A Principal Consultant – Education is needed in UK, United Kingdom

Oxford Policy Management

Principal Consultant – Education, UK, United Kingdom
Job Type: Permanent

Reference: SH/PplCon/Ed/UK/SD

Country: United Kingdom

Location: UK

Closing Date: 08/Mar/2024

Principal Consultant – Education

Primary Purpose: Direction, leadership and technical delivery of education projects globally; shaping the strategic direction of the education practice; leading acquisition of new business.

Job Description Summary

OPM is seeking a reputed and senior education specialist to join its Education Practice as a Principal Consultant. This role will be based in the UK and involve occasional international travel as required by projects.

We are looking to hire a principal consultant to take on business development, technical leadership, bidding ownership, client relationships, line management and contributing to strategic delivery within our global education practice. The ideal candidate we are looking for combines technical expertise and experience of building technical areas of work, with being an experienced team leader, experience of business development, winning work and developing pipelines. We are open to candidates with diverse profiles who combine strong education expertise with experience of leading projects, of winning work and of leading teams.

The Education Practice is a global team of education experts. We are committed to high-quality, lifelong learning opportunities for all in low- and middle-income countries. We support education systems become adaptive, self-improving, and focused on building the skills, values, and attitudes needed to achieve development goals, especially for the most hard-to-reach and marginalised children and youth. We do this by providing high-quality, responsive, impact-oriented, and contextually relevant policy research, technical assistance and consulting services to governments and their development partners. Currently, we have projects in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Kiribati.

The successful candidate will work closely with the Education Practice Lead and Technical Hub Leads. The successful candidate will contribute to the strategic direction and technical leadership of education consultancy projects, including establishing and managing relationships with multiple governments and funders. The successful candidate will lead and manage project staff and achieve objectives for project impact and quality. They will proactively identify new business opportunities, lead technical and financial proposals, and conduct other business development and external influencing activities.

The candidate will have a strong reputation and grounding in education policy and programming, contributing to policy debates and research methods, focussing on sub-Saharan Africa and/or South Asia. The successful candidate will lead delivery of projects to achieve objectives of impact and quality, business development, and learning and external influencing. Establishing and managing relationships with multiple clients and building work with new clients will be an important part of this role.

Primary Responsibilities

 Technical delivery: Direct and lead delivery of key education projects to impact, timetable, and budget.
 Business Development: Proactively identify, lead and deliver priority technical and financial proposals for key clients in line with practice acquisition and diversification targets.

 Client management: Lead engagements and forge close working relationships with multiple donor counterparts including senior development partner and government officials.

 Strategy development: Work with the Education Practice Lead and Technical Hub Leads to shape and significantly contribute to the practice strategy.
 Internal learning and knowledge management: Coach, mentor and manage some education staff to high levels of technical and consulting performance across geographies; lead one or more internal change management and priority business improvement initiatives.
 External influencing: Represent OPM and the education practice externally on strategic policy issues, through writing, presenting, discussing, hosting roundtables, or meetings

Essential skills and experience

 Qualification: Post-graduate qualification in a relevant discipline such as education, development studies, statistics, economics, public administration, or another related field.

 Relevant experience: Minimum of 15 years’ professional experience in international development consulting, of which at least 10 years in international education consulting in senior level roles
 Education sector knowledge and experience: Demonstrated knowledge, widely acknowledged and reputed in one or more of the following priority technical areas for the education practice:
 Foundational learning and school readiness
 Inclusive education policies and practices, especially focussing on gender, conflict, climate and disability
 Education finance and planning
 Youth, skills and labour market
 Cross-cutting technical skills: Strong expertise and/or formal training in one or more relevant technical skill(s): e.g. leading technical assistance programmes; leading design of education policies and programmes; strong grounding in research and evaluation methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods) combined with excellent writing skills.
 Project leadership experience: Experience in leading complex education projects; working with diverse clients (FCDO, UN, USAID, EU); or experience working embedded in a developing country government (e.g. Ministry of Education). These could span small technically strategic studies to large-scale technical assistance and monitoring and evaluation projects.
 Management experience: Project and people management experience, within a relevant consulting environment; experience in managing complex project budgets and workplans.
 Client management: Strong network within education sector globally; experience of directly working with senior donor and government counterparts in delivering technical work; experience of leading technical and commercial discussions with senior government officials and staff of international aid agencies.
 Business development: Experience of leading successful technical and financial proposals and business development activities in a relevant consulting environment (e.g. FCDO, USAID, UN, EU, Foundations); strong sector and market knowledge of key funders and trends in international education.
 Communication: Excellent written and oral communication skills, with high levels of attentiveness to needs of diverse audiences; ability to communicate complex technical issues to diverse audiences in a clear and simple manner.
 Language: Ability to work in English and at least one relevant foreign language.

Behavioural capabilities

 Highly motivated and self-driven, with a keen interest to shape evidence-based debates and drive impact in the education sector
 Excellent attention to detail and analytical rigour, with a problem-solving mindset
 Switch comfortably between detail and the bigger picture
 Good at prioritising changing and competing demands and tasks, while consistently delivering quality work
 Excellent leadership and management skills
 Strong interpersonal and communication skills; collaborative and constructive approach to working with others, mentors and coaches junior staff; builds effective relationships internally and externally

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