Widening Access Senior Officer

University of Derby


Job details


Student Performance and Engagement

Responsible to

Head of Widening Access Unit


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus


£30,950 to £34,027 per annum (for exceptional performers, there is scope for further progression up to £39,131 per annum)

Closing date

Thursday 14 September 2023

Contract type


Post type




About the role

An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Widening Access team at the University of Derby to have a demonstrable positive impact on the lives of local young people.  

The Widening Access Senior Officer role will support the development, delivery and evaluation of the University’s widening access outreach work and other associated activities to achieve ambitions as set out in the University’s Strategic Framework; Civic University Agreement; Access and Participation Plan; and Widening Access Strategic Plan. The main outputs of the post holder will be to develop, progress and deliver complex long term outreach programmes and undertake a wide range of activities to support the realisation of ambitions, and raise the attainment, of groups of pupils currently under-represented in Higher Education. 

You will take primary responsibility for the successful management and advancement of relationships with a portfolio of schools; will work collaboratively with the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Partnership (DANCOP), other educational institutions and third-party organisations to deliver effective strategic outreach programmes; and will evaluate, track and monitor activity to measure impact and outcomes against a series of challenging targets and milestones.

The post will also require you to line manage staff and recruit, train and develop Student Ambassadors and Mentors.

This role will particularly suit someone who is solutions driven, committed to supporting others to reach their potential, and has a flexible, pragmatic approach to work delivery.

For informal enquiries, please contact Krisha Bainham, Head of Widening Access Unit – [email protected]

Principal accountabilities

  • Use professional judgement to develop and progress strong relationships with a portfolio of schools, University Colleges and other educational providers to deliver impactful widening access outreach activity to support the realisation of ambitions, and raise the attainment, of a range of groups currently under-represented in higher education.
  • Use highly developed skills and expertise to implement and lead successful complex, tailored, long-term sustained programmes of specialist outreach activities in line with the aims of the University’s Strategic Framework; Civic University Agreement; Access and Participation Plan; and Widening Access Strategic Plan.
  • Produce, or direct others to produce, a range of high quality, innovative and creative materials and resources, including digital resources, for widening access target groups, parents/carers, teachers and careers advisors.
  • Work collaboratively with the University’s Schools and Colleges Liaison team, other Higher Education (HE) institutions, local authorities, DANCOP, East Midlands Widening Participation and Evaluation Partnership (EMWPREP), the Local Enterprise Partnership, Priority Education Investment Area, careers services and other key networks as needed to deliver strategic outreach programmes and achieve collaborative targets and goals.
  • Develop and implement appropriate evaluation methods, such as theories of change and logic models, to measure the impact and success of all outreach activity. Record information as required adhering to GDPR regulations for evaluation, monitoring returns and reporting progress against targets. Analyse evaluation data to produce accurate reports, disseminating findings in appropriate forums.
  • Actively engage in reflective, evidence-based practice and implement change based on an understanding of best practice informed by own practice and evidence from the wider sector.
  • Be an outstanding, professional representative of the University and provide up-to-date expert information on University of Derby (UoD) funding and HE funding generally, progression routes and university life to widening access target groups, parents/carers, teachers and careers advisors.
  • As directed by the Head of Widening Access you may be asked to take responsibility for: Creating a close relationship with an allocated University College, establishing yourself as the key contact for the Widening Access team and a recognised outreach expert; Develop, implement and instruct other members of the team to implement work plans relating to specific under-represented groups; Representing the University at professional networks or with external organisations, driving forward the University’s social mobility and civic agendas; Taking a lead in the professional development of other members of the Widening Access team, calling upon your own expertise, knowledge and skills; Successfully managing ad hoc small-scale projects; Maintaining and updating high quality webpages, social media platforms and a range of publications associated with widening access activities, ensuring that you adhere to UoD brand guidelines; Updating and actioning communications plans.
  • Keep up to date with the national widening participation agenda, implementing developments as appropriate.
  • Develop and deliver staff events and conference sessions both internally and externally to raise awareness of UoD widening access work to contribute to the dissemination of information and best practice.
  • Understand and display UoD values and behaviours appropriate to the level of post.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional development and lifelong learning activities.
  • Carry out duties in a safe and proper manner to comply with the University’s Health & Safety Policy and Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • This is not a complete list of all duties and responsibilities, the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties commensurate with the level and skills/qualifications of this role.

    Person specification
    Essential Criteria

    • Degree or equivalent qualification


    • Working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders
    • Experience of relationship management in an education/careers setting
    • Experience of the successful development and delivery of complex long-term outreach programmes to support groups of learners from backgrounds currently under-represented in higher education
    • Experience of project management in a complex environment
    • Experience of using mixed methods to evaluate activity and work practice and turning evaluation data into accessible reports and information to prove impact

    Skills, knowledge & abilities

    • Up-to-date knowledge of current issues affecting progression to HE, student funding, recruitment and qualifications
    • Up-to-date knowledge of the education sector
    • Understanding of and commitment to widening access/social mobility
    • Excellent written and report writing skills
    • Excellent communication and presentation skills, with a record of influencing and motivating others
    • Excellent IT skills
    • Knowledge of developing/updating webpages, HTML emails, social media and publications
    • Knowledge of risk assessing for events and outreach work
    • Ability to work using your own initiative and as part of a team
    • Ability to manage complex and conflicting demands
    • Ability to follow processes and procedures
    • Ability to display bigger picture thinking, keep informed by awareness of practice in the sector and an understanding of the changing needs of learners
    • Consistent and reliable with a positive attitude in challenging situations

    Business requirements

    • Enhanced DBS disclosure
    • Willingness to be flexible with working hours. With prior notice, there is early morning and evening working required, as well as occasional weekend, overnight and long hours required.
    • Willingness and flexibility to travel locally with some regional UK travel in a cost effective and timely manner.

    Desirable Criteria

    • Teaching or guidance qualification

    How to apply

    You can apply by submitting an online application. Once you have signed in or registered with us you will be able to begin your application. If you are creating an account for the first time, please ensure you provide an email address that you access regularly as this will be our main means of contacting you regarding your application.

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    If you require any assistance, including the provision of any documentation in an alternative format, please contact the Recruitment team at [email protected] .

    Please note all applications must be submitted online by Midnight GMT on the closing date of the vacancy.

    Important information

    Please note that unfortunately, this role will not attract sufficient points to obtain a sponsored Skilled Worker visa under the UK Visas & Immigration points based immigration system; however, applications are welcome from candidates who do not currently have the right to work in the UK, but who would be eligible to obtain a valid visa via another route..

    Please consult the Home office website for further information.

    DBS check

    If you are successful, you will be required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The post for which you are applying is exempt from Section 4(2) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 requiring any spent convictions to be declared. Any information you provide will be treated in confidence and only used when considering your suitability for the post.

    To enable us to process your DBS check please ensure you are able to supply the documentation listed on the DBS website at interview stage.

    Equality, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing

    The University of Derby is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. However you identify, we actively celebrate the knowledge, experience and talents each person brings.

    A university that celebrates youA university that celebrates you

    Further details

    Download Widening Access Senior Officer job descriptionDownload Widening Access Senior Officer job description

    Why join Derby?

    Challenging, interesting and constantly changing, the University of Derby is an extraordinary place to learn and an incredibly rewarding place to work.

    Find out more about working at the UniversityFind out more about working at the University

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