Open vacancy: Director of the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education

Application closing date: 31 May 2024, 23.59 CEST

Would you relish the role of leading a unique European organisation that is a main player in the field of special needs and inclusive education? Are you committed to ensuring every learner’s right to inclusive and equitable educational opportunities? Are you eager to support the development of inclusive education systems? If so, perhaps you could be the next Director of the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education (the Agency).

We are seeking a new Agency Director, as our current Director plans to retire.

The Agency is maintained by its member countries with the specific mission of helping them to improve the quality and effectiveness of their inclusive education systems. Our vision for inclusive education systems is that all learners of any age are provided with meaningful, high-quality educational opportunities in their local community, alongside their friends and peers. This vision is the focal point and inspiration for our work.

Our new Director must share our vision. They should be passionate about taking forward and further developing the Agency, and our work for and with our member countries. They must be dedicated to enhancing our co-operation with other key European and international bodies and organisations, and to strengthening our position within the inclusive education field.

About us

The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education was established in 1996 by agreement between the Ministers of Education in its member countries. The Agency is a permanent network of ministerial representatives and acts as a platform for collaboration for its 31 member countries (covering 36 jurisdictions). Our member countries decide upon the specific priorities that we focus on within the framework of our multi-annual work programmes.

We are funded by our member countries’ ministries of education and supported by the institutions of the European Union (EU). We receive an operating grant via the Jean Monnet Actions of the EU Erasmus+ programme.

Our work focuses on supporting the development of inclusive education systems to ensure every learner’s right to inclusive and equitable educational opportunities, as described in our Position Paper.

The Agency comprises a dedicated international team of over 30 team members and consultants from more than 10 different European countries. Together, we work with and for member country representatives to provide a unique platform for their collaboration in the field of inclusive education. The Agency Secretariat is in Odense, Denmark, and we have a centre of operations in Brussels, Belgium.

More information on the Agency’s work can be found on our website: www.european-agency.org.

The Director’s responsibilities

The Director is responsible for guiding all aspects of Agency work, including its overall management and day-to-day operations.

Co-operating closely with the Management Board, the Director is responsible for providing strategic vision, intellectual and operational leadership and ensuring efficient resource mobilisation so that the Agency’s agreed multi-annual work programme is effectively implemented.

It is the Director’s responsibility to ensure that the member countries’ shared ultimate vision for inclusive education systems is effectively communicated and understood as the focal point of all Agency work.

Looking ahead, the Director is responsible for developing a shared understanding of a future vision for the Agency’s work and for laying the foundation to develop an ambitious new multi-annual work programme to be implemented from 2028 onwards.

Ideal candidate profile

The ideal candidate should be able to demonstrate and provide documented experience within all or most of the below areas of expertise:

Leadership and management skills

The ideal candidate should have recognised leadership experience (minimum 5 years).

They should have the capacity to guide and motivate team members, demonstrating a high degree of objectivity and professional integrity. The candidate should have the ability to build trust and to manage, lead and motivate a large and diverse body of team members in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

They should show the ability to develop personal and professional relationships that empower all others to achieve their collective and individual goals and objectives.

They should be able to administer and manage financial and human resources, exercise sound judgement and decision-making as well as have strong skills within executive leadership and effective communication.

Visionary and strategic skills

The ideal candidate should have proven organisational and analytical skills and be able to demonstrate strategic planning, programme and activity management skills. This includes the ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities and risks.

They should be able to develop and/or create and communicate a shared vision and strategy.

Networking skills

The ideal candidate should demonstrate previous experience in building collaborative partnerships and networks. This includes taking the lead in networking, representation exchanges and negotiations with political awareness, diplomacy and tact.

International experience

The candidate is expected to have experience of working in an international environment (minimum 5 years). This could be relevant experience of working with and/or for the European Union institutions, or an international organisation.

They should also have the ability to manage EU and other international projects.

Knowledge of inclusive education

The ideal candidate is expected to have a broad knowledge of the state of the art in education (policies, practices and research) within European and international contexts. This includes detailed insights into developments around inclusive education and how special education policy and practice debates should be embedded within wider inclusion agendas.

A PhD in educational sciences or a related discipline is a plus.

Other requirements

Language: The Agency’s working language is English. An excellent command of written and spoken English is essential.

Residence: The Director must be resident within the European Union or an Agency member country.

Travel: The Agency’s work is to a large degree blended, with online and in-person meetings. Regular travel to European countries is expected.

Practicalities

More information about working for the Agency (salary, location of work, etc.) can be found in the ‘Contract Arrangements’ section of the Agency Director advertisement file below.

How to apply

Please email a curriculum vitae, detailing your relevant experience and qualifications, and an application letter, outlining your reasons for applying for the position, to the Agency Chair, Mr Don Mahon: HR@european-agency.org.

The deadline for receiving applications is Friday 31 May 2024, 23.59 CEST.

If you have questions about the position, please email HR@european-agency.org.

Selection and recruitment process

All applications are screened based on the criteria for the position.

Online pre-screening interviews will be conducted on 14 and 17 June 2024.

Potential in-person interviews are scheduled to take place in Brussels on 24–26 June (first round) and 1–2 July (second round).

Diversity

The European Agency is an equal-opportunity employer and welcomes the applications of all qualified candidates, irrespective of their racial or ethnic origin, opinions or beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, health, or disabilities.

Your personal data

During recruitment, your personal data is collected, stored and used only to facilitate the recruitment process. All data will be deleted as soon as the recruitment process has been finalised, unless you are contracted by the Agency.

If you have questions about how your personal data is handled, please contact the Agency Personal Data Protection Group: privacy@european-agency.org.

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