Wednesday 13th September 2023

Head of Operations Strathclyde Sport

Strathclyde Sport seek to appoint an experienced and visionary professional to lead the formation, management and activation of capital planning, operational systems and activity programming, whilst ensuring throughout, the provision of an outstanding user experience.

Head of Operations

Reports To Director of Sport & Active Health
Grade: 8
Salary Range: £45585 – £56021
Contract Type: Open Contract
FTE 1 (35 hours/week)
Closing Date 8th October 2023

Job Advert

Strathclyde Sport is the heart of sport and active health at the University of Strathclyde, with the vision of being the most active city centre campus in the UK.  Since opening in September 2018, its impact on delivering an outstanding student experience has been incredible, annually attracting more than 7,000 members and over 450,000 visits across the sporting estate.  We are continually growing our profile to not only create the Strathclyde Sport identity but to also provide further strategic support to the wider University mission.


To continue doing so, the University of Strathclyde seeks to appoint a dynamic and visionary leader with the ability to inspire others to continue to deliver excellence in Strathclyde Sport operational services.  The Head of Operations is a new role and will be a pivotal member of Strathclyde Sport Senior Management Team and will contribute to the departments’ leadership to deliver its strategy for the benefit of the whole university sport and active health community.  The role will lead the formation, management and activation of capital planning, operational systems and activity programming, whilst ensuring throughout, the provision of an outstanding user experience.


To be considered for the role, you are expected to be degree qualified and have substantial experience in a similar specialist role along with demonstrable track record of managing specialist teams and associated financial resources whilst having a visionary outlook to seek out new innovative opportunities to engage the Strathclyde community.  You should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to unlock people’s potential and contribute to department strategy planning, business case preparation and complex decision making.

Job Description

Brief Outline of Job:

The Head of Operations will lead the strategic development, management and effective delivery of Strathclyde Sport’s operations, income generation through membership and commercial opportunities and facility utilisation.  The role will also contribute to the development of capital opportunities to continue to drive investment in the sporting estate at Strathclyde.  The role will lead shaping the already excellent customer experience built on our growing reputation in sport and active health, anticipate and serve the growth in demand of the diversity of service expected from a leading technological university.  Line management duties will include leading the Facilities, Active Health and Communications & Membership Managers. The Head of Operations will be responsible for driving forwards the service delivery in these portfolios of work whilst actively contributing to the overall strategic leadership and development of the department.

Main Activities/Responsibilities:


1. Lead and drive forwards the development and safe delivery pro-active programming of all Strathclyde Sport’s facilities and services – including active health initiatives, group exercise programme, sports club training, recreational access and special events, to ensure optimal space utilisation, customer satisfaction, reputation and business performance.  Engage with, and influence, Sport Union, stakeholders and industry experts to shape plans.  Manage stakeholders through changes to programming to maximise facilities use and customer expectations.
2. Take a leading role alongside the Director of Sport & Active Health to develop cases for investment, deliver on strategic projects and influence shaping and informing the departmental budget and the university’s strategy for sport and active health.
3. Manage, motivate, mentor, and develop managers and their respective teams, to deliver a high quality, efficient and effective service in accordance with Strathclyde Sports requirements and University policies and legislative responsibilities.  Ensure all facilities are presented to a high standard, ensuring an effective and robust health & safety programme is in place, including the appropriate training of all staff, risk assessments, COSHH & emergency procedures.
4. Actively contribute to the senior leadership team, taking a role in strategic development through a proactive and innovative approach to the initiation and management of change, planning and setting team objectives and instilling a culture of continuous improvement, promoting a culture of professional and personal development  to ensure Strathclyde Sport delivers best value.
5. Manage financial performance and business planning of Strathclyde Sport operational services ensuring income generation (eg membership & let income) and spend targets are optimised and managed in line with university financial policies.  Produce detailed reports and analysis to inform business policy and decision making.
6. Lead managing, maintaining, procuring and developing Strathclyde Sport’s operational infrastructure to ensure optimal service delivery, efficiency and effectiveness.  Manage service level agreements with key business suppliers and client groups to define commitments, expectations and instigate measures to mitigate business disruption due to emergencies, breakdowns and failures.
7. Contribute to department strategy planning, business case preparation and complex decision making, shaping the strategic direction of the department delivering both sport and active health opportunities.  Represent the department on University Committees and participate in University wide project teams, task groups and working groups.
8. Analysing large data sets extracted from leisure management software, evaluate existing service provision across mandated areas, liaise with users, anticipate customer demand, identify opportunities and facilitate change management. Determine/challenge the economic value of new programmes/services and how to accommodate them within existing/new facilities, advising the Director on options/preferences.
9. Responsibility for interpreting policy, legislation and regulations relevant for the safe and effective operation of facilities and lead the implementation of changes required.
10. Maximise the utilisation of the department leisure management system software to drive efficiency is service delivery, user engagement and data analysis to inform recommendations on business processes and service provision.
11. Responsible for the development of marketing and design projects, across Strathclyde Sport. Working in partnership with the University Communications & Marketing team and other key stakeholders.
12. Build and maintain a key strategic relationship with the Sport Union based on trust, openness and ambition to achieve common objective to service the student community.
13. Develop within the teams a culture that promotes equality of opportunity and supports diversity and inclusion, and takes into account the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
14. Propose new products, suppliers and services to grow and improve business performance (reputation; income generation; member recruitment and retention), create new income streams and drive efficiency gains; develop innovative solutions to significant problems (staffing and operational).
15. Within the sector and industry, develop and maintain an extensive professional network with individuals, strategic stakeholders and industry experts with the objective of maintaining the department at the cutting edge.
16. Deputise (along with the Head of Sport Development) for the Director as required.
17. To carry out any other duties as appropriate in line with the grade of the role that may be requested by the Director.

