About the role

Are you passionate about equality of opportunity, and working to support learners make the best decisions about their future? Do you want to work in a collaborative partnership of universities, colleges, schools and other local and regional agencies in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, working with and for learners who otherwise would be most at risk of not realising their potential? Can you develop excellent relationships with other Area Officers designing and delivering programmes as part of a larger team? 

You will join DANCOP (Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Partnership) at an important and exciting time. DANCOP is one of 29 Uni Connect partnerships: funded by the Office for Students. Uni Connect started in 2017, and we have recently entered a new phase of the programme, running until July 2025. To support this new phase and with an expanded remit, now including working with schools to raise attainment, DANCOP has reorganised, and we are looking for three DANCOP Area Officers to join our fourth officer, each covering one of the quadrants of North and South Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

As Area Officer you will be responsible for developing and delivering projects and activities in your designated geographical area, ensuring DANCOP has maximum reach and impact, and that provision is relevant, easily accessible, monitored and evaluated.

DANCOP is committed to embedding good equality and diversity practice into our work and our team, building an inclusive, creative and welcoming place to work, and mirroring the diversity of learners in our region. We positively welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds who are committed to these aims and those of the Uni Connect programme.

These posts are available on a full-time, fixed term basis until 31 July 2025, when the Uni Connect programme is due to end. Whilst the posts are full-time (37 hours), applications are also welcome from candidates wishing to work part-time, with a minimum of 4 days equivalent, 29.6 hours per week. Please specify in your application if you would wish to work part time.

The Area Officers will work to a flexible, hybrid, working pattern. This will include visits and work in your designated area schools, partner institutions etc. You will also have desk space in our suite of offices at the University of Derby and will come onto site to meet and work in person with other team members and colleagues on a regular basis.

DANCOP is a Uni Connect partnership led by the University of Derby, including the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, Chesterfield College, Nottingham College, Derby College Group, Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Buxton & Leek College. 

If you are considering the role please do get in touch so we can answer your questions. Informal enquiries may be addressed to Vicki Spink, Deputy Head of DANCOP at v.spink@derby.ac.uk. 

Principal accountabilities

  • Develop and maintain excellent working relationships with key staff in an agreed portfolio of schools to deliver against their objectives and those of Uni Connect, working with schools to provide easy access to activities, support and interventions from across the range and variety of partners.
  • Design and deliver activities in both schools and strategic outreach settings, that address identified priorities and gaps, complimenting DANCOP partner provision.
  • Develop excellent relationships and work collaboratively with other Area Officers when required to design and deliver as part of a larger team and also with partner outreach teams to co-design and deliver.
  • To work in support of DANCOP Area Managers to deliver to strategic outreach priority groups.
  • Ensure that DANCOP activity is recorded accurately on the East Midlands Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Partnership (EMWPREP) database and/or as agreed.
  • Act as the main point of contact for education providers, partners and other stakeholders in your designated area; dealing with enquiries and solving problems as required.
  • Take responsibility for monitoring the delivery of all DANCOP outreach activities delivered in your designated area, ensuring all specifications are met within the agreed time, budget and quality requirements.
  • In consultation with the Data Evaluation and Impact Manager or Evaluation and Impact Senior Officer work within data protection requirements, ensuring that all data required for evaluation is collected and theories of change are applied to activities.
  • Gain a sound working knowledge of the (EMWPREP) database and data protection legislation including GDPR.
  • Identify need and gaps in delivery, structures and processes and make Area Manager aware to work on recommendations.
  • Use excellent on the ground relationships to quickly problem solve and triage issues across DANCOP, for example data, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Keep up to date with the national widening participation and skills agendas, implementing developments as appropriate.
  • Represent the DANCOP network externally where appropriate and disseminate information to other stakeholders as necessary.
  • Cover for other Area Officers as necessary.
  • Person specification

    Essential Criteria

    Qualifications

  • First degree and experience of working in education
  • Experience

  • Experience in developing and delivering activities and resources to support the progression of people through to Higher Education using a variety of both online and offline platforms as well as in person delivery
  • Skills, knowledge & abilities

  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of widening participation issues, policies and good practice, including barriers to entry to higher education and how to address these
  • Excellent relationship management skills and experience of working in a complex multi-partner environment
  • Well organised and able to meet complex and conflicting deadlines
  • An understanding of and commitment to equality and diversity, working in an inclusive manner, and supporting and encouraging others to do so
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills and an ability to deal with a wide range of stakeholders and people at all levels of an organisation
  • Strong commitment to equality and diversity and the widening of access and participation in higher education
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment as well as independently
  • Knowledge of safeguarding policy and processes in relation to arranging activities for young people
  • Knowledge of data protection
  • Business requirements

  • Hybrid working
  • Ability and willingness to travel efficiently around designated area
  • Desirable Criteria

    Qualifications

  • A CIAG qualification level 5 or above
  • Experience

  • Experience in developing and delivering CIAG and/or attainment raising activities to groups and one to one
  • Experience of delivering project work with and for specific disadvantaged learners e.g. students with disabilities; black and minority ethnic learners
  • Benefits

    As well as competitive pay scales, we offer generous holiday entitlement. We also offer opportunities for further salary progression based on performance, and the opportunity to join a contributory pension scheme.

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