Trustee – Higher Education Background
Country / Territory
Based in UK: Location negotiable
Based in UK: Location negotiable
Board of Trustees
Job Category
Pay Band
Vacancy Description
Location: Travel to London for Meetings Contract: Unremunerated with reasonable expenses reimbursed Requirements: Candidates must have the right to work in the UK Closing date and time: 15th November

Please note that in December 2020, the British Council will relocate its new global headquarters to: International Quarter, Stratford, London E20.


About the British Council’s Trustees


We are the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.  We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.


The Board of Trustees consists of 15 people who bring varied backgrounds and experience to working for the world’s leading authority in cultural relations – and one of the UK’s internationally best-known institutions.  


The Trustees delegate responsibility for the management of the British Council to the Chief Executive and Senior Leadership Team and they agree the Corporate Plan and the Annual Accounts. They are critical friends who are all experts in one or two relevant areas which are core to our mission – in this case Higher Education. But they also contribute their insights and advice to the many issues we face as an organisation with a £1.3bn turnover and 12,000 staff in 114 countries worldwide running programmes that reach 80 million people a year face to face and connect the UK with over 700 million people in total.


Your opportunity – to help shape better quality education for everyone, everywhere


Education has been at the core of our mission since we began. Our earliest programmes in the thirties placed lecturers in universities across Europe, the Middle East and Latin America to support better teaching.


Today one in five people choosing to study in the UK from overseas say that their decision was influenced by the British Council. Our staff are networked up to ministerial level in ministries of education in most of the countries where we operate. And we use those connections in close partnership with the education sector in the UK, the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as with DIT, DfE, BEIS and DFID, to grow international engagement for literally thousands of education institutions across the UK. 


Governments and institutions worldwide are looking to the UK for partnerships and policies to improve their education systems – and the UK in turn has much to learn from innovation elsewhere in world. We are offering you the opportunity to help us shape this dialogue and ensure that the UK maintains and grows its international connections and leadership in Higher Education in ways which support both social and economic development and international cooperation, trust and understanding.


What you will bring to the role


You will be a thought leader who has contributed to Higher Education policy and practice and is networked across the education sector in the UK and internationally. You will be a regular contributor to conferences and fora and well connected with senior practitioners globally up to ministerial level.


You will have led and managed a major, complex higher educational institution. You will be expert at developing and evaluating strategy. You will have the skills to identify the issues that matter and contribute to their resolution with subject knowledge, emotional intelligence and the ability to ask difficult questions and analyse data.


All of this will enable you to hold the Executive of the British Council responsible for delivering its objectives to a wide variety of audiences – including the sector in the UK – in a constantly shifting geo-political and competitor landscape, while ensuring we demonstrate strong value for money.


The organisation’s performance, corporate behaviour and legal, regulatory and financial requirements all fall within the remit of the Trustees. The governance issues are uniquely challenging. We are a charity, a major business and a non-departmental public body. This means we are constantly in the public eye and our corporate governance must be of the highest standard.


So, you will not only bring to the Board a passionate belief in our mission and a commitment to teamwork, curiosity and positivity, but you will also possess the highest standards of personal integrity and the ability to live our values. You will be comfortable with – and able to add value to – our mixed economy model of commercial and charitable activities.


But most of all, you will share our desire to help people all over the world get a great education that will help them to thrive in a better world for everyone. 


Would you like to apply for the role?


If you would like to learn more about this post, then please see the documents below:


HE Trustee Role Profile.docx
British Council Behaviours.pdf
British Council Skills.pdf


If you are interested in the post and feel that you are suitable for the role, then we would really like to hear from you. Please apply by 15th November by emailing your CV and a cover letter to Selection for this role will be by Panel interview and the Panel will be held on 6th December in London.


Our Equality commitment


The British Council is committed to equality and encourages applications from people of all backgrounds but particularly welcomes applications from candidates from under-represented groups as we are keen to diversify the make-up of the board. 

 Valuing diversity is essential to the British Council’s work. We aim to abide by and promote equality legislation by following both the letter and the spirit of it to try and avoid unjustified discrimination, recognising discrimination as a barrier to equality of opportunity, inclusion and human rights.  All staff worldwide are required to ensure their behaviour is consistent with our policies.