Head of Student Experience and Wellbeing

Contract Type: 
Full time
Application deadline: 
Tuesday, 21 June, 2022 - 13:30
Salary Scale
Per Annum
Northumbria Students' Union

Thank you for your interest in the post of Head of Student Experience and Wellbeing at Northumbria Students’ Union.

This role offers the successful candidate an amazing opportunity to be part of an innovative, award-winning charity which seeks to have the highest standards of service required to be one of the country’s leading Students’ Unions.

The Union is Silver Investors in People. Our most recent report this February said

  • 99% of people believe that the organisation has clear values.
  • 98% say that the Union is a great place to work.
  • 97% of people trust the leaders of the organisation
  • 94% of people believe they are trusted to make decisions in their role.

We are committed to being an inclusive and diverse organisation and welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds and particularly encourage applicants from ethnic minorities and those whose background and perspective will help the Union better understand and represent students from underrepresented or marginalised communities. 

We have a range of policies that support staff with work/life balance, personal development and their long-term health.

About Northumbria Students’ Union

Northumbria Students’ Union is a vital part of the student experience at Northumbria University. We are independent from the University, a registered company and charity and comply with best practice financial reporting for both regulators.

When a student registers with Northumbria University, they automatically become a member of the Union.  There are currently over 40,000 members around the world, with the majority studying in the city of Newcastle.

The extra-curricular activities the Union offers are an important part of life at University. They build a sense of community and affiliation to the University which enables students to gain friendships that support them through University and last well beyond, they improve wellbeing of students and have positive impact on attainment and achievement.

The Union supports over 100 societies a year and aims to have 15% of the student population engaged in a society. Our societies cover a wide range of activities from sports to volunteering and charitable to academic to special interest. While the Union does not oversee competitive sports which sits with the University, we work closely with Team Northumbria to ensure a rich programme of opportunities is available to all students.

Student health and safety is crucial to our work and ensuring that all society and student activities take place in a culture of robust health and safety that does not restrict opportunities for fun and innovation.

Alongside our societies the Union delivers a range of wellbeing focused services. Core to this is mental health first aid training, active bystander training and our peer-to-peer support as well as campaigns. Our work complements that of the University and we work closely to ensure students in need can easily be referred to and engage the services they need.

The Student Experience and Wellbeing team sits as one of our teams within the Union; Marketing, Education and Operations. Each is led by a Head of, who reports to the Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

The successful candidate will join the Union’s team of professional managers who implement policies, undertake the strategic and day-to-day management of the organisation and its staff. The Union employs over 170 staff at the busiest time of the year and employs a core of around 60 people on a year-round basis.

About the role

The role is newly created in the organisation.

The core of the role is to drive the Union’s ambitions for the provision of an exciting and fulfilling range of extracurricular activities for students at Northumbria to support our goal of building communities on and off campuses. As part of this the successful applicant will also manage our Wellbeing and Resilience team. Student Wellbeing is core to our charitable purposes and corporate plan.

In addition, the postholder will lead on engagement with our satellite campuses. This may involve replicating services such as societies or working in partnership with the University’s partner to organise a programme of social activities in London and Amsterdam. This will involve other teams such as Education to ensure students receive comparable experiences whatever their location.

Student experience offers volunteering opportunities, such as committee membership, which can have significant benefits for student personal development and future employability. The Head of Student Experience will work closely with the Head of Education to ensure high take up of our volunteer recognition scheme across societies and volunteers.

The Head of Education is a member of the operational management team, led by the Deputy CEO. This team leads on the annual planning cycle, setting targets for three balanced scorecards which set out the step changes and improvements the Union will undertake to achieve its headline Key Performance Indicators and Strategic Goals.

  1. Education
  2. Activity inside the Union
  3. Activity outside the Union including satellite campuses

The Head of Student Experience will build relationships with University staff to the benefit of student groups and to organise joint events and activities, in particular celebrating cultural events. Together with the Deputy CEO, the postholder will work closely with University sport to ensure students can access the widest range of opportunities.

While societies are student led, students expect high levels of customer care and service. The Head of will ensure our offer to societies, from room bookings to grants, meets these expectations and that societies have a culture of in turn delivering high standards of experience to their members.

The Head of will work closely with all the Sabbatical team particularly the Vice Presidents Activities and Sport in achieving their manifestos and ensuring our services are student led.

This is a very exciting time to be part of this dynamic and unique organisation. For further information about the Union visit www.mynsu.co.uk.

Employee Benefits of working for Northumbria Students’ Union

  • 25 days’ annual leave, increased to 30 after 5 years’ service
  • Christmas closure and public holidays in addition to annual leave
  • 2 days’ volunteer leave per annum
  • Enhanced maternity, paternity, shared leave and adoption policies
  • Hybrid working
  • Pension scheme – up to a 4% matched contribution
  • Public Transport corporate payment scheme

This discount scheme allows staff to access all forms of annual public transport through a net salary deduction over a ten-month deduction period

  • University Car Park payment scheme
  • Cycle to work Scheme
  • Employee assistance advice and support service
  • Access to student discounts
  • 3 times annual salary non-contributory life insurance
  • Access to LinkedIn training and Union development scheme

Completing the Application Form

We only accept applications from candidates using our form attached in the job pack available from our website. CVs and covering letters will not be accepted.

In completing the application please cover all points of the person specification that are tested at application, preferably in the order presented. Please ensure all examples are relevant to that point.




