Job Listing

Head of Diversity, Access and Participation

Location : ACM Guildford Employment type : FULL_TIME Expires : 2021-11-07 Salary range: £36,000 - £45,000

ACM is a specialist creative industries education provider offering a range of Further and Higher Education programmes in subjects including Music Performance, Songwriting and Creative Artistry, Audio Production, Technical Services, Business Management and Game Development. Our creative and dynamic environment blends academic excellence and professionalism alongside leading-edge industry thinking and business innovation. With campuses in Surrey, London and Birmingham, we are also proud to have Metropolis Studios, Europe’s largest recording complex, within our company group.


ACM’s Vision:

ACM will incubate potential and talent, supporting the personalised development needs of our students to facilitate a structured path from education to employment.

We provide a safe and supported space where creative talent and imagination can flourish in a caring environment. Barriers to learning are identified through a holistic and person-centred approach to unlock the potential of the individual, enabling personal growth through professional and academic development. Our core aim is for our students to enjoy lifelong sustainable careers underpinned by applied learning and a specialist, cutting-edge curriculum.

Therefore, our vision is to not only be the leader in applied, industry-connected, creative arts education but to also be the leader in care and support for mental health and other traditional barriers to learning, thereby driving up the standards expected within higher and further education.


ACM’s Mission:

To provide an immersive student experience, with a curriculum which is connected to the industry in real-time, based on a learning by doing ethos. Our core aim is to build confidence and self-awareness, providing students with the skills necessary to recognise and take opportunities.

Ultimately our mission is to enable students to fulfil their potential and enjoy a sustainable career within the creative arts industry.



ACM has a 25+ year history of delivering provision within the creative industries. In 2019 we began the latest phase in our history as an Approved (Fee Cap) institution on the register of higher education providers. This change of status signalled the start of our regulated work within access and participation. 

ACM is currently mid-way through its 5-year plan. This role has responsibility to continue to manage and deliver this plan whilst building our strategy and planning for the next iteration, launching in 2025. Since 2019 ACM has developed its infrastructure and governance around access and participation to create an embedded model with departmental representatives and an established framework for monitoring and evaluation.

The post-holder will come in to lead these existing frameworks, working alongside the departmental representatives and 3rd party contractors who support ACM with the monitoring and evaluation activities. They will be comfortable using data for reporting and will be present at a number of committees, including the academic board, to provide expertise with access and participation strategy, weaving into existing workflows or projects to ensure the objects of ACM’s access and participation plan are represented.

We are looking for an effective communicator who will be comfortable working within a matrix environment to champion underrepresented students’ interests and ultimately ensure that targets set within ACM’s access and participation plan are met.




The Head of Diversity, Access and Participation role at ACM exists to ensure that students of all backgrounds are able to access ACM’s unique Creative Industries education offering, and that such students are well supported in their studies when they are on programme in areas including attainment and wellbeing.


  1. Access and Participation Strategy
  • In collaboration with the Access and Participation Monitoring team, implement the strategic and operational agenda for access and participation, aligned and integrated with other key institutional priorities and strategy.
  1. Developing, drafting and managing the Access and Participation Plan, in accordance with the requirements of the Office for Students.
  2. Be the responsible and accountable senior lead for access and participation, ensuring ongoing monitoring of the Plan.
  • To manage the planning, delivery and evaluation of strategies and activities associated with access and participation. 
  • Lead and drive the access and participation agenda across the institution, providing leadership, guidance and mentoring, supporting and facilitating resources, and operational development, design and planning support, to staff across Departments and Services in an integrated, embedded approach to access and participation.Working and
    • liaising with Departments and Services to understand gaps and develop effective measures to: 
      • encourage applicants from target under-represented groups to apply 
      • ensure that they are successful on their programme 
      • ensure target students are supported into employment.
  • To contribute to the development of policy and practice for student retention, in relation to the Access and Participation Plan.
  • To work closely with the Events and Schools Outreach team to direct and develop their activities in such a way that supports ACM’s Access and Participation Plan.
  • To contribute to the development of a variety of academic, pastoral and financial support schemes for access and participation target groups.
  • To be a link with external bodies and agencies for fair access and participation, and Outreach activity, and to support in managing the relationship with the Office for Students in relation to access and participation work, taking the lead internally on the execution of ACM’s Access and Participation Plan (APP), and responsibility for the annual monitoring return in this area.


