British High Commission Head of Education, Skills and Digital Jobs in South Africa

British High Commission Head of Education, Skills and Digital Jobs in South Africa

Main purpose of job:

Many countries, including middle-income countries still face considerable challenges such as youth unemployment, climate change, high and persistent inequality (including gender inequality) and digital exclusion, which can lower long-term growth prospects.

Education and Skills:

Roughly 8 out of 10 children can’t read for meaning by Grade 4. Higher Education excludes many: eg the cost of tertiary education in much of sub-Saharan Africa exceeds 60% of average incomes. The UK government is leading and mobilising global commitment and investment in education, including for marginalised girls; and working to deliver a joined-up UK international education offer.

Our two bold global targets – 40 million more girls learning, and 20 million more able to read by age 10. Within the British High Commission in South Africa, our top priorities in supporting education are through support for Higher Education, Technical, Vocational Education and Training, skills development and youth employment.

Digital Access:

Access to the internet is a powerful catalyst to prosperity, reducing poverty and building inclusion – with a 10% increase in internet access linked to 3% growth in GDP, and a range of social and economic benefits.

A key UK priority is to facilitate wider and more affordable, safer and more secure digital access for excluded and underserved populations, harnessing the power of digital inclusion and transformation to tackle poverty, build prosperity and enable millions of people - especially socio-economically disadvantaged populations - to benefit from digital services and opportunities.

Programming portfolio:

The British High Commission in South Africa delivers a portfolio of activities to support the broad-based and inclusive growth needed for poverty reduction. Our strategic priorities within the Economic Growth team include supporting trade and investment, improving business environment and economic reform, driving productivity in key sectors through education, employment and skills development, improving digital access, support for entrepreneurship and MSMEs and sustainable urban development.

This role will be expected to oversee a portfolio of programmes and activities that deliver against our priorities for supporting education, skills, employment and digital access including:

  • Skills programme: South Africa Skills is an innovative programme that supports education and skills systems. Focussed on improving the quality, relevance and equity of technical, vocational and education and training and wider skills development. This being delivered in partnership currently with two youth employment organisations and with the Presidency of South Africa.

  • Scholarships: The Chevening Scholarship scheme enables students in South Africa with leadership qualities to undertake postgraduate study or courses in universities in the United Kingdom.

  • Digital Access programme: The Digital Access Programme (DAP) aims to address the fundamental constraints to digital inclusion through a multi-pillar cross-government structure. This role will focus on the delivery of the ‘Models and Enablers’ pillar, which is the lead component (Pillar 1) of this centrally-managed multi-country FCDO-DCMS partnership.

    Roles and responsibilities:

    Education, Skills and Digital- Policy co-ordination and strategy

  • Work across all programmes, FCDO campaign themes and with DBT and British Council, to develop, own and promote a collective narrative on UK support to Education, Skills and Digital Access and its role in driving productivity in key sectors in South Africa. This includes a shaping and delivering a joined-up UK Education offer internationally in line with the UK’s International Education Strategy.

  • Monitor and report on South Africa's education, skills, youth employment and digital landscape including the emerging trends and developments in South Africa's approach to driving economic recovery and growth through these areas. This would include developing and reporting on the priority youth employment and skills development initiatives being led by the Government of South Africa.

  • Shape current and future programming drawing on a clear understanding of education, skills and digital priorities in South Africa (including an assessment of political economy) including the multi-million FY 23/24 portfolio pipeline in these areas. Currently estimated to be around
    15 development projects.

  • Proactively develop, manage and strengthen UK-SA education, skills and digital contacts through effective stakeholder engagement.

  • Help to influence key decision making at national and sub-national government, in civil society and private sector - in support of the policy objectives in the area. This will involve building relationships that help to drive forward UK and SA priorities for education, skills and digital access, driving policy shifts through engagement and leveraging the programme and our wider levers to enhance progress.

  • Publicly represent the British High Commission as a credible voice on education, skills and digital priorities and as necessary lead on briefings, presentations, reporting and communications.

    Portfolio delivery

  • Oversee the activities of the Skills, Digital Access and Scholarships Programmes in South Africa as delivered by the BHC and/or contracted implementing partners, in coordination with in-country Programme Management Unit and with central teams as relevant. This will require an ability to apply portfolio oversight, coordination, monitoring, risk management and stakeholder engagement skills.

  • The post holder will build relationships with the implementing partners to ensure delivery is monitored in coordination with the Programme Management Unit (PMU). This will include pre-empting risks and ensuring that project activities deliver the expected outcomes.

  • The jobholder will lead organisation of programme governance and coordination mechanisms; this means working as part of the broader South Africa Economic Growth and with the PMU, to ensure programme delivery is coherent with the BHC’s broader objectives, including those of economic growth and climate change.

  • The post-holder will be expected to regularly join key meetings and to provide regular updates on the portfolio’s progress.

    Cross-cutting and Corporate support

  • As all other staff at post, the post holder is expected to participate in wider British High Commission activities. These may include being active on various committees and in other corporate roles.

  • The post holder will also need to ensure Gender Equality Act compliance and support BHC ambitions on women’s economic opportunities, inclusive growth and poverty reduction throughout the team.

    Essential qualifications, skills and experience

  • University degree, preferably in education, public policy, digital, international relations, development, economics, public policy or related course

  • Minimum 5 years of work experience, ideally with education, skills or digital development policy insight and project/programme management experience, preferably with international stakeholders

  • Experience managing delivery partners

  • Understanding of education, skills and digital issues in South Africa;

  • Strong interpersonal, communication and relationship skills

  • Demonstrable experience of delivery and managing a large and/or complex portfolio of projects

  • Fluency in written and spoken English

  • Excellent presentation skills

  • Team player, driven by values

    Desirable qualifications, skills and experience

  • Policy experience in at least one of the following will be essential and awareness of / interest in a further areas will be highly desirable: education, curriculum and qualifications, pedagogy, education policy, international education, technical vocational education and training, higher education, skills development, lifelong learning, labour market, digital, cyber and technology.

  • Experience at policy, regulatory as well as field level will be considered relevant.

  • Experience of working in an international development context, including managing/working with development programmes, including in South Africa.

  • Experience of working in or with government in South Africa. Experience of working in the private sector or organised civil society in relevant fields (e.g. education, skills and digital).

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; British High Commission Head of Education, Skills and Digital Jobs in South Africa

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