Person Specification

Educational and/or Professional Qualifications
(E=Essential, i.e. a candidate must meet all essential criteria to be considered for selection, D=Desirable)

Essential/ Desirable Assessment Method
Degree qualification in sport or leisure, ideally to post-graduate level and substantial experience in similar specialist roles at this grade Essential Application/CV
Membership or qualification of relevant industry body (ie Cimspa, IOSH Managing Safely) Desirable Application/CV
Evidence of ongoing professional development Desirable Application/CV


Extensive experience in senior management of multi-disciplinary teams in the leisure industry (sport, facilities, active health). Essential App/CV/ Interview
Experience of managing and reporting on complex budgets, with demonstrable business acumen and ability to create new income streams and drive efficiency gains. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Demonstrable experience in project management and expertise in capital projects (new builds and/or building refurbishments; and equipment procurement), covering small to large developments. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Proven capability to lead, manage, inspire and develop staff in a complex organisation and deliver high levels of team working, professional performance and customer service. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Experience and knowledge of leisure based client records management packages and innovative digital solutions to support service delivery. Essential Application/CV
Experience leading and monitoring robust infrastructure solutions (IT systems; client records management; HR procedures) to optimise efficiency and effectiveness. Essential Application/CV
Experience and Knowledge of issues and challenges in the HE Sector and understanding of their impact. Desirable Application/CV
Vision and awareness of local and national framework for sports / active health provision and their opportunities; outward-facing approach; understanding of HE sector / industry trends. Desirable Application/CV
Experience of communicating and influencing at senior levels in large units or complex organisations Desirable App/CV/ Interview

Job Related Skills and Achievements

Demonstrably strong management skills, in particular working and delivering successfully as a multi-disciplinary team leader, team member and autonomously. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Excellent planning and organisational skills with demonstrable abilities in prioritising, delegation, compiling effective strategy & business plans and delivering quality output against them, to deadlines. Essential App/CV/ Interview
High level IT skills for a broad range of purposes together with excellent analytical skills and the ability to present data clearly. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Ability to problem solve and resolve challenges that maximise effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Thorough understanding of complex organisations financial procedures, systems and legislative responsibilities. Essential App/CV/ Interview

Personal Attributes

Ability to lead, manage, inspire and develop staff to deliver high levels of customer service and performance; high level diplomacy, negotiating and influencing skills Essential App/CV/ Interview
Strategic thinker, planner, sport developer; able to build relationships, work under pressure in a fast paced environment, meet tight deadlines and cope with complex issues. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Good presentational and inter-personal skills; developed ability to write reports, chair meetings, manage relationships, connect professionally and communicate at all levels. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Ability to propose bold and innovative user engagement opportunities and bring substantial strategic concepts to fruition that form part of a facilities core offering. Essential Application/CV
Excellent ability to inspire and empower others to drive change, whilst building a constructive & effective team culture. Essential App/CV/ Interview
Ability to negotiate and persuade, and to explain potentially complex financial issues to non-finance colleagues. Desirable App/CV/ Interview

Other Relevant Factors

Flexible approach to working arrangements and travel to fulfil the requirements of the post – available to work outside normal hours are required Essential App/CV/ Interview

Application Procedure

Select Application Procedure (HR use only)

Other Information

Further information on the application process and working at Strathclyde can be found on our website (

Informal enquiries about the post can be directed to Neil Brown, Director of Sport and Active Health (0141) 5482782,


Conditions of Employment

Conditions of employment relating to the Administrative and Professional staff category can be found at: Conditions of Employment.

Rewards and Benefits

Our staff have access to a wide range of outstanding benefits that include financial rewards, family friendly and wellbeing benefits and career development opportunities, details of which can be found here.

PVG Check

This position involves regulated work, making it a legislative requirement that the successful candidate becomes a member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme. If appointed, employment with the University will not be confirmed, until membership of the Scheme has been received. The successful applicant will be precluded from working with protected groups until that time.

Basic Disclosure

This role requires the satisfactory outcome of a Basic Disclosure Scotland Check. The successful applicant will be asked to carry out a Basic Disclosure Scotland Check. Whether an outcome is satisfactory will be determined by the University.

Pre-employment health screening

An offer of appointment will be subject to a medical assessment by Occupational Health. An individual who accepts an offer of employment must complete a confidential medical questionnaire and forward it to the Occupational Health Nurse within 5 days of receipt. If further information is required the individual may be contacted by the OHN or a Medical Advisor and a personal appointment with the individual may be arranged. An unconditional contract of employment will not be issued until Human Resources receives confirmation that applicant is fit to undertake the duties of the post.


Where applicable, the successful applicant will be required to serve a 12 month probationary period.


The successful applicant will be eligible to join the Universities’ Superannuation Scheme. Further information regarding this scheme is available from Payroll and Pensions.


Where applicable, the University offers a relocation package to support new employees who meet the eligibility criteria. The relocation package is offered as a contribution towards costs incurred, and is designed to be flexible, allowing staff to use the financial support available in the way that will be most helpful to them. Further details are outlined in the Relocation Policy.


Formal interviews for this post will be held on 30/10/2023.

Equality and Diversity

The University of Strathclyde is a socially progressive institution that strives to ensure equality of opportunity and celebrates the diversity of its student and staff community.  Strathclyde is people-oriented and collaborative, offering a supportive and flexible working culture with a deep commitment to our equality, diversity and inclusion charters, initiatives, groups and networks.

We strongly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnicity, women, LGBT+, and disabled candidates and candidates from lower socio-economic groups and care-experienced backgrounds.

University Values

The University’s Values capture what we’re all about: who we are, what we believe in and what we stand for. Our Values have been derived from how we act and how we expect to be treated as  part of Strathclyde.