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.

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    At interview stage, candidates will be asked to provide the University with proof of their right to work in the UK and certificates for all essential qualifications. The appointed candidate will also be required to complete the University of Derby’s standard application form, which is part of their safer and fairer HR recruitment process.

    Closing date: 12 p.m. Monday 14th February 2022

    Interviews: Monday 28th February 2022

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