Principal and Chief Executive (National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure [NCATI]) – Birmingham.

Job Purpose.

MICRA partner the University of Birmingham are involved with delivering the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure. The College is currently recruiting.

The Principal is responsible for the leadership and management of the College and, in conjunction with the Board, its strategic direction. The post holder is the Chief Accounting Officer and will serve on the Board of Governors as an ex-officio member.

Main Duties and Responsibilities.

  • To be responsible/accountable to the Board for delivering the strategic plan, championing the College’s mission and ensuring the College’s financial stability.
  • To ensure the provision of outstanding education and training to the College’s learners, employers and the wider stakeholder community.
  • To develop and deliver a transformational change programme, ensuring that NCATI becomes the education provider of choice for the rail industry and works closely with industry and partners to develop its profile, reputation and business model.
  • To provide inspirational leadership to College staff and learners, demonstrating the College’s values and behaviours.
  • To act as chief ambassador of the College internally and externally and be responsible for engaging with the University of Birmingham Group, including Council and University Executive Board.
  • To work with the University of Birmingham’s academic community, including the Schools of Engineering and Education, to develop and deliver high quality, relevant programmes.
  • To ensure the highest standard of probity and effectiveness as defined by any regulatory authority.
  • To be the lead officer for Safeguarding and Prevent.

Management and culture

  • To be responsible for the College’s direction, leadership and management in compliance with the College’s Instrument and Articles and Governance deed, including: a) overall responsibility for the College, staff and learners, b) line management for all staff, other than the Clerk and c) implementation of all staffing policies and procedures.
  • By effective line management, lead the College’s Senior Leadership Team, holding them clearly accountable, both collectively and individually, for measurable delivery of the objectives, goals and aspirations of the College, in consultation with the University.
  • To ensure that appropriate targets are set and agreed throughout the College, that performance against them is monitored and that the College meets or exceeds them.
  • To lead marketing, business development and student recruitment, ensuring that the College meets its targets for learner recruitment and develops a compelling and contemporary offer.
  • To promote a development culture, with clear lines of accountability, that ensures staff can deliver outstanding performance whilst supporting staff wellbeing.
  • To actively promote equality, diversity and inclusion within the College.


  • To ensure high quality arrangements for teaching, learning and learner support, set against an outstanding technical and vocational curriculum, aligned to current and future industry needs.
  • To ensure that safe, high quality, innovative blended teaching, learning and assessment are at the core of our activities, continuing to work with employers in ensuring high levels of achievement and outcomes for learners.
  • Ensure that the College is an inclusive, learner-centred organisation where every learner can achieve their full potential.
  • Be committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of learners and ensure that all staff and relevant stakeholders share this commitment.


  • As Chief Accounting Officer for the College, ensure policies are compliant with the financial memorandum, the College’s financial regulations and procedures, the Articles of Association and the Governance deed and the requirements of funding bodies.
  • Ensure that arrangements are made for the timely preparation of realistic annual income and expenditure reports and the management of budgets and resources.
  • To safeguard public funds and maintain the financial integrity of the College, preparing a sustainable financial plan, sound financial controls, regular accounts and reports to the Board, with clear audit trails.
  • To ensure there is a flexible, responsive business model which drives quality and income, is agile in its delivery and maintains an appropriate cost base to generate material levels of surplus to reinvest in the College.

Governance, compliance and risk

  • To ensure the College complies with its statutory and regulatory responsibilities, aligned to effective risk management protocols.
  • To meet all the requirements of funding and regulatory agencies including internal and external audit and inspections.
  • To ensure the Board has the information it needs to discharge its duties.
  • To serve as an ex-officio member of the College Board and attend governance meetings.
  • Provide a report to the University of Birmingham Council every six months for the first three years and thereafter annually.


  • The duties of the post may vary from time to time without changing the general character of the duties or the level of responsibilities entailed.

Person Specification.


  • Degree qualified or equivalent with evidence of, and a commitment to, ongoing self-development and training.


  • Strong, inspirational leadership and senior management experience in a further education organisation of significant size, scope and complexity
  • Proven experience of taking a strategic perspective and providing a clear vision linked to realistic goals to maximise and embrace new opportunities
  • Proven track record of driving up quality improvement in teaching, learning and assessment, demonstrating an ambition for student success
  • Proven track record of effective change management gained in an educational context.
  • Experience of successfully managing a range of key stakeholders including funding bodies, employers, industry partners and academic organisations, with political insight and sensitivity to protect and enhance the reputation of the College
  • Demonstrable success in managing, motivating and developing a senior team to improve organisational performance and produce outstanding results, set against a changing educational context.
  • Successful track record of sound financial management with the proven ability to develop financial strategies to deliver sustainable surpluses and identify new funding opportunities
  • Experience of good governance practice and building effective relationships with a governing body, aligned to a commitment to safeguarding and the promotion of equality and diversity
  • Strong commercial skills to identify and prioritise opportunities to ensure growth, whilst remaining inclusive and supportive of the community the College serves. Ability to conceive and deliver digital strategies, aligned to an overarching business vision
  • A commitment to the values and behaviours associated with the College.

Personal Skills

  • Ability to motivate self and the wider team and to prioritise and act decisively.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills that can be used to engage with a wide range of audiences.
  • Strong analytical, information and problem-solving skills.
  • Communicates orally in a clear, fluent, concise and appropriate way, which holds people’s attention both in groups and in one-to-one situations.
  • Excellent facilitation and negotiation skills and experience of consensus building.
  • High standards of integrity, honesty and professionalism
  • Committed to acting corporately and collaboratively – inside and outside the organisation.
  • Ability to give advice and guidance to help develop the knowledge and skills of team members.
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure, meet deadlines and targets.
  • Pursue diversity policies that raise awareness of the issues and tackle barriers to an inclusive way of working.


  • Work outside of standard hours including evenings and weekends may be required from time to time.
  • Travel between NCATI’s sites in Birmingham and Doncaster, and nationally across NCATI’s stakeholder community, will be required regularly.

Applications for this position are via the website of the recruitment consultant Anderson Quigley – accessible here.

Make An Enquiry.