Candidate Brief for the Position of Skills Champion

About Thames Freeport

Thames Freeport is a national and international hub for global trade and investment across the UK which will promote regeneration and job creation in communities in urgent need of ‘levelling-up’. The Freeport has the vision to connect the global ports at London Gateway and Tilbury with Ford’s world-class Dagenham facility, creating an economic zone which accelerates investment and jobs in the region. The Thames Estuary has in recent years regained its status as the UK’s largest maritime cluster and it is estimated that the Freeport could generate investment in excess of £4billion and create over 21,000 jobs.

About the Thames Freeport Governing Board

The Thames Freeport partnership is a private sector led consortium comprising DP World,  Forth Ports and Ford. as well as local and regional bodies including Thurrock Council, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, London Borough of Havering,  the Thames Estuary Growth Board and Port of London Authority.  These partners work very closely with HM Treasury, HRMC, DLUHC.  Thames Freeport is establishing a Governing Board that has responsibility for the oversight of the Freeport to ensure consistency and compliance with the business case submitted to government and to ensure that the parties collaboratively work towards the Freeports strategic objectives. While the individual parties will retain their own budgets for funding and capital allocation decisions, the governance board will have oversight of specific freeports activities and accountability for ensuring public funds are used in accordance with those objectives and business case. The projects will range from multi-million-pound infrastructure improvements to a range of programmes covering innovation, skills development, digital connectivity, low carbon solutions and the hydrogen economy.


A key priority for Thames Freeport is to ensure that local residents are able to access the job opportunities created and that the skills system supports and is aligned to business requirements. Thames Freeport is therefore seeking a Board member who can act as its Champion for Skills and play a leadership role for skills in the region.  This will include overseeing the development of the skills strategy and major programmes of intervention. It is a high-profile position and a transformational role, offering a rare opportunity to provide strategic direction and alignment with other major economic interventions across the region and crucially integrates with wider commercial, strategic social and environmental aspirations. The delivery of the Thames Freeport will have a transformative impact regionally and contribute significantly to national economic growth.

The key responsibilities of the role:

  • Act as a skills champion and ambassador for the freeport offering expert advice on strategy and process required for achieving Thames Freeport’s objectives.
  • Be a strong strategic voice that contributes towards the vision of the Board and skills in particular.
  • Be a credible interface between the Board and Freeport stakeholders where necessary.
  • Contribute towards ensuring that the Freeport plays a meaningful role in driving new employment and upskilling of the Thurrock, Barking and Dagenham and Havering workforce.
  • Assist in the delivery of strategy for regeneration to maximise social impact supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda as it relates to the Thames Freeport economic geography.
  • Advising strategic oversight of business cases supporting project spend and ensuring adherence to policy objectives and governance.

The Skills Champion will attend both the Board meetings as well as the Skills, Levelling up and Regeneration subcommittee meetings and will forge positive relationships across the range of skill-based stakeholders involved both directly with the Freeport and across the wider communities.


The time commitment for this role is expected to be 2 or 3 days per month with meetings in London, Thurrock, Barking and Dagenham, and Havering.  The remuneration for the role has been set at £13,000 per annum and all expenses will be reimbursed.

The Individual

The successful candidate for this role will hold a well-developed and established advisory profile and be able to articulate and implement a strategic vision operating within complex multi-organisational governance structures. They will be a clear, have experience working collaboratively with the personal authority and influencing skills to champion and to represent the ambitions of the Board with the credibility to work across the public and private sectors and wider stakeholders.

Essential Criteria

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to build consensus amongst a diverse Board and stakeholder group;
  • Extensive experience working in upskilling workforces across a range of levels and tackling unemployed.
  • Ability to think clearly, analytically and grasp complex issues;
  • A strong networker with connections across a range of public and private sector organisations in the UK with excellent interpersonal, communication, presentation and influencing skills;
  • Politically astute with familiarity of UK public sector bodies and local government structure across the Thames corridor;
  • Ability to operate with integrity and objectivity;
  • Excellent track record of fostering successful collaborative working and developing strong relationships with government bodies, the private sector, and a varied range of other stakeholders to achieve results.

How to Apply

Please email your application to

Applications should include the following:

  • A supporting letter, evidencing (by factual information and concrete examples) the knowledge, experience and competencies required to meet the criteria listed in ‘The Individual’ section of this document.
  • A CV giving your education and professional qualifications and a career history, paid or unpaid and any relevant achievements (maximum 3 sides of A4).

You should also set out your reasons for wishing to be considered for this appointment. Your application should make clear the level and depth of your leadership expertise and any other experience which demonstrates your knowledge and interests relevant to this post.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 6 January 2023.

Candidate Assessment

Candidates will be evaluated on the extent to which they meet the competencies and experience set out above. Candidates will be evaluated on merit at all stages. Thames Freeport is an inclusive and diverse partnership and welcomes all applications.

Short listed candidates will be invited to an in-person interview in the week commencing 16th January 2023.