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Lead: Student Experience and Insight

Listed by Heriot-Watt University Student Union


Application deadline: Mon 29 May 2023 17:00
If this job sounds like you, click "Apply Now" and follow the application process


£34,000.00 - £39,000.00


This is a full time role, working 35 hours per week.


Interviews will take place on either the afternoon of Thursday 1st June OR the morning of Fri 2nd June. If you're selected, the conversation will be based around how you will hit the ground running and make an effective, noticeable difference.

Job Duration

This is twelve-month minimum fixed-term contract to cover maternity leave.


What’s the Job?

This exciting position has arisen as one of our Senior Management Team is going on maternity leave in the summer. We’re not just looking for a caretaker, but someone who wants to join us and deliver our new 2030 strategy with passion, fun and challenge.

Focussing on leading the team to deliver our 2030 strategy (or as we call it the BIG PLAN), the role is a twelve-month minimum fixed-term contract to cover maternity leave - but genuinely has the autonomy, budget and magic to make things happen.

The role will take the strategic priorities that relate to the role and deliver the key actions for that year which are reported to the Trustee board via the annual LITTLE PLAN. The role also has the responsibility of taking data, insight and feedback and using that to enhance delivery of the BIG PLAN priorities, or to make changes to current operations or services.

However, and this is the exciting element, HOW the plan is delivered is up for discussion. We can’t deliver services in the same way and expect different results: Our students want choice, how and when they access our services, digital options, self-service as well as quiet spaces to connect, socialise and relax.

Like most Student Unions demand is growing, but for different services now than in 2018. We must transform our delivery.

Our representation and democracy have elements that can be traced back 900 years with Elections. But how can we make these more relevant? How do we increase engagement with the Union? Do our new students know why we exist and how we can help?

We can’t rely on ‘what we used to do’ we must have actionable insight that makes a tangible difference to the student experience.

There is also the wider Senior Management team responsibility – we’re a small team so sometimes its sleeves rolled up for a colleague’s priority that will always benefit a student – if it doesn’t, we question why not?

This Job description doesn’t have 36 bullet points, but it does have 36+ people in the Union wanting you to make a difference by challenging the norm.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for someone to lead and operationally manage some key areas in our Student Engagement area:

  • Representation and Democracy
  • Academic representation: advocating for the interests and concerns of students in academic matters, helping students have a say in shaping their educational experience and that their perspectives are considered
  • Advice and Support through our Advice Hub
  • Societies and Volunteering
  • Events (non-commercial) and activities
  • The annual election to appoint our Full Time Officers (Sabbaticals) and Members of Parliament, and potentially support the FTO team during their time in office

We are looking for some specific skills and experience but more than that, a superstar who wants to make a difference.

It’s worth noting that we are genuinely interested in hiring an individual who is keen to accelerate our plans to be relevant for our students and not frightened to open new doors and deliver in new and exciting ways.

We are keen that we use data, insight and feedback to evaluate existing services and use the same intelligence to shape, design and deliver new services that are relevant to students today and if you have a crystal ball – the future too!

In addition, developing and growing your network with our university colleagues is critical.

Who are we?

We are Heriot-Watt University Student Union. We’re based in Edinburgh, recognised as the Best City in the World by Time Out magazine in 2022. We are a campus-based Union set in around 380 acres of countryside, yet only a short bus ride into the City Centre.

At Heriot-Watt University Student Union we have one simple purpose… putting students first, always! We are led by elected student officers, who are guided and supported by staff to make sure students are represented across all areas of university life. We also offer students opportunities to expand their skills and stand out to future employers, while building meaningful and lifelong connections and friendships.

The Student Engagement Department is here to make sure the student experience is the best it can be for the 10,800 students across our three Scottish campuses by delivering advice, opportunities and representation – all of which are key parts of our 2030 BIG PLAN.

We’re a great bunch of people and we want you to succeed in this role. You’ll be part of the Senior Management Team as well as leading the Student Engagement Team on an operational and line management basis.

What do you get?

We can offer an attractive salary, pension, and the potential of an end of contract payment. Whilst you’ll never want to be too far from the fun, we do offer up to 42 days leave, family friendly policies, free car parking, complimentary tea and coffee, staff discount in our Café, Bar and shop and a monthly social catch up in Union hours.

In summary, that means:

  • Attractive salary (dependent on experience: range £34,000 – £39,000), pension and possible end of contract payment
  • 33 days paid holiday per year
  • An extra 9 fixed days off per year (we close completely between Christmas and New Year and give you Good Friday and Easter Monday off too)
  • 25% staff discount in all our outlets
  • You’ll work with a range of different people, from our permanent staff to our casual student team and enjoy social activities with us
  • Plus, you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling inside that you’re helping the students of HW get even more out of studying on campus


Please email your CV and a cover letter explaining why you are the perfect person to join the team to We realise you may not have all the skills right now – that’s okay - and you’re more likely to be successful if you can tell us in your application what help you may need in your journey to greatness.

If you’d like an informal chat about the role, please contact Darrin Nightingale, Chief Executive Officer at


Click here to download the Lead: Student Experience and Insight Job Description



Fixed-Term / Project Full Time Paid

Apply Now!

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