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Trustees x 3 (Finance/ Industry Representative/ Further Education) NCFE

By joining the Board of Trustees at NCFE – an educational charity and leading awarding organisation with over 175 years of expertise and insight – you'll be helping to transform the future of education and skills in a rapidly evolving landscape to ensure no learner is left behind.

  • Location: Hybrid - mix of in person and virtual meetings
  • Salary: Reasonable expense paid

About the role

NCFE is a regulated technical and vocational awarding organisation, specialist apprenticeship end-point assessment organisation, learning resources and technology provider, and education charity.

It has a rich and inspiring history and is currently celebrating its 175th year of offering its expertise and insight for the benefit of learners both here in the UK, as well as across the globe. Over the last three years, NCFE has certificated over 1 million learners and invested over £1 million into advancing assessment methods.

They are looking to recruit three additional trustees to provide strategic scrutiny, challenge and innovation to their board. Enhancing the skills and insights of their existing diverse and strong board will ensure NCFE’s success for the next 175 years.

As a Trustee you will use your knowledge and experience to make a difference to those who matter most, NCFE’s beneficiaries and their learners. You will be part of a board that is embarking on a new phase of evolution and development, and support NCFE to achieve their ambitious plans and ideas and to further scale our reach and impact.

Key strategic initiatives you will be involved in as a Trustee include:

  • The development of the new strategy to go live in the summer of 2024.
  • The ongoing development of a people agenda.
  • An organisational-wide transformational programme.
  • Ensuring continuing solid regulatory compliance and financial sustainability.
  • Investing in innovation, particularly in assessment.
  • Looking at how NCFE can be more influential at a policy and political level.

Overall, the role of the Trustee is to provide effective leadership for the governance and strategic direction of NCFE, in line with its purpose. This includes developing NCFE’s strategy and objectives in accordance with the charity’s governing document and legal and regulatory guidelines. Trustees will work closely with the executive team to ensure that NCFE, as a charity, is led and managed effectively.

Who we are looking for

NCFE is looking for Trustees who connect with their purpose and vision but can also challenge and stretch their thinking about how they can make the biggest difference.

You will be a recognised leader in your field and be able to use your knowledge and seniority to advocate on behalf of NCFE’s agenda. With credibility and integrity, you will help build their connections and influence to galvanise key stakeholders and partners around a shared vision for the future of education.

In particular, we are looking for Trustees with the following skills and expertise to help NCFE understand and map the future while helping to raise their sights beyond what they currently believe to be the limits of what is possible.

Experience or expertise in education is not essential, just your passion and belief in its power to change lives for the better.

  • Finance, Risk and/or Audit

We seek someone with senior finance, risk or audit expertise, who can provide strategic advice, oversight, challenge and guidance on NCFE’s financial health and sustainability and on their portfolio of investment, which may include further M&A activity in future.

Ideally, you will have experience of operating at the most senior levels in service-led organisations and understand the challenges and opportunities presented to a charitable organisation, operating with a commercial approach in a policy-sensitive and heavily regulated environment.

Alongside the Main Board, you will be willing to join the Audit, Risk and Investment Committee actively participating and leading to ensure a high-level approach, whilst also being present to support the executive with external audits and accountancy queries when required.

  • Industry Representative

We are searching for someone who understands the labour and skills market and can provide strategic insight and guidance as to where workforce needs may be going over the next 5, 10 and 15 years on a national level, whether that be through advances in technology, science or economics, or through a deep understanding of societal trends, communities and people.

Ideally, your experience will be in at least one of the key industries aligned with NCFE’s specialist curriculums such as Childcare, Health, Healthcare, Digital or Science, whilst also having a generalist understanding of the economy, workforce development and skills agendas.

We would also be keen to hear from individuals involved with think tanks and policy institutes who work in this area and can provide a more high-level view as well as those from more corporate organisations.

  • Further education

We seek someone with senior sector expertise who understands the UK education environment.  You will have worked in a College, Private Training Provider, School or understand Education Policy and would be able to assist us with strategic direction to ensure we provide the best opportunities, products, and services for our learners. Understanding the sector will help challenge us and provide rich insight towards our ultimate purpose.

We welcome applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences but are particularly seeking those with experience in further education and apprenticeships.

Commitment Requirements

  • Quarterly full board meeting, ideally in person, across two days at or near NCFE’s head office.
  • Monthly virtual check-in – these meetings are not compulsory and have no minimum attendance requirement.
  • Additional ad hoc meetings throughout the year based on key events and regulatory requirements.
  • Trustees are encouraged to join additional committee meetings, but this is not compulsory- although it would be expected that the Finance / Risk / Audit Trustee joins the audit committee.
  • Preparation and reading prior to meetings- approx. a couple of days a month in total depending on the meetings arranged.
  • Trustees are also encouraged to engage with the executive and projects as and when possible and be involved in other company events such as awards nights, but again these are optional.
  • Terms are for 3 years with the option to roll over for a further 3 years and up to a total of 9 years in exceptional circumstances.

