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Principal & CEO Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA)

Join the pioneering NCA as our next Principal & CEO. Bring your wealth of academic leadership experience and passion for allied health professions to lead us as we continue our journey to be the centre of education excellence in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and nutrition.

  • Location: York
  • Salary: Up to £80,000 per annum

Who we are.

Established in 1988, the NCA is an independent teaching college as well as a registered educational charity that educates acupuncturists, practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition practitioners and complementary therapists. Our thriving and well-respected teaching clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional advice to the local community. We are proud to be the first teaching institution in the UK to offer university degrees in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, and the first to achieve professional accreditation for our acupuncture courses, Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional therapy courses.

The NCA is based in the heart of historic York on Micklegate, with our teaching clinics also based currently in York, offering treatment to the city’s communities.

We look forward to welcoming a new Principal & CEO to the College who will continue to lead us as we strive to be a pioneering establishment of educational excellence in the fields of traditional Chinese and Oriental medicine and nutrition.

About the role.

The NCA is proud of being a pioneer in its industry and is one of the leading organisations to offer acupuncture degrees and continued professional training in the north of England.

The Principal & CEO provides executive and strategic leadership for the NCA and is responsible for the academic, administrative, and financial operations and management of the organisation.

The Principal & CEO is responsible for ensuring that the College continues to be a leading and pioneering establishment of educational excellence through the provision of a rich student experience underpinned by high-quality teaching, training and support for students, by enabling significant research activity and working with a range of partners to safeguard the reputation of the profession and the College.

The current Principal has served the College for many years and has announced he will be retiring from this position in 2024. The Board of Trustees is therefore seeking to appoint a new Principal & CEO to lead the College on the next phase of its development as they seek to maintain and further the high standards of practice and research in the science and art of acupuncture, the developments in the profession and traditional Chinese medicine and nutrition.

The Principal & CEO will work closely with the Board of Trustees to ensure a clear strategic vision and direction is set for the College, providing executive leadership to ensure organisational strategies and business plan objectives are met. The Principal & CEO will identify and align the College’s strategy with local, regional and national priorities and sector trends across higher education and the allied health professions.

Internally, the Principal & CEO will provide inspirational leadership to a broad team of specialist practitioners and educators, as well as professional services staff. They will work closely with the College Management Team and Board of Trustees, to ensure leadership capacity and accountability across business, planning and educational quality. Working with the Course Directors, the person appointed will provide strategic leadership across teaching, learning and assessment to ensure an innovative approach towards curriculum development that aligns with a broad range of professional standards.

The Principal & CEO will work closely with the Chair of the Board of Trustees/Directors to advise the Board on organisational and governance effectiveness, reputation, and student success. As Chief Accounting Officer, the Principal & CEO will oversee the robust financial management of the College and ensure its long-term financial sustainability, regularly reporting to the Board on the financial health of the College.

Externally, the person appointed will become the lead ambassador and representative for the College, developing partnerships which bring cultural and commercial value to the organisation, alongside managing stakeholder engagement including validating and accrediting bodies, health sector and professional associations.

With ambitious student recruitment targets and plans to offer new courses, the next Principal & CEO will work closely with the Head of Partnerships and Services on developing marketing partnerships and student recruitment initiatives and with Course Directors on developing new course offers that will respond to changing needs and expectations in the market.

To underpin this, the Principal & CEO will provide strong leadership that inspires and motivates colleagues to achieve excellence in their areas of expertise, fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment that prioritises student success, well-being and engagement, and championing a culture of respect, for diversity and exceptional customer service within the College and across its public clinics.

Who we are looking for.

We are seeking a new Principal & CEO who has a strong interest in complementary and integrated medicine and is qualified in a subject area appropriate to the leadership or academic profile of the College.

Candidates must demonstrate significant senior leadership experience in an academic or educational environment and should be familiar with the English or UK higher education sector.

As the executive leader of a small, specialist higher education provider, you will have had experience of managing allied health courses and should demonstrate a strong track record of teaching, learning, assessment and quality in UK higher education. Candidates should also be familiar with managing academic research activities, either through their own personal research or supporting colleagues to develop research activity and demonstrate impact.

As a senior leader, you must demonstrate a strategic approach and be able to implement strategy and demonstrate delivery against strategic objectives. Ideally, you will bring experience in transformation and effective change management and will have collaborated with, if not line-managed, a broad range of academic and professional services and support staff to support them on this journey of continued development.

You will need to demonstrate sound financial management skills and be able to report effectively to a non-executive board on all aspects of the College’s performance against agreed objectives.