2. Development and Management of ACM’s Access and Participation representatives and collaborators; management of dedicated staff

  • Chairing the Access and Participation task force meeting, attended by departmental Access and Participation Representatives
  • Working with ACM’s Access and Participation representatives, on an on-going basis to support activities and related planning and evaluation in-line with access and participation plan targets and commitments
  • To work closely with those colleagues across ACM to deliver an effective access and participation service, which can then grow and build 
  • To be the operational contact for 3rd party contractors who support ACM in delivering and reporting on access and participation outcomes


3. Project development delivery

  • To deliver Access and Participation related projects, via in person and online sessions, alongside a range of permanent and casual workers, as well as freelance facilitators. 
  • To work directly, at least initially, with underrepresented groups such that you have assurance as to the efficacy of the projects and teams you are developing and managing.
  • To work with colleagues to evidence and showcase ACM’s Access and Participation work, either by way of events and/or digital assets.
  • To manage project budgets and related financial matters (for instance, timesheet claims or PO requests) for those delivering sessions.
  • To work with ACM’s Education Team to develop programmes including Short Courses that aim to make ACM more accessible to students from WP backgrounds.
  • To work with the Marketing Department to create print, website copy and social media content for underrepresented audiences to attend courses and workshops. 


4. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 

  • To develop ACM’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategies such that Students and Staff at ACM are working with and supported by the organisation’s values in these areas.
  • To participate in regular training in order to stay up to date with current thinking and progression in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • To promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in a range of ways aside from ACM’s Access and Participation strategies, and to align these two areas
  • To further ACM’s commitment to a range of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matters at a corporate, educational, staff and student level.


5. Developing and Managing relationships

  • To engage in Ofs funded National Collaborative Outreach Partnership meetings in each region where ACM has a campus, bringing opportunities back to the task force for implementation
  • To develop, deliver or enable delivery of activity with partner organisations (for example progression agreements, sponsorship arrangements, joint projects, careers talks, outreach events). 
  • To work with ACM’s student body in developing new access and participation and Outreach initiatives, where students are engaged as partners and practitioners, where appropriate.
  • To contribute to training for members of ACM’s staff team, considering the needs of target groups for access and participation
  • To consider other fundraising, grant and capital bid opportunities that could result in benefits for students in underrepresented groups


6. Monitoring and evaluation

  • To establish and manage effective systems of monitoring and evaluation of the impact of APP / WP activity, initially with the support of the third parties contracted to undertake this work on behalf of ACM currently, and then to consider how internal capacity is developed. This would include producing statistical analysis of student populations and to track WP student progress.
  • To contribute to monthly and annual reports about progress in relation to widening participation and access progress for ACM for both internal and external stakeholders
  • Inform teams of specific targets relating to ACM’s access and participation plan so departmental Heads and representatives are able to respond accordingly
  • Support departmental representatives with completing monitoring documentation, such as the APP toolkit.


7. General

  • Keep up to date with current thinking in widening participation, access and retention work within higher education and arts policy around participation work.
  • Ensure effective communication with students in liaison with other members of the department (newsletters, notice boards, emails, hosting feedback sessions with students).
  • Promote equality, diversity and inclusion at all times and ensure they are at the forefront of your thinking when undertaking your responsibilities.


8. Key Internal Staff Relationships

  • Working with ACM’s Safeguarding and Pastoral Manager, and ACM’s Student Services team, to ensure that students with Widening Participation characteristics (and other students) are well served during their time at ACM with a wellbeing support provision that recognises their needs.
  • Working with ACM’s Head of Student Experience to ensure that students with Widening Participation characteristics (and other students) are well served during their time at ACM ; supported in providing feedback to ACM about their Student Experience, and that ACM is responsive to such feedback.
  • Working with ACM’s Finance Team and ACM’s Student Fees Manager, to ensure that students with Widening Participation characteristics (and other students) are well served during their time at ACM and are given the necessary financial support to ensure their continued access, participation and achievement within their studies.
  • Working with ACM’s Education Executive to ensure that students with Widening Participation characteristics (and other students) are well served during their time at ACM ; with existing and new programmes that are able to cater for the distinct needs of student groups and individuals.
  • Working with ACM’s Director for Student Acquisition, and ACM’s Events and Outreach team, to ensure that activities undertaken result in the reaching underrepresented audiences with Widening Participation Characteristics. 
  • Working with ACM’s Head of Research, Development and Knowledge Exchange to ensure that Knowledge Exchange opportunities are well catered for.
  • Working with ACM’s Director of External Partnerships and Head of Governance/Quality to ensure that the Access and Participation elements of its relationship with the Office for Students meet and exceed expectation of the regulator at all times.