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

Paloma Zamora | paloma@peridotpartners.co.uk

Kristina Prestonkristina@peridotpartners.co.uk


If you would like to know more about this role please contact Kristina Preston

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Welcome from the Chief Executive Officer


I would like to thank you for your interest in NCFE and the opportunity to join our Board of Trustees.

With so many rapid changes in the world, both within education and within our organisation, we think it’s an incredibly exciting and interesting time to be at NCFE. As an educational charity and the longest-established awarding organisation in the country, we have a long and rich history and heritage, combined with a strategy that will redefine our business for years to come and the resources to deliver impact at scale.

We believe that joining us now presents a fantastic opportunity for the right candidate to make a significant, positive contribution to our ongoing success and our beneficiaries.

At the heart of our vision for our people is the desire to provide rich and rewarding career experiences for all of our colleagues – and this is just as true for trustees. We are building a culture of high standards and expectations, combined with high levels of trust and empowerment, enabled by the right resources to deliver excellence.

We want an agile, dynamic and connected workforce that is able to adapt, develop and grow with our organisation, as it continues to perform, transform and respond to our continuously changing context and opportunities.

We need all our people to connect deeply with our purpose, to feel inspired by our vision for the future and to be fulfilled by, and valued for, their contribution to achieving our organisational goals, objectives and charitable purpose of reaching more of our learners. We are therefore seeking trustees who can not only be part of this future but can also help to make this vision a reality.

I look forward to meeting you and exploring these opportunities as we work through the process.

Yours sincerely,

David Gallagher
Chief Executive Officer

About NCFE

NCFE is a leading educational charity with a rich history and heritage gained from almost 175 years of education experience and deep insight. Our organisation has continuously adapted and evolved over this time and we’re now on the cusp of further exciting changes and opportunities as education and learning rapidly shift to meet the needs of society and the economy.

At the core of our business, we design, develop and certify high-quality, nationally recognised qualifications, assessments and learning resources, which are delivered through NCFE centres. Our qualifications and support services have contributed to the success of millions of learners at all levels, bringing them closer to fulfilling their personal goals.

Our core business activities include being a regulated technical and vocational Awarding Organisation, a specialist Apprenticeship End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), and a learning resources and technology provider.

We also collaborate with a range of partners to create and promote positive social change. This includes our Centre of Excellence programme with WorldSkills UK to increase the quality of teaching in technical education, our research and thought leadership initiatives with the Association of Colleges, and our £1 million Assessment Innovation Fund which is helping to shape the future of assessment. Click here to read more about our investments and partnerships.

Our B2B customers include education providers such as FE colleges, independent training providers, schools and universities, whilst we also work directly with employers and central and local government.

The advent of new technologies and the rapid pace of change in many industries has made lifelong learning a necessity, either to maintain relevance and currency in skills, develop new skills to support ongoing career sustainability or to re-skill for an entirely new career. To address this, learning has and must continue to adapt. Flexibility, focus and adaptability are critical to responding to the rapidly changing requirements of the labour market, employers and learners. You can read more about our vision for Transforming Skills in our recently released report here.

NCFE has refocused our strategy to better adapt to external challenges. This will see the organisation focus on three core priorities:

  1. Strengthening our core by ensuring that our core awarding organisation has the culture, structures, systems, and processes to deliver operational performance excellence.
  2. Remaining opportunistic to consolidation acquisitions. The challenging conditions in our market will likely lead to further consolidation, and we should be open to using our reserves to acquire Awarding Organisations that align with our strategy, share our values, and maximise our reach and impact.
  3. Identifying new revenue streams. Growth through consolidation and stabilising our core will not protect us from the many threats set out above, as they still rely on regulated, funded qualifications as the primary revenue stream. To protect our charity in the long term, we need to seek diversified revenue sources.

We are seeking to extend the scope of NCFE’s offer by exploring and developing products and services in what we have called the ‘non-regulated’ sector. We use ‘non-regulated’ to describe the range of products and services that are not traditional, regulated qualifications or programmes of learning but still align with, and further develop, our core purpose. This will create opportunities to diversify current product streams and revenues and reduce reliance on regulated revenues.

This includes, for example, our Accreditation and Employer Services, the products developed through our Assessment Innovation Fund and our CACHE Alumni membership platform and Campaign for Learning.

Learn more about NCFE

Accounts information

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    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Candidate Pack.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your interest and motivation for applying for this position, and how your skills and experience can benefit the Board of NCFE.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “NCFE – Non-Executive Director” into the subject field.

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

    Paloma Zamora | paloma@peridotpartners.co.uk

    Kristina Prestonkristina@peridotpartners.co.uk

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    Closing date: 9 a.m. Tuesday 6th February 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: 12 p.m. Tuesday 13th February 2024
    First Stage Interviews: w/c Monday 19th February 2024 (online)
    Second Stage Interviews: Wednesday 28th, Thursday 29th February and Friday 1st March 2024 (face to face)

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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