HR Project Manager – Resourcing and Organisational Capability

Jodrell Bank Observatory, Manchester
£45k – 50k plus benefits
05 Jul 2018
31 Jul 2018
Job Type
HR Manager
Contract Type
Full Time

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a global project to build a multi-purpose radio telescope observatory that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology. It will be one of a small number of cornerstone observatories around the world that will provide astrophysicists and cosmologists with a transformational view of the Universe. The SKA will be constructed in two distinct phases. Among the major science goals for the first phase, SKA1, will be to study the history and role of neutral Hydrogen in the Universe from the dark ages to the present-day, and to employ pulsars as probes of fundamental physics.

SKA Organisation was incorporated as a UK company in December 2011 to co-ordinate global design activities in the ‘Pre-Construction’ phase of the project. The company leads the SKA system design and oversees the detailed design being undertaken by globally distributed design consortia. Design work packages for the major SKA subsystems have been contracted to a small number of consortia who are responsible for the management, execution and delivery of the work packages.

Ten governments are now participating in the project, with others engaged in discussions regarding possible membership. SKA Organisation is permanently headquartered in a purpose-built building at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK.

Negotiations are currently underway between the governments of SKA member countries with the aim of establishing the SKA as an Inter-Governmental Organisation (IGO) governed by a Convention; the organisation will be called the SKA Observatory. It is expected that these negotiations will be concluded in 2018 with the IGO expected to be established towards the end of 2019.

The Role

Ahead of the establishment of the IGO, the HR function has some considerable work to do in order to develop the HR approach for the future IGO and manage the associated transition. There is a need for an experienced HR professional with specialisms in Resourcing and Organisational Capability to work with the Head of HR to lead the HR workstream responsible for ensuring the organisation is appropriately resourced and equipped with the right skills, capabilities and frameworks to meet the current and future IGO needs, whilst reflecting the international nature of the project.

Key Duties, Accountabilities and Responsibilities

  • Lead the resourcing and organisational capability workstream of the HR transition plan, providing robust project management of all activities within the workstream
  • Manage strategic and tactical resource planning
  • Develop a compelling, segmented international attraction strategy to enable us to attract diverse applications from the best scientists, engineers, technical and support staff
  • Management of recruitment campaigns, from inception to offer, adopting best practice techniques to ensure the most effective recruitment and engagement of new staff whilst maintaining a positive employment brand more broadly across the international scientific and technical community
  • Work with the Head of HR to develop a compelling employee value proposition
  • Define robust capability and competency framework with associated resourcing standards
  • Development of future performance management approach and management of the current approach though business as usual activity
  • Work with the Head of HR to develop and manage the talent, learning and development proposition and associated curriculum
  • Management of training across the organisation, including budgetary management
  • To work with the H&S manager to ensure the adequate delivery of health and safety training
  • To develop and own a business continuity plan to ensure access to sufficient skills and capabilities required to deliver the business plan, either through existing staff, secondees or other sources
  • As process owner to work with the ERP implementation team to ensure all associated HR process and workflows are aligned

Mandatory Qualifications, Experience and Knowledge:

  • Strength and depth in resource planning, candidate attraction and experience of managing both local and international recruitment for all levels and roles in the organisation
  • Experience of developing robust recruitment standards, aligned to the requirements of different levels and job families
  • Experience of developing competency frameworks and capability development strategies including mentoring
  • Knowledge and experience of implementing performance management practices that grow organisational capability and enable high performance
  • Experience in developing and managing HR projects, including reporting and management of risks and issues
  • Experience of working collaboratively in a multi-cultural, multi-national environment
  • CIPD qualified (or equivalent) with recognised university degree-level education or equivalent
  • Good English, oral and written communication skills
  • Able to work proactively, work at pace and get things done through effective planning and organisation
  • Demonstrable ability to build relationships across boundaries
  • Strong learning agility. The transition to an IGO may require different thinking and ways of working. The successful candidate will be able to translate knowledge and experience from other organisations, consider best practice elsewhere and be able to adapt these to meet the very specific needs of a future IGO

Desirable Qualifications, Experience and Knowledge:

  • Experience of working with IGOs
  • Trained in psychometrics to level B

In addition, it should be noted that we are a small team, with a big agenda. The successful candidate should be prepared to take a hands on approach, be prepared to flex workload to support other team members where required and undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the Head of HR or other members of SKA Organisation Senior Leadership Team.

For more information on the SKA project visit The SKA Organisation offers a competitive salary and a generous company pension scheme. The successful applicant’s workplace will be located at the SKA Office’s headquarters at Jodrell Bank.

How to apply:

Please send a CV and covering letter, including details of your current remuneration, to, quoting reference HRPM/01. Applications should include:

  • A summary of significant accomplishments and project experience, detailing how you meet the mandatory and desirable qualifications, experience and knowledge criteria;
  • The names of at least three professional referees, at least one of whom must be your current employer (or most recent employer if not working); and
  • Details of your current (or most recent) remuneration package.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 31stJuly 2018.

Equal Opportunities Statement

SKA Organisation is committed to being an equal opportunities employer. Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or nationality.

At all stages of the recruitment process and beyond, we strive to treat applicants and employees with a high standard of care, honesty and politeness.

Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Organisation welcomes and encourages female applicants.

Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided. If you need equipment or adjustments to enable you to complete your application and/or attend an interview, then please let us know.

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