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HR Trustee Open University Students Association

The Open University Students’ Association are proud to represent over 170,000 students from all walks of Life. We seek a passionate and approachable HR leader who shares our vision to join our board.

  • Location: Milton Keynes / Hybrid
  • Salary: Reasonable expenses paid

Who we are

The Open University Students’ Association represents the most members of any Union in the UK – representing over 170,000 students with an income of over £2 million. For over 50 years we have strived to make a positive difference for all OU students.

We help support students from all walks of life, helping them access the transformative power of education. Our members study online – balancing their education alongside caring, parental and employment responsibilities. We represent over 24,000 disabled students, and many of our students are second-chance learners, returning to education after a hiatus or leaving school. We also have over 1,700 students learning from secure accommodation facilities, including prisons and hospitals. Our student body is unlike any other.

These students are at the heart of everything we do. We support and empower them from across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and continental Europe. Our students vote, run, and apply for roles that represent their cohort at every level of the University. They set our campaigning agenda and ensure we work on the issues that matter most, from digital poverty and accessibility to mental health and support for undiagnosed special education needs.

Our reach is increasingly expanding into policy as our student representatives lobby the UK’s political and education bodies to better support at-home and part-time learners.

About the role

It is an exciting time to join our board which has published a new 2023-2026 Strategy.

Following the isolating effects of the pandemic and the current rise in the cost-of-living crisis, we are being bold and flexible in our approach.

We hope to engage with a ‘critical friend’ to our partner University – unafraid to voice students’ needs and ready to adapt to issues affecting our members. All our trustees have a responsibility to ensure the Union meets its strategic and charitable objectives.

Who we are looking for

We seek a Trustee to join our board with HR experience. We have a robust HR process and partner with Open University on everyday matters but would like additional expertise following a period of structural change and re-prioritisation. As an HR Trustee you will help us ensure our staff have been taken on this journey, are working in an empowering and inclusive environment, and sit on our Finance, Resource and Risk Committee.

We are open to first-time trustees and individuals from different sectors and backgrounds. The successful candidate will understand governance and have a passion for all we do. They will be excited by the opportunity to work alongside student trustees and representatives.

We especially welcome applications from individuals from minority backgrounds. As a democratic and representative association, we aim to reflect the diversity of our student body and ensure our board has different perspectives and lived experiences.

Time Commitment: 1 day a month. This consists of quarterly board meetings and subcommittee meetings, online discussions, reading papers, and optional attendance of other events. Dates will be given in advance and meetings and remote attendance is possible

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

Jonah Graham jonah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 756654

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Jonah Graham

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Dear candidate,

We are delighted that you are interested in joining the OU Students Association as a Trustee.

We are a diverse and exciting organisation covering all 4 nations, and further afield too! We’re on a mission to make a positive difference for all OU students. This is a mission we believe in and that we use to make all of our decisions. We have spent a lot of time together with our student members to ensure we have developed our recent strategy with them at the heart of it, striving to be ambitious in our approach to supporting our members.

As a democratic organisation, we pride ourselves in representing over 160,000 students who are predominantly distance learners and study modules across our 4 faculties, in 4 nations and from access level to PhD. As a Trustee, you will be a part of a community that represents our students’ voices and campaigns for the welfare of all our students, in particular, championing accessibility and advocating for and working alongside our 30,000 students who declare a disability.

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee for the Association, you will be joining a team full of passion and enthusiasm. You need not have been a trustee before, but we are looking for individuals who believe in our mission and have the skills to support us in achieving this. Please read the information provided or contact Peridot Partners if you have any further questions.

Margaret Greenaway, Association President

Beth Metcalf, Chief Executive

Mark Price, Chair of Trustees

About OU Students Association

The OU Students Association is a limited company and registered charity that represents all 170,000+ students who study at the Open University.

Most of our students study part-time and at a distance across the 4 nations of the UK as well as groups in continental Europe. We support, represent, and empower thousands of students every year.

Our vision

Your Students’ Association will:

  • Empower a student voice that is strong and effective in representing the diversity of our members.
  • Work collaboratively with the University to ensure that students are at the centre of decision-making.
  • Build an inclusive community which nurtures a sense of pride and belonging.
  • Provide relevant, quality services which enhance the student experience.

Our Values

Our values and behaviour support this mission. Our values are important because they underpin our commitments and decision-making. They are crucial in creating a positive space to engage with our members to ensure that, together, we’re achieving our charitable objectives. They represent what we value and who we are:

  • Welcoming – We ensure every student feels welcome and supported whilst celebrating diversity, embracing all backgrounds, and fostering a sense of belonging.
  • Accountable – We are accountable to our members and actively work toward their best interests.
  • Bold – Empowering people to be creative and ambitious in their actions, whilst striving to improve the experience of all our members.
  • Adaptable – We are dynamic in meeting the needs of our diverse members and reactive to changes that affect their experience.
  • Sustainable – Ensuring we are responsible in our activities, safeguarding the future of the Association and promoting a positive environmental impact.

Our Charitable Objectives

Our charitable objects are the advancement of the education of students at the Open University for the public benefit by:

  • Defending the principles of equal opportunity and of open access to the University regardless of academic qualifications or financial circumstances.
  • Promoting the interests and welfare of students at the Open University during their period of study and representing and supporting students.
  • Being the recognised representative channel between students, the Open University, and any other external bodies.
  • Asserting that all students studying with the Open University have the right to have their views heard and acknowledged by the University.
  • Providing social, cultural, and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of its students.

Our Strategic Direction

Our trustees recently approved a brand-new strategy for the organisation. This ambitious strategy focuses on four core strategic objectives from 2023 to 2027 which are to:

  • Create a welcoming environment and champion accessibility for all.
  • Increase engagement through evidence-based decision-making.
  • Enable students to lead, represent and advocate.
  • Embrace change to ensure we are future-facing and sustainable.

    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 Role 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 “Trustee – Open University Students’ Association” into the subject field.

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

    Jonah Graham jonah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 756654

    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.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

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


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 5th February 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Tuesday 13th February 2024
    Interviews: Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th February 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and the Open University Students’ Association 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 practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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