College Communications Officer - Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Engineering (BCRRE)

United Kingdom
£27,511.00 - £33,797.00
Oct 11, 2019
Nov 09, 2019
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
College Communications Officer - Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Engineering (BCRRE) - 58509

Position Details:

Area: College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Salary: Full time starting salary is normally in the range £27,511 to £30,046, with potential progression once in post to £33,797

Hours: Full time

Duration: Permanent

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Closing Date: 27 October 2019

Job Summary

This key role will shape and lead the communications and stakeholder engagement strategy for the world- leading Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE). It is an exciting time for BCRRE with our growing global reputation and new developments including a major hub in the new School of Engineering. The postholder will be a communications expert, experienced in delivering activities and projects in busy, dynamic environments. They will be able to immerse themselves in the rail sector and will have a detailed understanding of the key players and trends.

BCRRE has ambitious growth plans and targets. It is part of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN). The Communications Officer will have the energy and enthusiasm to drive forwards the strategic plans, taking ownership and using their expertise. They will have the skills and confidence to interact with senior corporate partners, government officials and academics. They will be able to take a Business to Business (B2B) approach where required and have experience of delivering stakeholder engagement with success measured against agreed objectives.

The Communications Officer will develop dynamic plans using their in-depth knowledge of communications methods and will lead on activities. These will range from producing high quality collateral to organising attendance at national conferences and overseas events. They will be able to digest detailed industry reports and translate complex information into compelling communications. The role requires a proactive, hands-on approach. The postholder will ensure activities align with the Centre's priorities and will have an exceptional track record of delivering against KPIs and KPTs in large multi-agency projects. They will have experience managing an annual budget and external agencies.

Using their experience of PR and media relations, the Communications Officer will maximise coverage in relevant online and offline media. They will be skilled at writing for trade press and will liaise with the University's media team to promote activities, projects, results and research impact. Taking a broad view of the industry, they will be able to identify areas where the Centre can exert influence on policy, both in the UK and internationally, engaging decision makers.

They will act as brand champion, and will develop new key messages.

A tenacious self-starter, the postholder will currently be working in a communications or business development/engagement role and have strong experience on an international scale. They will be able to work on their own initiative and also collaborate effectively with internal and external stakeholders. Working with the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences' Marketing and Communications team, the postholder will ensure the Centre's activities are complementary to wider College and institutional strategies and priorities.

Main Duties

Developing relationships:

• Build an effective and co-ordinated working relationship with the senior team at the Centre, the Marketing and Communications team in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the University

• Establish a working relationship and channels for collaboration with the stakeholder marcomms teams

• Work with the Centre's senior team to engage stakeholders in industry, politics and relevant agencies, and the wider research community

• Build relationships with internal stakeholders at the University of Birmingham

Strategic Thinking and Perspective:

• Work with the senior team to shape the strategic direction of the Centre

• Deliver a communications and engagement strategy and action plan, in collaboration with the Centre team and College comms team that ensures profile for the Centre, the academics and their research

• Ensure the Centre's key communications and engagement priorities and activities align to overall College and University strategies

• Horizon scan for strategic opportunities for the Centre

• Negotiate and collaborate to ensure delivery from colleagues to meet Centre targets

• Understand and keep up to date with current affairs, relevant policy and legislation and proactively identify opportunities to communicate Centre activities to key external stakeholders

• With the Centre team, identify areas for policy influence and develop engagement opportunities

Develop and implement a communications and engagement strategy:

• Develop and implement a strategic plan with appropriate KPIs that uses a range of methods for communication of news, events and research impact and engagement with stakeholders. This will involve multiple online and physical channels, and present a joined-up approach, tying in with overall College Communications;

• Manage budget and resource allocation to deliver the strategic plan

• Maintain a database of relevant internal and external stakeholders for the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) and UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), and integrating these contacts into the marketing and communications plans.

