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Commonwealth of Learning - Opportunities

Director: Skills

Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada .
full-time . February 28, 2023


Director: Skills, Grade: A2
Reports to: President & Chief Executive Officer
Type of Contract: Fixed Term
Duration: Three years
Direct Reports: Professional Staff in the Skills sector, Programme Coordinator, Consultants

Commonwealth of Learning (COL) helps governments and institutions to expand the scale, efficiency and quality of learning by using new approaches, appropriate technologies and open and distance learning (ODL) methodologies. Headquartered in British Columbia, Canada, COL promotes learning for sustainable development. It is financed by voluntary contributions from Commonwealth Member States.

Job Overview:
The Director: Skills works closely with the President to ensure that COL’s mission of helping Commonwealth governments and institutions to expand the scope, scale and quality of learning at various levels is achieved where COL organises its Programme in two sectors: Education and Skills. The Director provides strategic leadership for the Skills sector by supporting the effective functioning and use of resources, providing direction and support to the different initiatives in the sector, and taking responsibility for innovation and thought leadership in ‘learning for sustainable development’ through the use of appropriate technologies. This includes the strategic development and effective management of this sector in all facets at COL and in relation to CEMCA, COL’s regional office in New Delhi, India.

The Director: Skills has domain expertise in one of the programme initiatives, fosters appreciation of COL and the Commonwealth generally to advance COL’s outcomes and impact and generates financial support for the organisation from member governments as well as additional sources. S/he provides high level evidence-based advice and technical support to Member States, organisations, educational networks and stakeholders. 

Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Leads and directs the Skills sector development and implementation using a results-based management (RBM) framework through detailed planning, effective resource allocation, risk management and monitoring and evaluation, including responsibility for meeting spending targets while achieving quality and value for money.
  • Builds, maintains and enhances relationships with stakeholders, establishing the necessary contacts, networks, protocols and information systems to maintain regular and effective links; promotes and advances the programme and its impact and effectiveness while enhancing awareness of COL’s capacity to assist them in achieving national goals.
  • Initiates, in a timely manner, the planning for and development of strategic plans and annual implementation plans for the Skills sector, working in collaboration with staff and key stakeholders.
  • Focuses the Skills sector on a limited number of high-impact activities that are aligned with COL’s strategy to maximise the relevance of COL’s work to the international development agenda and the aspirations of Member States.
  • Manages sector activities, develop annual budgets and approves sector level contracts and travel.
  • Based on domain expertise, takes the lead responsibility for the implementation of one of the programme initiatives. 
  • Contributes to policy development, planning, management and evaluation of programme and administrative activity at the organisational level.
  • Generates additional resources in support of COL’s programme which is integral to COL’s operations.
  • Assists the President with stakeholder relations and general management of COL as required, including adherence to policies and procedures and strategic risk management.
  • Provides technical advice and appropriate proposals and solutions to ministers, officials, institutions, organisations to requests from Commonwealth governments and institutions for assistance in areas within COL's mandate.
  • Contributes to COL's overall mission and corporate life and represent COL at national and international forums as necessary.
  • Facilitates and mentors staff to set and meet their objectives, assists staff in identifying appropriate training and development opportunities and conducts performance reviews for all direct reports.
  • Performs other duties, as directed.

Qualifications: A PhD level degree in Education, Social Sciences, International Development, Educational Technology or other area relevant to the post.

  • Fifteen years of relevant leadership experience in learning and development with at least five years in a senior position, including implementing strategic plans and building partnerships.
  • Significant management experience in an international setting.
  • Demonstrated experience of mobilising additional resources.
  • Knowledge and experience of educational technology/open and distance learning for development.
Skills and Competencies:
  • Injects originality into daily work through research and personal knowledge while encouraging new ideas and innovations; has the domain expertise to be perceived as a thought leader and a credible interlocutor by COL’s stakeholders and partners.
  • Proven leadership abilities that empower others to translate vision into results, and sound knowledge of results-based management, budgeting principles, governance and accountability.
  • Builds and maintains effective long-term partnerships and networks to achieve organisational goals.
  • Demonstrated capacity to mobilise and utilise financial and other resources efficiently while delivering ‘value for money’.
  • Exemplifies high standards of performance, honesty and integrity which fosters trust and ethical behavior in others.
  • Committed to gender equality by ensuring that: men/boys and women/girls receive targeted attention where they are most marginalised, gender considerations are integrated into programme planning, implementation and gender disaggregated data is available as evidence.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills with strong representational abilities as well as the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, in front of a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Sound judgement and decision-making skills combined with the capability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities and risks.
Personal Attributes:
  • Commitment to COL and its ideals, notably to the role of learning as the key to sustainable development and to the capacity of technology to enhance that role.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a multicultural environment, where integrity and respect for diversity are expected.
  • Demonstrates professionalism through provision of quality services, responsiveness and compliance with organisational policies and procedures. 

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