Job title:                                        Head of Student Experience and Wellbeing

Salary Range:                                 Grade H1-H10 (£29,091 - £36,657)

Hours of Work:                               37.5 hours per week Monday to Friday, flexibility is required

Responsible to:                              Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Supervisory Responsibility:            Student Activities Manager,

Welcome Desk Manager

Wellbeing Manager

Purpose of Post:                             To lead the delivery of the Union’s extra-curricular, wellbeing and volunteering activity across all campuses.

Specific duties & Responsibilities: 

Leadership and Management

  1. To be a leader within the Students’ Union.
  2. Acting as a member of the operations management team of Northumbria Students’ Union setting direction and delivering services within the Union strategy and in line with its values and mission statement.
  3. Leading the Student Experience and Wellbeing Department to deliver in line with that strategy.
  4. Establishing clear procedures and standards for Student Experience and Wellbeing and coordinate the work of staff and volunteers within the department including clear targets for staff and volunteers.
  5. Leading and inspiring staff and volunteers to be proactive and encourage a culture of learning, development and change to meet the needs of the student membership and the Students’ Union.
  6. Undertaking the recruitment, selection and induction of staff as required in line with the organisations recruitment and selection strategies and policy.
  7. Managing staff and volunteers in a consistent and professional manner in line with the Union policies and management competencies.
  8. Supporting the Union’s culture of feedback through giving regular, high-quality feedback, appraising staff in line with Union policy and ensuring the department meets the Union expectations of consistent, high quality giving and receiving feedback.
  9. To provide briefings and reports as requested and ensure provision of high-quality data and information to support the annual and strategic business planning and monitoring.


  1. To adhere to the financial regulations and all other relevant policies and procedures of the Students’ Union.
  2. To be responsible for monitoring, managing and setting Student Experience and Wellbeing department budget.
  3. To prepare draft budgets and input where required into the financial planning process of the Students’ Union.  

Service Delivery

  1. To ensure students benefit from a rich and diverse range of extracurricular and wellbeing services and experiences which build their sense of community and support positive mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
  2. Supporting a culture of participation and shared ambition amongst elected officers and leaders of student groups for the benefit of Northumbria students.
  3. Ensuring effective support to elected officers within their roles as leaders of extracurricular activities.
  4. Ensure activities are rooted in values of inclusivity, support and democracy
  5. Work closely with the Head of Education and Officers to support student voice in satellite campuses and to help raise issues of student wellbeing
  6. Attending University meetings and building strong relationships with key staff particularly wellbeing, satellite campuses and sport.
  7. To ensure NSU’s wellbeing services support University strategy for student wellbeing and resilience and clear lines of reporting concerns regarding individual students exist between NSU and University services.
  8. Work with the Head of Education to ensuring the Union’s volunteer recognition platform is embedded in all volunteering experience,
  9. To ensure a culture of mentoring and support is embedded in the department.
  10. To work with the Head of Marketing to ensure students are aware of and can easily access extracurricular and wellbeing services.
  11. To work with the Head of Operations and other staff to ensure the building supports a diverse range of student and non-student activities in line with the strategy and income generation targets and all customers receive a high-quality experience.
  12. To work with the Head of Operations and Deputy Director to ensure an efficient process of allocating space within the Union and providing support to student groups in their use of the space.

Other duties

  1. To ensure department delivers the highest standards of service as expressed through the Union’s customer service standards (see later)
  2. To attend appropriate and relevant training events, courses and conferences as required.
  3. To respect the democratic structure of the Students’ Union; the post holder will be expected to work closely with elected officers and help support achievement of their manifestos.
  4. To abide by the Students’ Union governance, policies and procedures at all times.
  5. To uphold the Students’ Unions environmental and wider corporate social responsibility practices.
  6. To undertake mentoring of staff and students as agreed with your line manager and to undertake if required investigation into breaches of the Code of Conduct for student members and/or sit on disciplinary panels.
  7. To be committed to NSU’s values of Supportive, Inclusive, Fun, Democratic, Ethical, Innovation and Excellence
  8. The above is not an exhaustive list of duties and the post holder will be expected to undertake any other reasonable duties as may be required.



Head of Student Experience Person specification

Test at application

Test at Interview




3 years’ experience of working in Higher or Further Education, preferably in a role focused on services that support student voice or demonstrable equivalent experience



Experience of successfully leading, inspiring, managing and developing a high performing team.  Can demonstrate the ability to establish and communicate high standards of performance, set demanding goals, monitor quality of work and progress and adapt leadership style to situation.



Experience of recruiting, supporting and developing volunteers



Experience of involvement in the planning and/or delivery of a range of experiences from small, informal social gatherings to larger events for hundreds of participants, including Health and Safety considerations.



Experience of embedding the giving and receiving of feedback into the planning processes of a team.



Experience of project development and campaign planning






Understanding of the benefit and role of student led extracurricular activities in a Higher Education environment and the role of the Students’ Union.



Understanding of the wellbeing issues facing students in Higher Education and awareness of ways in which Students’ Unions can provide support.



Proficiency with Microsoft Office platforms and technical skills to develop proficiency in Customer Relationship Management platforms






Strong verbal and written communication skills and able to use style appropriate to audience.



Ability to engage and persuade a wide range of stakeholders from students to senior University staff



Shows respect for the views and actions of others



Able to identify and resolve conflict and empower others to take ownership of their own work



Very organised, able to keep promises made



Accept feedback and change behaviour as a result



Can remain calm in difficult and uncertain situations and handle others’ emotions without becoming personally involved



Take responsibility for own development



Ensures the highest standards of customer care and customer experience



Able to champion the Union’s values – Supportive, Inclusive, Fun, Democratic, Innovative, Excellence and Quality



Can work within a student led environment and support students and Sabbatical officers in their ambitions and goals for their time at Northumbria