• Developing high quality communication materials, and building on the existing on-line presence for both educational offerings and research impact

• Responding to central communication initiatives and ensuring any central changes are reflected on Centre pages as relevant and appropriate

• Respond to ad-hoc requests for strategically important communications activities, and advise and implement their delivery

• Redevelop the brand identity with the College team

• Encourage engagement and growth of media coverage of the Centre's academic colleagues, working with the University Media Relations team

• Work with College Marketing and Communications team to develop the Centre's online presence, produce high quality, engaging content that is optimised for search and regularly updated

• With the Centre team, design and deliver a series of communications and engagement events, measuring outcomes against KPIs

• Be an able and willing internal and external ambassador for the Centre and University who can use external networks for the Centre's benefit; often acting independently on behalf of the Centre

• Express complex ideas coherently through a variety of media to individual and occasionally large and challenging audiences

• Agree benchmarking metrics in relation to communications including interaction, frequency and impact

• Use analysis to provide suggestions for improvements and adaptation of strategy and activities

• Analyse specific online campaigns relating to research, events or reputational activities, and determine success and return on investment

• Develop processes whereby activity is reviewed and improved upon

• Produce reports for the Centre Director and the College Communications team

• Proactively commission and co-produce videos, in collaboration with other colleagues in the College Marketing and Communications team

Support the running of BCRRE-related events. This may include:

• Events for students, staff, industrial bodies and overseas delegations. These may be on or off campus;

• Producing invitation communications and developing registration processes;

• Producing bespoke literature and marketing collateral for use at events, including PowerPoint presentations and writing speeches for senior management;

• Managing logistics around room booking, catering, audio-visual requirements etc.;

• Obtaining feedback and producing reports and post-event communications;

• Proactively seeking ways of improving event management.

Collaborating with people

• Have the credibility to gain and retain the confidence of colleagues across the Centre, its partners, stakeholders and the University

• Maintain energy and enthusiasm in pursuit of the Centre's objectives and encourage this approach in others

• Remain visible and accessible, empathetic, open, approachable and encouraging to others

• Commission, brief and manage delivery from outside resources where required for activities such as copywriting and production of collateral

• Advise and negotiate with senior management

Understanding of context

• Understand the railway industry on a global scale and in the UK context

• Appreciate the importance of the University and its partners in relation to the Centre

• Understand the breadth of work and priorities of the Centre

Performance and Resource Management

• Ensure that the best possible professional service is delivered to the Centre and the University

• Maintain detailed records on the CRM database

• Demonstrate a high level of awareness of own impact and modify behaviour accordingly

• Listen and respond constructively to the realities and needs of others by using a range of communication skills and strategies

Taking an active role in the wider College Marketing and Communications team:

• Support the Head of Marketing and Communications and the College Communications Manager's broader projects, publications and events

• Work with the College team in other ways to the mutual benefit of both the College and specific areas of railway research

Person Specification

Communications, Events and Marketing

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including effective copywriting

• Experience of devising and delivering multi-channel strategic communications plans

• Event management experience, involving internal and external stakeholders

• An empathy with, and understanding of, the worlds of academia and industry plus the ability to match motivations

• The ability to confidently represent the Centre at senior level to prominent and influential individuals with diplomacy and authority

Leading People

• Empathetic and attuned to others and able to modify approaches according to situations

• Able to deal constructively with conflict to reach a workable consensus and delivery of agreed objectives

• Personal confidence, independence and determination to succeed as an individual and as part of a team

• A proven ability to remain positive, adaptable and flexible when dealing with change and uncertainty

• Proven experience of the ability to deliver individual and team goals in a changing environment

• Experience in maximising and managing the performance of others

• Demonstrate experience of working collaboratively with others to deliver goals within an agreed timescale

Performance and Resource Management

• Thorough knowledge of budgeting management, business planning and resource allocation

• Demonstrable experience of actively managing programmes of work to achieve targets, milestones and contracted outputs within agreed deadlines and the ability to encourage others to do the same

Strategic Thinking and Perspective

• The proven ability to identify and seize opportunities

• Understanding of the vision and strategic priorities of the Centre, its partners, stakeholders and the University of Birmingham

• An understanding and ideally direct experience of the challenges faced by academics


• Strong sense of professional integrity

• Educated to degree level or equivalent, and substantial experience in a communications or engagement role

• Experience of managing events

• Confidence in leading large scale, multi-agency projects

• Experience of working in a large and complex organisation

• Strong understanding of the railway research and industry landscape along with the HE environment

• Ability to prioritise own work under pressure

• Good all-round IT skills

• Confidence in digital marketing tactics and social media

• The ability to work with initiative, to take decisions and solve problems by thinking creatively and laterally

• The ability to work effectively both in a team and independently and to remain cheerful in times of pressure

• The flexibility to work unsociable hours (evenings and weekends) when required

• The determination to constantly exhibit the agreed values and behaviours of the University

Informal enquiries can be made to Danann Swanton;

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community

Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

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