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Policy Adviser - Education

UK schools and education matters fundamentally to business. Companies are committed to helping all young people learn and develop what they need to succeed – and the UK with them. Through campaigning and policy work the CBI has become a trusted and impactful business voice on education issues.

This is a role for someone keen to work on a high-profile and fast moving business and political issue.

As part of the team responsible for the CBI’s education and skills policy this role specifically covers education issues – from early years through to school leaving age.

In this position you will become the CBI’s expert on education – holding strategic relationships within our membership and within relevant government departments – shaping the CBI’s policy development and positioning on how the English education system can best support people’s careers, UK business and national prosperity.

Reporting to the Head of Education and Skills and working alongside two education and skills team colleagues, as part of the wider People and Skills directorate, this is a varied and exciting role.

You’ll gain a significant amount of experience that’s both business-facing and with the UK government, plus working with commercial and press teams within the CBI: from direct engagement with business and government to developing policy ideas or responses to government announcements; from representing business views at events or organising our own to visiting the CBI regional teams to running the CBI education and skills twitter account.

Key Responsibilities:

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

  • Acting as a first point of contact within CBI for members, staff, and other stakeholders on education 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 education, ensuring CBI members are closely involved in education 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 education

  • 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 education policy
  • Drafting compelling papers, policy briefs and CBI responses which represent the CBI’s priorities on education
  • Keeping abreast of developments in education 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 in education 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

  • Educated to at least degree level or equivalent – for example, relevant work experience
  • Understanding of UK and EU political institutions and the broad political landscape is essential
  • Knowledge of education policy issues is essential
  • Experience of working with a diverse range of stakeholders, including with senior figures
  • Strong commercial awareness and understanding of business processes is essential
  • The level appointment of the role will depend on work experience in a similar role, for example: public policy, public affairs, education


The practical actions 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
  • 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

Please send all applications to complete with your CV and a cover letter. Please ensure the subject is 'Education Policy Adviser - Application'. The closing date for this vacancy is Sunday 15th January.

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