We are keen for you to demonstrate your understanding of the College in the context of its higher education sector, in terms of partners, competitors, regulators and other stakeholders. As the College seeks to continue and further develop its strategy for long-term sustainability, we are interested in those who bring commercial acumen and have developed innovative partnerships to support core academic and training activities, ideally related to the allied health sector.

Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to the values and ethos of our College and provide evidence of their activities relating to championing a strong equality, diversity and inclusion agenda, student success and outcomes, and professional development in the allied health professions.

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

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


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

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Welcome from the Chair of The Board

Dear Candidate,

Welcome to the NCA. It is a privilege to be the current Chair of the Board of Directors and Trustees for the College.

We are a small specialist college that has and continues to play a significant role in the training of acupuncturists, Chinese herbalists and nutrition practitioners. We have been at the forefront of acupuncture training, as the first institution to offer a degree and the first to be accredited by the BAAB – the professional body for acupuncture.

As a Board, we are committed to seeing the College continue to be at the forefront of innovative training and continuing professional development in our professional areas.

I hope you find the information and documentation helpful and the opportunity to lead the College in its next phase an exciting prospect.

Please do get in touch with our recruitment partner to discuss your interest further and we very much hope to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Helen Thomas

Chair of the Board
Northern College of Acupuncture

About the Northern College of Acupuncture

Founded in 1988, the Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA) is a leading institution for the training of acupuncturists offering allied training in Chinese Herbal Medicine and in Western and Chinese nutrition.

We currently deliver the following courses:

  • BSc in Acupuncture in full and part-time modes
  • Access Course in Nutrition
  • PG Dip/MSc in Nutrition Science and Practice
  • PG Dip/MSc in Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Diploma in Chinese Medicine Nutrition.

We also have an active and growing CPD programme, which includes the delivery of a one-year online CPD course in Chinese Medicine Nutrition, and a College Hub, which supports practitioners through short courses and opportunities to share and discuss practice and development issues.

Our awards are accredited by the relevant professional bodies and our BSc and MSc’s are validated by the University College of Osteopathy (UCO).

The NCA’s strategic objectives are:

  • To advance the subject areas and professions in our areas of interest, grow their professionalization and research base to promote acceptance of our disciplines for the wider public good.
  • To provide an inclusive, supportive, high-quality, research-informed and stimulating learning environment for the diversity of our student population.
  • To achieve a stable and sustainable position for the College within the higher education sector.

We run three training clinics which offer the local community affordable access to treatment in acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. All clinics offer a high quality and professional service to the local community, with professional treatment offered at reduced rates.

Our programmes are underpinned by research which, as well as feeding into our programmes, supports the growing corpus of research in the professions.

The Foundation for Research into Traditional Chinese Medicine is the research wing of the College and in the early 2000s conducted the UK’s largest-ever research study in acupuncture, which led to a collaboration with the University of York. The Centre continues to support colleagues to present and publish their research and is currently focused on developing a major study of acupuncture and nutrition for atrial fibrillation.


Students are taught by staff who are also practitioners and who thus bring a wealth of clinical experience to their teaching and, in many cases, the outcomes of their own research. The College achieved a bronze award in the Teaching Excellence Framework, with a silver rating for student experience, and achieved above sector average scores in the 2023 NSS.

We encourage our students to develop their own style of practice, drawing on a diverse repertoire of approaches and techniques through a combination of intellectual rigour and critical thinking with compassion, skill and the broad development of the practitioner.

We believe that Chinese medicine and nutrition have the potential to heal and transform at all levels of body and mind and that the education of practitioners is a holistic activity, involving values, spirit, mind and body. We believe that open-minded investigation and research by practitioners are essential to the future vitality of the traditions of Chinese medicine and nutrition, and we set very high standards for clinical, academic and professional excellence.

As well as recognition by our professional bodies, we are reviewed by the QAA, and recognised by the Office for Students, thus enabling eligible students to apply for student loans. Our degrees are validated by the University College of Osteopathy (UCO) and we are a member of GuildHE.

Our courses are accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board, the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association, and the Nutritional Therapy Education Commission.

We are value-driven and aim to continue to be a leading institution in the provision of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and nutrition.

Our values are:

Progressive: Striving to move forward and open to creative change, respecting traditional and modern approaches.

Quality: A centre of professional, clinical, educational and research excellence.

Sustainable: Growing our future in a reflective, sustainable way: environmentally, clinically and financially.

Integrity: Creating an open, honest, ethical and reflective environment.

Community: Working with common goals and values, connected to a wider world.

Person Centred: Compassion and respect are at the heart of everything we do.

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

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

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    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 20th May 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Thursday 23rd May 2024
    First Stage Interviews: Thursday 30th May 2024
    Second Stage Interviews: Thursday 6th June 2024

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