Executive Assistant

Durham, United Kingdom
£27,116 - £33,309 per annum
24 Jun 2022
End of advertisement period
18 Jul 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

Communications Office

Grade 6: - £27,116 - £33,309 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 18-Jul-2022, 6:59:00 AM

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

Durham University

As one of the UK’s leading universities, Durham is an incredible place to define your career while enjoying a high quality work/life balance.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things in the world.

We find it easy to be proud of the extraordinary people we have at Durham. We offer the inspiration, they achieve the outstanding. We invite you to join them.

As a University we foster a collegiate community of extraordinary people aligned to the University’s values. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive, and in doing so, recruit the world’s best candidates from all backgrounds and identities. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

Durham University’s Athena Swan institutional award recognises and celebrates good practice in recruiting and supporting the development of women. We have also signed up to the Race Equality Charter, a national framework for improving the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. Diversity brings strength and we welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The Department and role purpose

Durham University has an ambitious ten-year strategy (2017-2027) to achieve its objectives of becoming world-leading in research, teaching and the wider student experience. Successful implementation of the strategy is in part dependent on our approach to promoting the University in respect of:

  • prospective applicants to our programmes of study – from both UK and international markets;  
  • potential partners in teaching and research;  
  • current and potential collaborators in business and industry;  
  • current and future alumni;  
  • potential employers of our graduates;  
  • national and international policymakers and influencers.

The over-arching ambition is to achieve a step-change in awareness and reputation of Durham University globally.

As part of the Advancement Division, the role will sit within the Marketing and Communications Office and report directly to the Director. The responsibility of the Marketing and Communications Office is to develop and deliver: 

  1. Provision of marketing support to promote and recruit to our programmes internationally and assisting with the recruitment of diversified global and home and students; 
  2. Promotion of the University to and managing engagement with multiple stakeholders and influencers locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally;  
  3. Promotion of the University’s brand and proactive management of its global reputation.  
  4. Promotion of the University’s research peaks of excellence for beneficial engagement with government, business, society, and the academy.

The Executive Assistant will provide a high-level, comprehensive, and confidential administrative support service, primarily, to the Director of Advancement, Marketing and Communications. An excellent communicator who can multi-task, manage competing pressures, be highly organised and discreet, and is truly motivated to do a great job, will excel in this role.

This role will be challenging and fast-paced, and requires someone with confidence through experience and enthusiasm to deliver and retain high standards.

You will be relied upon heavily to support the Director with full Executive Assistant duties, including responsibility for creating first drafts of communications, requiring advanced oral and written communication skills and attention to detail. The successful candidate will be proactive, demonstrate strong use of initiative, resourceful, resilient, and adaptable. They will have a mature and flexible approach, working both independently and as part of the Business Operations Team.

The post-holder will work closely with and provide administrative support, as required, to other members of the Senior Leadership Team within Marketing and Communications. The post-holder will provide absence cover and support to the Business Manager during periods of absence to ensure business continuity.

The role-holder will work within the Marketing and Communications Office in collaboration with:

  • Other colleagues in the Marketing and Communications function.  
  • Other colleagues in the Development and Alumni Relations function. 
  • Other colleagues within Faculties, Professional Services and Colleges, including Executive and Vice-Chancellor’s offices. 

Core responsibilities

  • Experienced service practitioner, planning and coordination of projects and work streams with interconnected activities. 
  • Reactive and proactive service provision with others, including guidance and advice, to deliver an excellent stakeholder experience, with strong use of initiative and follow through. 
  • Provide specialist support with problem solving and query handling, ensuring a high degree of discretion and confidentiality, when dealing with highly confidential and sensitive information, inside and outside of the University. 
  • Contribute to, and support, business meetings, working groups and committees, to help shape service delivery and stakeholder expectations.  
  • Plan and organise own workload, working flexibly as part of a team, supporting other members at peak times of during colleagues’ absences.  
  • Take responsibility for day-to-day decision-making within own area of responsibility for operational aspects of service delivery, translating external and internal requirements into practical application and advice.  
  • Coordinate, interpret, design and present information, data, and resources in appropriate document/formats. 
  • Support the capture of business requirements from users and work with and advise colleagues to translate these into recommendations for future service provision/changes for consideration by senior management.  
  • Relationship building, network participation internally and externally to build and update knowledge and skills. 
  • Engage with external peers and specialists to exchange knowledge and information. 
  • Carry out more in-depth investigations, searches, and research information and data to identify trends and patterns relevant to duties within service area. 
  • Provide demonstrations and instruction to others outside the team where required. 
  • Implement and monitor protocols, procedures, processes, and regulations. 
  • Accountable for managing/maintaining financial and budget records and reconciling consumable expenditure queries. 
  • Involved in the purchase and return of goods and services.  
  • Monitor and report incidents within own service area.
  • Implement and monitor recognised procedures, to ensure compliance and meet University values of inclusion, diversity, and participation. 

