Vice Principal – Operations
at Glasgow Kelvin College

Take a look at the role…

Welcome and thank you for showing interest in this exciting new post of Vice Principal – Operations.

At Glasgow Kelvin College we work hard to ensure that our programmes are accessible to all, no matter the starting point.  We work within our communities which face a series of challenges and recognise that our provision has to be flexible enough to accommodate all learners.  We want to ensure that everyone has access to the best career opportunities out there where skills, qualifications and experience are all gateways to opportunity.

The COVID–19 virus and its health, social and economic impacts have created a fast-moving crisis whose dynamics change daily. There is no doubt that the challenges this virus has created are unprecedented and may put demands on society not seen for many decades.  Now, more than ever, Glasgow Kelvin College believes in its vision “Transforming lives through education” and in the strength of its shared Ethos.  We need a Vice Principal to join us who shares that vision and can align their personal values with the Ethos and Values of Glasgow Kelvin College.

As a member of a small senior team you will play a leading role in ensuring the College continues to go from strength to strength by providing open access to qualifications, knowledge and skills at the level of excellence demanded by employers, industry and university; by winning prestigious awards for many of our trail-blazing innovations; by making an impact on our local and national economy, enhancing our reputation both nationally and internationally and by becoming a Scottish byword for accessible learning, engagement and a cornerstone of economic and social renewal.

All of these initiatives and successes would not be possible without the talents of our remarkable learners and, of course, the expertise of the committed staff who support them.  As Vice Principal – Operations you will take on a leading role in shaping our journey.

I wish you well with your application

Derek Smeall, Principal and Chief Executive

With a well-earned reputation for high quality accessible learning, Glasgow Kelvin College is the key provider of high quality learning experiences, industry standard vocational skills and relevant skills for life. Our four main campuses sit within the heart of their communities. Many of the communities we serve are some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland. Providing programmes from foundation to advanced level, the College is a centre of excellence in a wide range of skills areas as well as a key provider of employability and enterprise skills.

As one of three Colleges in the Glasgow Region, Glasgow Kelvin College works closely with its sister colleges to ensure a high-quality learner experience, which equips its learners to progress in their working, personal and civic life.

Engaging with its communities, the College works with partners and employers to create and deliver relevant industry-standard programmes and inclusive progression opportunities in a vibrant and sustainable environment. The College also understands the key role of community capacity building and engagement in creating thriving and innovative organisations and businesses.

The College vision is “Transforming lives through education”. Our mission is to “enhance our learners’ aspirations, careers and lives through accessible, inclusive, high quality lifelong learning”.

The College also has six key principles which help to define the character and ethos of the College alongside our vision and mission. These principles also impact the way in which we provide comprehensive and high quality learning.

  • Professionalism – Performing to the highest standards to lead and deliver enterprise, progression and excellence.
  • Integrity – Doing the right thing in an honest, ethical and transparent manner.
  • Creativity – Fostering the development of new ideas and implementing innovative solutions.
  • Being Supportive – Demonstrating a commitment to listening, understanding and appreciating the views, needs and aims of others.
  • Respect – Encouraging working together and investing in College life.
  • Being Participative – Performing to the highest standards to lead and deliver enterprise, progression and excellence.

The College’s strategic aim is to embed excellence, progression and enterprise opportunities for all its learners, within Glasgow and beyond.

Our strategic priorities for 2019 – 2022 emphasise that the College is:

  • Working to develop our learners, communities and curriculum – to deliver an accessible, inclusive, high learner experience for our learners.
  • Working to develop our own skills – to provide a professional learning culture to support, retain and develop our highly skilled, diverse workforce which delivers a high-quality learner experience.
  • Working in partnership – to be the partner of choice for employers and the communities we serve.
  • Working sustainably and collaboratively – to achieve and maintain financial viability.
  • Working responsibly and transparently – to maintain the highest standards of corporate governance and responsibility.

Number and range of learners

With over 18,000 enrolments from 16,282 learners in 2018/19, the College learner population is diverse and dynamic. At the last Student Satisfaction survey, 97% of learners reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their College experience.

70% of learners are from the Glasgow area and the age profile reveals that 54% are aged 25yrs and over. The College’s strong relationship with local secondary schools through its Senior Phase and Youth Access programmes is borne out by the fact that around 16% of learners are aged under 16yrs.

In addition, a reflection of the intrinsic relationship the College has with its local communities is evident from an examination of the learner profile where 58% of learners live in the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods in Scotland.