Education and Qualifications

  • An undergraduate qualification in a related subject


Experience and Knowledge

  • Understanding of and experience in working with Higher Education regulation including the Office for Students, and in particular familiarity with the Fair Access and Participation agenda and regulation.
  • Extensive experience of servicing and working with high-level committees, with a high level of autonomy and trust 
  • Understanding of higher education governance within the UK including and understanding of aspects of regulatory and legal compliance issues relating to Access and Participation.  
  • Experience of building successful relationships and networks within a large, complex organisation.
  • Understanding of business planning, risk management, performance management and auditing processes
  • Experience of creating project plans, supporting multiple projects, and seeing projects through to timely completion.


Skills and Personal Requirements

  • A strong interest in, and commitment to ACM’s vision, mission and strategic direction 
  • High levels of organisational skills, particularly with regard to committee management and handling related communications. 
  • Well-developed and effective written communication skills, including an ability to write clearly, concisely and to capture subtleties as appropriate. 
  • Research and analytical skills, in particular the ability to assimilate detailed information 
  • Assertiveness, negotiation and persuasion skills as required to coordinate committee documentation from a staff across ACM. 
  • Ability to prioritise workload in a busy environment, and handle multiple projects and commitments concurrently.
  • Ability to quickly establish effective relationships and trust with all levels of staff and external stakeholders 
  • High levels of discretion, diplomacy and tact, and the ability to handle sensitive and confidential information.
  • Ability to work independently and with a minimum of supervision, as well as working collaboratively as part of the team 
  • Flexibility to adapt to changing priorities.
  • Commitment to continuing professional development
  • Flexibility to travel within the UK in order to organise and participate in ACM meetings across the three campus locations, or external events as required
  • High levels of proficiency in software packages, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint and Adobe Acrobat


All ACM staff work to the same values which are:


To empower individuals from diverse backgrounds, to maintain accessibility, and provide an inclusive organisational culture.

Supportive environments

To provide environments that support personal and professional development through a holistic approach and bring the benefits of the creative arts to the wider community.

Agility and innovation

To provide an inspiring organisational culture that embraces innovation through openness, flexibility, creativity and self-evaluation.


To recognise the benefits of working closely with industry and others, to embrace new technologies, and to provide meaningful opportunities, in order to enhance learning.

Professional and academically strong standards

To provide state of the art professional environments, to inspire determination and enthusiasm, and ensure high professional and academic standards


Please be aware all ACM staff must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service Check prior to starting. This will need to be renewed once every three years.


This job purpose reflects the core activities of the post. As the Department and the post-holder develop, there will inevitably be some changes to the duties for which the post is responsible, and possibly to the emphasis of the post itself. ACM expects that the post-holder will recognise this and will adopt a flexible approach to work.  This could include undertaking relevant training where necessary.  Should significant changes to the job purpose become necessary, the post-holder will be consulted and the changes reflected in a revised job purpose.

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Application Form

Application forms should be returned by the advertised closing date to or by post:

HR and Recruitment Team
The Academy of Contemporary Music
The Rodboro Buildings, Bridge Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4SB

Please note some positions may be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Each job advertisement will detail the closing date for applications. We regret that we are not able to accept applications received after this date. Once shortlisting has taken place, successful candidates will be contacted by the HR and Recruitment Team and invited to attend an interview.

Due to the volume of applications we receive for our vacancies, it is not possible to keep in touch with every applicant. Therefore we would ask you to assume that if you have not heard from us within 4 weeks of the advertised closing date, your application has not been successful on this occasion.