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Policy Adviser: Skills


Role Summary:

Skills really matter to businesses and our economy. It’s one of the biggest drivers of growth, for the economy and skills are one of the major challenges the UK faces. 

This is a really interesting role for someone who’s keen to work on a high-profile and fast moving business and political issue. You’ll gain a significant amount of experience that’s both business-facing and with the UK government, as well as the chance to work with commercial and communication teams within the CBI

The team you’ll be part of covers all the CBI’s education and skills policy – from primary, secondary to further and vocational. This role specifically covers skills issues – from early years through to school leaving age, the government is undertaking reforms to colleges, technical and professional education as well as major changes to apprenticeships.

In this role you will be one of the CBI’s expert on skills – holding strategic relationships within our membership and key departments. You will do so in order to provide significant input to the CBI’s policy development and positioning on how the UK’s skills systems can best support national prosperity, to people’s careers and to businesses as well as what skills policies UK business needs to compete successfully.

Based in our London office you will be reporting to the Head of Education and Skills and working alongside two team colleagues and the wider People and Infrastructure directorate, this is a varied and exciting role – encompassing direct engagement with business and government; supporting senior management with briefing for political and official meetings; organising business-to-business and business-to-government events; drafting articles for internal and external communications as well as staffing the CBI education and skills twitter account to keep the team’s work and key messages prominent amongst opinion formers.

Key Responsibilities:

Building effective networks to represent business priorities on skills and provide a high-quality of customer service

  • Acting as a first point of contact within CBI for members, staff, and other stakeholders on skills policy, including advising your line manager and director on your policy areas
  • Building and maintaining successful working relationships with CBI members to develop a genuine understanding of business needs on skills, ensuring CBI members are closely involved in skills policy formation and see their priorities reflected in the CBI’s work.
  • Sharing relevant policy insight and intelligence to CBI members in a timely and appropriate manner as well as providing a swift and high-quality response to CBI members’ queries

Developing compelling and comprehensive policy ideas on skills 

  • Working on discrete projects (e.g. policy briefs, reports, consultation responses), using strong project management skills to track progress, manage risk and measure success
  • Researching and analysing UK education policy and business needs to ensure the CBI is a credible and effective influencer on skills policy
  • Drafting compelling papers, policy briefs and CBI responses which represent the CBI’s priorities on skills
  • Keeping abreast of developments in skills policy and reforms yourself and also updating the team and management team on key issues or risks

Communicating business priorities on education to a range of key audiences

  • Generating ideas for the innovative communication and exploitation of CBI policy ideas; providing briefing support to your line manager, director and senior management where required
  • Building and maintaining positive relationships with key actors within skills policy including, and where appropriate, civil servants, MPs, stakeholders and representatives
  • Representing the CBI at external meetings convened by UK government or business audiences – this will include both attending meetings and preparing and delivering presentations. 
  • Supporting the CBI’s media activity through drafting press releases and playing an active role contributing content and running the CBI education and skills twitter account alongside other members of the team.

Collaborating across the CBI to contribute to team, directorate and organisation goals

  • Contributing proactively to the CBI’s member recruitment and retention activity
  • Identifying opportunities to collaborate with other teams and offering support on project work within the team, directorate and organisation as a whole – including on issues or activities outside of the education portfolio, with CBI colleagues in policy, media, commercial, regional and national teams.
  • Representing the education and skills team, the directorate, and the CBI to all CBI colleagues and externally.

Knowledge & Experience

What an individual must know or understand to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Understanding of UK political institutions and the broad political landscape
  • Knowledge of skills policy issues
  • Experience of working with a diverse range of stakeholders
  • Strong commercial awareness and understanding of business processes
  • The level appointment of the role will depend on work experience in a similar role, for example: public policy, public affairs, skills  

Person Profile

The behaviours and characteristics required in order to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Proactive/can-do/results focused approach to work
  • Self-starting, with the ability to lead work-streams with a high degree of independence
  • Resilience and ability to work in a fast-paced, pressurised environment
  • Effective planning, organisational and time management skills
  • Analytical rigour and research skills
  • Excellent stakeholder management, with the ability to sensitively manage competing interests
  • Excellent written communication skills, including ability to simplify very complex issues and tailor for different audiences
  • Clear oral communication and presentation skills
  • Political acumen
  • Customer focus
  • Networking and influencing skills

How to Apply

For all applications please send your CV and cover letter to with the subject 'Policy Adviser Skills Application'. The deadline for applications is Friday 18th August.