Policy/Senior Policy Adviser - Education and Skills

Location:Greater London

Role summary

Based at our Cannon Place office, the successful Policy / Senior Policy Advisor will join the CBI’s Education and Skills Policy team. The team works across business, the education sector, and government to help meet the needs of an ever-changing world of work to ensure firms have the skills they need to succeed. It’s an exciting time to join the team, the education sector is having to increasingly adjust to delivering higher levels of adult education and questions surround the value of the sector. The successful candidate will be responsible for the CBI’s work in support of the education sector with a focus on developing the CBI’s offer for higher education, further education providers and colleges whilst also ensuring their priorities are reflected within the CBI’s education and skills policy.

Reporting to the Head of Education and Skills Policy, the successful candidate will be responsible for:

  • Consulting with CBI members to develop policy positions that represent the business view on a wide range of issues impacting the education sector
  • Contributing to the delivery of a compelling offer for the education sector, including higher education, further education providers and colleges, to meet the overall goal of increasing the diversity and breadth of CBI membership
  • Providing CBI members with political and policy insight and intelligence so that they can make more informed decisions
  • Working with stakeholders and partners, such as civil servants, trade unions, and education sector mission groups to support the objectives of CBI members
  • Engaging with CBI members to share learning on collective challenges impacting the education sector
  • Co-ordinating with colleagues across other CBI policy teams, as well as Press and Marketing, to ensure consistency and coherence in our messages to government and members
  • Ensuring our higher education, further education and college members are engaged across the breath of the CBI’s policy work, including those which fall outside the work of the Education and Skills team.

This role is a great opportunity to join the UK’s largest business representative organisation at a time of unprecedented political and economic change as well as a pivotal time for the education sector.

Key responsibilities

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

  • Building a strong grasp of the policy issues affecting the education sector, including relevant legislation and regulation, changes to funding, and the wider political context that the education sector is operating within
  • Developing policy by consulting CBI members to produce positions with broad support from the diversity of the education sector as well as business members
  • Working on multiple discrete projects (e.g. policy briefs, reports, consultation responses) across the education and skills team, using project management skills to track progress, manage risk and measure success.

Communicating the value of the CBI’s education sector work to members and in the media, including:

  • Publicly campaigning on the importance, a strong education sector plays to wider economic and social prosperity
  • Distilling political and practical insight on education policy issues into accessible and engaging content for CBI members
  • Providing CBI members with examples of good practise between the education sector and business collaboration across a range of areas, such as skills development, research and innovation, and regional growth.

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 of relevant debates in the wider political and media landscape
  • Working alongside colleagues in Press and Marketing to maximise the impact of the CBI’s education policy work with CBI members and stakeholders in the government, the opposition, and media
  • Meeting with officials in key government departments, including the Department for Education, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and HM Treasury to support their engagement and relationships with the higher education and further education sector
  • Meeting with members of higher education and further education senior management teams and business leaders to ensure that the Education and Skills Team’s work meets business’ priorities.

Supporting the CBI’s commercial strategy, including:

  • Contributing to a strong member proposition for the higher education sector with the aim to develop our offer across the education sector to further education providers and colleges
  • Acting as a representative for the Education and Skills Policy team’s work to support commercial colleagues to recruit and retain CBI members, including strategic accounts
  • Working with commercial colleagues to secure partnerships that grow the CBI’s non-subscription income.

Knowledge and experience

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

  • Knowledge of the policymaking 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 fulfil the role’s requirements.

  • Strong research and analytical skills – including quickly picking up new issues and concepts, assessing new information, proposing solutions and advising colleagues
  • Excellent oral and written communication – including the ability to communicate to a wide range of audiences
  • Influencing skills – including the ability to persuade policy makers of the benefits of working with business to achieve joint education and skills policy aims
  • Good interpersonal skills – including the ability to maintain member satisfaction and manage external stakeholder relationships, and to collaborate with a range of internal teams to deliver the Education and Skills Policy team’s work
  • Organisational skills – including delivering complicated projects with multiple moving parts in a shifting external environment
  • High personal efficiency, proactivity and flexibility, with the ability to work well in a team – including working independently or with others in a fast-paced and at times pressured environment.


The behaviours and characteristics required to be able to fulfil 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

Our aim is to create prosperity for all. To do that well, we need a workforce that is 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 and cover letter to recruit@cbi.org.uk with 'PA/SPA – Education and Skills' as the subject.