Role responsibilities:

  • Ensure the Director is fully prepared for all meetings with briefing packs and/or presentations, working with the wider team to ensure information is accurate and up to date. 
  • Drafting management communications, reports and presentations for stakeholders. 
  • Manage and organise professional business and administrative service processes, activities, travel with detailed itinerary, events and/or resources to achieve defined targets and outcomes.
  • Deliver excellent executive support to ensure the effective and efficient running of business processes and systems, including, where required, complex diary and email management. 
  • Assist in the development, implementation, and enforcement of recognised procedures to ensure compliance, coordinate effort and contribute to directorate goals.
  • Work with the Business Manager in support of the senior leadership team to develop strategic plans that support objectives. 
  • Record and analyse data, statistics, and information accurately, prepare reports and draft communications and distribute information to key stakeholders in the process or service. 
  • Provide professional guidance and advice to staff and students with the operational running of budgets, processes, data and information recording and assessment data within own service area.
  • Ensure projects, activities, budgets and documents comply with internal University and external regulation, policy and procedures.
  • Ensure accuracy by instituting recognised and routine checks, assessment criteria and techniques.
  • Use a range of digital media and tools to communicate with a diverse range of key stakeholders, both verbally and in written format who may need to access information across different geographic and time zones.
  • Develop, plan and deliver internal and external events and activities for stakeholders within own service area.
  • Establish, maintain and develop productive and ongoing relationships with stakeholders to influence perception of the University.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements

  • The role is based in Durham, but occasional travel within the UK may be required. 
  • May be required to provide support for the University’s Major Incident Response Plan and major reputational incidents during office hours. 
  • Some out of hours / evening and weekend work may be required to deliver projects and build and maintain networks.

Working Arrangements

At Durham we recognise that our staff and students are our greatest asset and we want to support the health and wellbeing of all. Hybrid working supports this ethos and provides many benefits to our colleagues, including empowering people, where their role allows, to work in a manner which is more suitable for them, whilst encouraging our commitment to environmental sustainability.

Depending on the needs of the business and the job role, Durham University is piloting hybrid working for all Professional Services colleagues in the academic year 2021/2022, which may include the opportunity to work both on and off campus and to flex working hours. If appointed to the post, your line-manager will discuss the specific arrangements with you. Any hybrid arrangements are non-contractual and may change within the pilot and when the pilot ends.

Reward and Benefits

To support the delivery of the University's People Strategy to attract, retain and reward the very best, we offer a fantastic range of rewards and benefits to our staff, including:

  • 27 days annual leave, plus 4 customary days and 8 bank holidays (pro-rata for part time) and the option to purchase additional leave;
  • Automatic enrolment into a pension scheme;
  • Corporate and local discounts;
  • Wellbeing resources and discounted health benefits;
  • Health discounts on sports and activities at Maiden Castle Health and Activity Centre;
  • Reward and Recognition Schemes;
  • Personal and career development;
  • And SO much more, with further information available here

Recruiting to this post

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification. In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

Information if you have a disability

The University welcomes applications from disabled people. We are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

If you are unable to complete your application via our recruitment system, please get in touch with us on e.recruitment@durham.ac.uk.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the role responsibilities, and evidence of how you satisfy the essential and if possible the desirable criteria.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details

For further information regarding this post, please contact; Rebecca Richardson, Business Manager: rebecca.richardson@durham.ac.uk 

Contact information for technical difficulties when submitting your application

If you encounter technical difficulties when using the online application form, we prefer you send enquiries by email. Please send your name along with a brief description of the problem you’re experiencing to e.recruitment@durham.ac.uk

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

As a University we foster a collegiate community of extraordinary people aligned to the University’s values. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive, and in doing so, recruit the world’s best candidates from all backgrounds and identities. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria

  1. Demonstrable experience of successfully working in an Executive Assistant role providing support to executive/board-level staff. 
  2. Experience of effective working and relationship building with executive/board-level staff within a large, complex, and diverse organisation. 
  3. Outstanding oral and written communication skills, and attention to detail. 
  4. Ability to work under pressure and sometimes to tight deadlines. 
  5. Substantial and relevant experience of providing committee and meeting support in a similar complex and high-pressure environment/organisation. 
  6. The ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally. 
  7. Experience of providing advice and guidance to a range of stakeholders and colleagues. 
  8. Experienced service provider with knowledge and expertise used to contribute to the delivery and development of services and activities within the Advancement, Marketing and Communications Directorate and beyond.  
  9. Ability to effectively network and exchange advice and information for development purposes.  
  10. Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office applications. 
  11. Educated to degree level (or equivalent) in relevant discipline 
  12. Evidence of personal development to maintain skills.

Desirable Criteria

  1. Experience of working in a fast-paced Marketing and Communications environment. 
  2. Experience of implementing policy and procedures and involvement with future changes for a service area. 
  3. Experience of working in a higher education environment.

Durham University

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.

OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide a comprehensive service and deliver the efficient administration and governance of the University.

Overall family purpose

  • Deliver direct and indirect services to stakeholders.
  • Provide advice and answer queries as part of an enquiry-desk/help-desk function.
  • Respond to and manage requests for information and resources.
  • Deliver services to meet regulatory requirements and procedures. 
  • Plan and deliver a joined-up approach to University business and people services.
  • Align business processes and services to meet operational and strategic policy objectives.  
  • Deliver business processes to ensure effective management, governance and the economic viability of the University. 
  • Encourage, collaborate and participate in the development of productive cross-institution relationships and working.
  • Provide excellent professional services that meet strategic and operational goals and business needs.
  • Carry out monitoring, analysis, development and planning to design new services and service updates for continuous improvement whilst meeting changes in regulations.
  • Engage with specialist professionals, consultants, and suppliers to exchange knowledge and facilitate partnership working.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
  • Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Engage and encourage participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering Professional Services across the University;
  • A joined-up approach to University professional services, regardless of location or line management;
  • A culture and practice of continuous improvement; 
  • Design services that meet business need;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs