Director Programmes at the British Council


The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. We work in two ways – directly with individuals to transform their lives, and with governments and partners to make a bigger difference for the longer term, creating benefit for millions of people all over the world. We help young people to gain the skills, confidence and connections they are looking for to realise their potential and to participate in strong and inclusive communities.

We support them to learn English, to get a high-quality education and to gain internationally recognised qualifications. Our work in arts and culture stimulates creative expression and exchange and nurtures creative enterprise. We connect the best of the UK with the world and the best of the world with the UK. These connections lead to an understanding of each other’s strengths and of the challenges and values that we share. This builds trust between people in the UK and other nations which endures even when official relations may be strained. We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Director Programmes Nigeria

Location: Abuja
Pay band: Senior Management Broad Band / Senior Managers and Professionals / PB9
Department: Business Delivery
Contract type: Locally Engaged or Locally Enhanced depending on current location of candidate
Duration: 3 Year Fixed Term

Role Purpose

  • At an unprecedented time of change globally, the British Council seeks an experienced Programme Lead to steer their large operation and programmes’ portfolio in Nigeria.
  • The role is accountable for the strategic leadership of British Council Nigeria’s Programmes’ Portfolio and team, which includes: Justice, Conflict & Stability; Arts & Creative Economies; Education, Sills & Enterprise; English for Education Systems; Civil Society; Research and Monitoring & Evaluation.
  • The post holder will enable cost effective delivery of the country strategy, value for money, achievement of impact, income and change management.
  • While accountabilities are broad, in the first year, the role will focus primarily on leading the Justice, Conflict & Stability portfolio. Building on the successes of British Council’s legacy of justice and peacebuilding work in Nigeria, the programmes underway will support stronger, better and more mutually beneficial relationships between government and civil society essential to a stable, inclusive, accountable future for all.

Main Opportunities / Challenges for this Role

  • This role presents considerable opportunities to build upon our track record in delivery of contracts as a trusted partner for both FCDO / HMG and the European Commission. The post holder will grasp the opportunity to create a compelling, impactful and lasting narrative of what the programmes and the British Council has achieved for use with a range of stakeholders and audiences, both internal and external.
  • As the Justice programmes come to a close, it is critical that the British Council leaves behind positive relations with key stakeholders and the European Union.  It is also crucial to ensure a responsible and sustainable exit and transition strategy. Post holder will therefore engage constructively with key stakeholders about the future design of these programmes and ensure knowledge, contacts and experience is shared.
  • The postholder should also spot future opportunities which align with the British Council’s strategic framework.  Some of these opportunities may be directly related to the current portfolio.
  • There will be significant challenges for this role in particular the scale of operations, the rapid pace of change in the market and the challenges of aligning corporate and client expectations. It requires nimble thinking and strong relationship management skills to navigate between the range of stakeholders involved internally and externally.


  • Written, spoken and aural English at graduate level
  • Qualified to Master’s level or equivalent by experience
  • Deep knowledge and experience of development contracts (specifically European Union)
  • Demonstrated experience in client/donor relationship management
  • Credible at providing leadership and engagement at government and institutional level, representing the British Council at high level fora
  • Demonstrable experience of leading large-scale programmes (of value above £15m)
  • Proven experience of leading and managing multisectoral teams
  • Business Development and account management with donors on large scale programmes (e.g. EU, FCDO / DFID, GIZ …)
  • Experience of setting strategic direction for a business, department or region


  • Programme management qualification
  • Senior level management experience in a role leading a geographically dispersed team
  • Experience of working in Nigeria and understanding of the rule of law and justice sectors and / or other priority sectors – Education, Arts & Culture, English, Enterprise

Core Skills:

  • Commercial & Business Development – The candidate will need to shape business & market development with the ability to use a range of market analysis, research and business intelligence to develop and implement activity across a group of diverse products/programmes/services and markets to meet Council objectives.
  • Account & Partnership Development – Post holder will shape strategic relationships and should bring experience of setting overall direction for the formation and management of strategic relationships, collaborations & contracts with stakeholders and partners in a significant market.
  • Finance & Resource Management – Candidate will need to evaluate performance by evaluating resource allocation and use over time, to understand business and service performance and assess future opportunities and constraints.
  • Managing Projects – Successful candidate will assure project standards and needs experience of developing and ensuring the implementation of high-quality project management disciplines across functions and units.
  • Communicating & Influencing – The Director Programmes influences at the highest level and is able to influence and manage relationships to build mutual understanding, shape perceptions of the Council & create positive change over the medium term.
  • Managing Risk – The post holder has a track record of balancing and mitigating risks in strategic and business plans and of providing a clear model of best practice to the business area/function.

Additional Information:

  • Candidates are expected to have researched whether they have the right to live and work in Nigeria.
  • Given that our offices have different legal status depending on the work we do in those countries, we recommend that you contact HR in country for additional information on the likelihood of securing a visa.
  • The post will be based in Abuja, Nigeria with a requirement to travel within the country to our offices and programmes including in fragile states.

Deadline: 18th June, 2021.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

Note: A connected and trusted UK in a more connected and trusted world.

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