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Exec Lead for Skills (0.6) – Maternity Cover

We are looking for someone to lead and champion the development of a transformative initiative to upskill 1m designers in green skills by 2030.  

This important programme dovetails with our legacy ambition for the World Design Congress which we are hosting in London in September 2025. 

The role will work alongside and support the Head of Knowledge, whose team will drive the initiative: both working with our new Expert Network to develop a Green Design Skills Framework setting out skills required from the school to the studio, and working with partners and industry to develop a funded mechanism for upskilling 1m designers, and Government policy that supports it.  

People within the team include the Head, three Senior Programme  Managers covering Skills, Research and Policy, a Programme Manager and a Coordinator.  The skills work is a cross-organisational priority, and will involve working collaboratively with all teams, particularly the Partnerships team.

The role will report into the Chief Executive.

This is covering an important element of the Chief Design Officer’s role during her parental leave from August 2024 – April 2025. 

About the role

The role includes the following responsibilities:

  • To visibly provide senior leadership to and champion the cross-industry partnership around upskilling 1m designers in green skills by 2030. This includes: providing a coherent green design skills message and political ask; focusing the funded intervention on upskilling practicing designers and catalysing other sector organisations and industry partners to take their own action within the alliance 
  • Cultivate and secure relationships with senior Government champions to develop supportive policy and resources for the intervention. 
  • Bring strong design leadership and stakeholder management experience to support the Head of Knowledge and team to co-design the upskilling intervention. 
  • Develop strong cross-industry partnerships and funding in the region of £3m+ for the large upskilling intervention
  • Develop and implement an offer for the design industry to commit to upskilling as part of the World Design Congress movement. 
  • Participate in Design for Planet festival '24 in Manchester (November) and other key events to build the skills campaign leading up to Congress.

Skills & Experience

  • You will be an experienced and senior design leader, with fantastic experience in building design skills and frameworks in organisations or sectors.
  • Specifically, have a passion for our Design for Planet mission, and an understanding of how design skills need to catalyse the green transition.
  • Brilliant at stakeholder engagement and inspiring people to work powerfully together to an ambitious common mission.
  • Experience of dealing with politicians, Government and influencing policy.
  • Understand the design education landscape and be well connected into key organisations including universities and industry educators.
  • Track record of identifying and securing large funding partnerships.
  • A people-person, able to draw out the best of others and deliver goals recognising the team’s talents, aspirations and resources.
  • Drive and energy to achieve goals, making the most out of resources and enthusiasm available across the industry.

Our values and behaviours

  • Boundless Curiosity. Dynamic scoping of new ideas and best working practices to create and demonstrate impact. 
  • Inspire Possibility. Brilliant team and project leadership so we clearly communicate the value and impact of design. 
  • Powerful Together. Role modelling how to get the best out of everyone so we all maximise our contribution to Design for Planet.

Corporate responsibilities

  • Proactively identify and manage risks and financial controls in relation to the Design Council and your specific area of responsibility.
  • Comply with the Design Council’s operational policies and procedures including financial and risk management, project management and evaluation processes, brand guidelines, GDPR, information security and internal health and safety policy.


Please submit your application by 9 June 2024.


Download the candidate pack

Please email Ishbel Allotey, HR Manager if you have questions about the role.

The Design Council is fully committed to being a diverse and inclusive organisation.  We welcome applications from everyone who meets the criteria.  If you need any additional support, please do send in an early alert to our email address below.​


  • Salary: £54,000 3 days per week (£90,000 FTE)
  • Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer
  • Contract: 9 month fixed term (maternity leave)
  • Closing date: 9 June 2024