Policy / Senior Policy Adviser - Education and Skills

Location:Greater London
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Role Summary

Based at our Cannon Place office, the CBI education and skills team works with businesses and government to help change policy to improve the UK education system and close skills gaps in our economy. The team’s work is underpinned by improving social justice and the positive contribution employers can make to education.

Reporting to the Head of Education & Skills, the jobholder will have a wide-ranging role across the CBI’s work on education policy including:

  • Consulting with CBI members to develop policy positions on all parts of our education system from the early years through to lifelong learning
  • Co-ordinating with colleagues in the team to ensure consistency and coherence in our messages to government and businesses
  • Working with civil servants and others to shape UK education policy
  • Developing a compelling offer on the team’s work to encourage more businesses to join the CBI
  • Providing CBI members with political and policy insight and intelligence

At a time of unprecedented political and economic change, the role offers a unique opportunity to lead on a crucial topic for British industry at the UK’s largest business representative organisation.

Key Responsibilities:

Developing the CBI’s education policy positions, both new and existing, including:

  • Demonstrating a good grasp of the contextual policy issues affecting education, including fiscal policy, industrial strategy, and the fourth industrial revolution.
  • Support the delivery of a new digital platform to support CBI members start and build effective partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities
  • Working with CBI members to continually develop policy positions, including managing competing business and commercial interests to produce policy positions with broad support
  • Working on discrete projects (e.g. policy briefs, reports, consultation responses), using project management skills to track progress, manage risk and measure success
  • Working with colleagues in the CBI’s regional offices to extend the CBI’s education work regionally
  • Drafting and presenting papers for the CEO-level People & Skills Board
  • Drafting internal briefings for senior meetings, demonstrating awareness of political context

Building strong internal and external relationships, including:

  • Acting as a point of contact within the CBI for members, staff, and other stakeholders on education policy, including advising your line manager and director
  • Meeting regularly with officials in key government departments, including the Department for Education, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury

Knowledge & Experience

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

  • Knowledge of the policy making process in UK government.
  • Demonstrable interest in politics and public policy.
  • Good understanding of and enthusiasm for education issues. Experience working on education and social justice policy issues is a bonus.
  • Familiarity with the workings of business and commercial pressures.

Role specific skills

The practical actions required to be able to fulfill the role’s requirements

  • Strong research and analytical skills – including quickly picking up new issues and concepts, crafting solutions and advising senior colleagues.
  • Excellent oral and written communication – including the ability to communicate to a wide range of stakeholders and audiences.
  • Influencing skills – including the ability to persuade policy makers of the benefits of working together with business to achieve joint aims.
  • Good stakeholder management and interpersonal skills – including the ability to manage relationships with external stakeholders to maintain member satisfaction, and internal stakeholders to effectively co-ordinate the CBI’s wide range of Brexit work.
  • Organisational skills - including overseeing complicated projects with multiple moving parts in a shifting external environment.
  • High personal efficiency/productivity and flexibility, with the ability to work well in a team – including the ability to work in a fast-paced, pressured environment.


The behaviours and characteristics required to be able to fulfill the role’s requirements

  • Collaborative – Listening, seeking views and sharing information; constructively challenging when appropriate.
  • Taking ownership – Ensuring delivery and holding others to account; can influence, irrespective of hierarchy.
  • Agile – Proactive and responsive to provide a strong member service; responding positively to shifting priorities.
  • Commercial – Awareness of the wider business environment.
  • Innovative – Exploring, sharing and integrating best practice; generating new ideas and challenging a mind-set of “what we’ve always done”
  • Analytical – gathering information and using logic to analyse, problem solve, evaluate risk and make decisions

Equal Opportunity Employer

Be You! Where everyone feels they can belong

We are the voice to over 190,000 businesses, large and small across the UK. Together, they employ nearly 7 million people!

Our aim is to create prosperity for all! To do that well, we need a workforce that is more representative of the businesses we serve!

We know through experience that different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds create a stronger and more innovative work environment that delivers better results. To support an inclusive environment where employees feel empowered to share their experiences and ideas, we’ve encouraged the creation of a variety of Employee Resource Groups - Women, LGBT+, BAME and Working Families.

We recognise the many benefits flexible working can bring. Many of our employees work flexibly in many different ways, including part-time. Please talk to us at interview about the flexibility you need. We can’t promise to give you exactly what you want, but we do promise not to judge you for asking and will accommodate where possible.

How to apply

Please submit your CV & Cover Letter to recruit@cbi.org.uk with 'PA/SPA – Education & Skills' as the subject.