The latest published College Leaver Destinations report reveals that almost 96.2% of full-time learners progressed to employment or more advanced study in 2018.

Glasgow Kelvin College’s Curriculum Offer

The College ethos focuses on the progression of learners through their learning journey, whatever their starting point. The curriculum, therefore, offers part-time flexible learning from introductory level right through to full-time advanced study linking with degree-level programmes.

The offer is framed around the abilities and aspirations of learners and is driven by the skills needs of a growing economy with vocationally relevant qualifications which align with employment opportunities.

Most mainstream programmes contain a work-experience element. Activities seek to address economic sectors which are of key importance to the city and Glasgow Region:

  • Health and Social Care, Early Years and Childcare
  • Administration, Financial and Business Services
  • Creative and Digital Industries
  • Engineering and Construction
  • Food, Drink, Hospitality and Leisure
  • Life and Chemical Sciences

The majority of qualifications delivered by the College are accredited by Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) from NQ level, through HNC/D, with others accredited by external agencies such as City and Guilds.

There is a significant amount of apprenticeship training provided for people on block release from their employers. In addition, the College works with Skills Development Scotland to deliver Foundation Apprenticeships, Modern Apprenticeships and the new Graduate Apprenticeship.

All College programmes have embedded within them an element of personal development with planned expansion in the delivery of meta-skills to enhance communication, problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills.

A significant proportion of provision is geared towards specific ‘vulnerable’ groups of learners who may require additional support, people with learning disabilities, addiction issues, challenging behaviours or young people who are supported through the local authority (young people with experience of the care system). The College works closely with practitioner partners to ensure a relevant and supportive learning journey for all its learners.

The College also works with community partners to deliver learning to third sector groups, opening up that all-important path back into education for many excluded individuals. A significant proportion of this is provided through the John Wheatley Learning Network, an asset-based approach which supports learning in 44 centres in and around Glasgow, with access to IT resources and tutor-supported classes. Glasgow Kelvin works closely with its partners to ensure the continuing success and expansion of the network which is part-funded by a major housing provider and the local authority.

The College’s journey, due to COVID-19, has been presented with new obstacles and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, however, as we progress, opportunities to adapt and overcome will become more prevalent. At the moment the College follows a national and sometimes global timeline but this does not prevent it from identifying, planning and preparing for a new start, a renewal.  Like many organisations the College is planning, preparing and implementing appropriate actions for when the right opportunities arrive. The College has a Transformation and Renewal Framework which uses a phased approach to support our journey back towards our vision and a vision for health, social equity and a reinvigorated economy.

The College is adopting a systems-based approach, which gives recognition to all of its interrelated and interdependent parts, and their inherent complexities and those of our external partners, authorities and stakeholders, in which distributed leadership will be key. Specifically, collective action will be required, where a number of staff will work independently with their teams but deliver a common aim.  To achieve this College managers, teams and staff exercise delegated authority, where appropriate, and feel confident and empowered to achieve the College’s immediate ambitions.  The College’s approach will allow it to confidently exercise collective responsibility in doing all it can to work within the inevitable constrains which are in place to safeguard public health, wellbeing and to begin to support social and economic recovery.

More information can be found at:

The Video below provides an insight into how the College works in partnership with its local communities…

With overall responsibility for the strategic development and operational success of the corporate functions of Glasgow Kelvin College, the Vice Principal – Operations will ensure the consistent planning and delivery of strategic objectives whilst leading and managing Corporate Services and Administration; Digital Transformation; Estates; Finance; and Human Resources and Organisational Development functions.

Click here to View the Position Profile

Interested candidates should provide a covering letter and a tailored CV to Douglas Adam at [email protected]

All third party applications will be forwarded to Livingston James.

Should you have questions prior to submitting an application please contact Douglas Adam, Head of Public and Not for Profit Practice, at Livingston James on 0131 220 2209.

Recruitment Timetable

Shortlist meeting (Livingston James and Glasgow Kelvin College):  Tuesday 14th July

Final Assessment: Tuesday 21st July*

*Shortlisted candidates will also be asked to undertake a desk-top exercise and have an informal ‘coffee’ discussion with Derek Smeal (Principal) and Robin Ashton (Vice Principal – Learning, Teaching and Skills) on either Friday 17th or Monday 20th July

The recruitment of this position is managed by Livingston James