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Fort William

Vice Principal Finance and Corporate Services

Collaboration - Openness - Respect - Excellence

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the executive leadership team of West Highland College UHI.  Established in 2010, it may be one of Scotland’s newest colleges, but it has rapidly established itself as one of Scotland’s highest performing colleges, serving rural communities in Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross. . , As an Academic Partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands, the college offers a wide range of further and higher education courses, from entry through to post-graduate level, attracting over 3000 learners each year. The college is at a decisive point of taking major expansion plans forward in support of economic growth in Lochaber and the West Highlands, and which form part of the regional development strategy for the University of the Highlands and Islands.

We are seeking to appoint a Vice Principal of Finance and Corporate Services to support our Principal and Chief Executive in leading our financial and business strategies and to support the college’s growth at this crucial juncture of its development.

West Highland College UHI’s operation is unique in that the college has no single, central campus. We operate through 10 networked college centres in Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, with the largest centre in Fort William. Firmly rooted in the communities of the West Highlands, we utilise state-of-the-art technology to reach learners living in some of the most remote areas of Scotland; however, we are also increasingly successful in attracting learners from the UK, Europe and overseas, in particular attracting learners to our unique Adventure portfolio of courses in our School of Adventure Studies.

The College has built significant capacity over the last five years, and is moving into its next phase of corporate development, with a number of exciting projects planned. This includes a new state-of-the-art technology centre in Fort William to support skills and workforce requirements for Science, Technology, Health and Engineering in the West Highlands, driven by a rapidly growing local economy and local masterplans.

This is a unique opportunity to contribute to West Highland College UHI’s successful expansion at a senior executive level, whilst living and working in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and naturally wild landscapes in the UK, with all the benefits of this position being located in Fort William, the Outdoor Capital of the UK.  We strive to have transformational impact on the development and prospects of this region, its people and its communities, contributing directly to the sustainable economic, social and cultural life of our area and to be an inspiration for all those who want to live, learn and work in such an outstanding place. We know we make a difference. We would like you to join us to help us build capacity to go further yet.

Reporting to the Principal and Chief Executive, the Vice Principal Finance and Corporate Services will ensure the provision of Corporate and Financial Services to enable the effective and efficient management of the College; support the college in developing  its commercial and corporate strategies; manage operational activity and the effective running of systems, procedures and staff teams to provide a customer focused service for internal and external users of these services; provide a professional advisory role to the College’s Board and its committees on financial and corporate matters.  You will:

  • Assist the Principal and Chief Executive in the corporate development of the college, contributing to strategic and operational planning, and participating as a member of the executive leadership team in the College’s leadership and direction.
  • Provide strategic leadership and management that ensures the college achieves annual financial goals and remains financially viable.
  • Provide strategic leadership and effective management for Finance, Estates, Marketing, BEST & Work-based learning teams
  • Provide professional advice to the Board to ensure provision of sound financial information and analysis of financial risk.
  • Ensure that the KPIs as set out in the Annual Business Plans for key areas of responsibility are met or exceeded, and budgets are achieved or improved upon in those areas
  • Lead on Health & Safety matters, ensuring awareness, promotion, and compliance are maintained to a high standard.
  • Provide corporate leadership to  strategic estates projects and fulfil the role of Project Sponsor as directed by the Principal
  • Support the Principal and Chief Executive in developing the college response to, and implementation of, National Bargaining.
  • Lead and co-ordinate the college approach to data protection (GDPR) to ensure compliance.
  • Contribute as an executive leader towards the achievement of Excellence for All in West Highland College UHI.

The successful candidate will be educated to degree level, and be a fully qualified accountant with significant experience of financial management in a complex corporate environment. While not essential, experience and knowledge of further or higher education would be an advantage, with experience of presenting to a Board of Directors.

This is has a key leadership and management role within the college. The post holder has a major interface with external partners and agencies but also works collaboratively with internal teams across multiple locations, other managers and many other college staff on finance, facilities and budget related matters and initiatives. Evidence of excellent leadership, communication and management skills, as well as proven approach to developing effective teams are key to this role.

For further information on the role, please visit: or for a confidential discussion please contact Debbie Shields or Andrew Thomson at Aspen People on 0141 212 7555.

Closing date for applications: 16th November 2018

Interviews date: 23rd November 2018

If you do not receive an automatic acknowledgement please contact Antonia Davidson on 0141 212 7555.

HOW TO APPLY: Please complete the short form below and attach your CV and cover letter

How to Apply

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