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Personal Assistant

Requisition ID:  13062

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Open Ended
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  14-Oct-2021


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: £22,254 - £23,487 with progression to £25,627  per annum

Closing Date: 28 October 2021


The Role


This is an opportunity to join the Professional Services Team in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences.


You will support the Senior Managers in carrying out their duties and take responsibility for the efficient running of the office.


Informal equiries can be made to  Zoe Bright: zoe.bright@newcastle.ac.uk


Key Accountabilities


  • To receive, screen and prioritise all incoming e-mails and correspondence, providing the Senior Managers with necessary information to assist with replies, drafting responses where appropriate, answering routine correspondence or re-routing those not requiring the Senior Managers’ attention. This ensures that correspondence is dealt with efficiently and urgent matters are dealt with promptly including in the absence of the Senior Managers
  • To set up and service committees, arrange other events and visits which the Senior Managers are involved with and ensure that all relevant arrangements are made so that a high quality of service is provided. This will include taking minutes of meetings, preparing agendas and papers and ensuring follow up actions are taken
  • To manage the Senior Managers’ diaries, to ensure that urgent and/or important appointments are given priority and efficient use is made of the Senior Managers’ time. This includes: liaising with relevant staff to avoid potential clashes of arrangements and using initiative to re-prioritise changing commitments. To meet and greet the Senior Managers’ visitors
  • To provide a first point of contact for internal and external telephone contacts, enquiries and personal visitors for the Senior Managers, answering routine questions, obtaining and furnishing information to save the Senior Managers’ time. This requires knowledge of University policies and procedures and those of any other organisation with which the Senior Managers is actively involved
  • To co-ordinate the calendar for all school events including Boards of Studies, Boards of Examiners, Staff Development days and staff meetings ensuring there are no clashes and communicating the initial calendar to staff and notifying of any amendments
  • To support the Senior Managers in the administration of all HR issues including arranging interviews and presentations, PDR recording on Managers Desktop and monitoring, co-ordinating submissions to Promotions Committees, organising the Induction programme. Ensure visibility is set on the School website and advise on My Impact, ensuring staff database on SharePoint is maintained, over all ensuring that all policies and procedures are adhered to
  • To coordinate the Performance and Development Review (PDR) process for all staff within the School, including the timetabling of review meetings, collating documentation, disseminating staff training requirements and recording the PDR completion on Managers Desktop within specific deadlines
  • To use a high level of initiative and be confident in making decisions and acting on behalf of Senior Managers’ in their absence. Ensuring that appropriate actions are taken in often time critical and high pressure circumstances.
  • To coordinate all paperwork for Visiting Lecturers, Teaching Assistants and Guest Members of staff
  • To coordinate Research Associate’s contracts and manage the continued tracking using complex spreadsheets. Liaising with the research support team to ensure that research awards and income are recorded in a timely manner and changes to contracts are addressed accordingly, in consultation with Principal Investigators
  • To provide support to the Senior Managers including preparation of complex reports, letters, proposals, presentations etc. using advanced office technology applications and assisting with effective gathering, collation and dissemination of data and statistics where required.
  • To communicate and co-ordinate the Senior Managers’ instructions with various other parties internally and externally
  • To work with key staff to produce a regular School Newsletter to aid communication across the School. To provide and obtain information and content from others inside and outside the University. Design and format the newsletter and formulate an appropriate distribution plan, including identifying the target audience, ensuring timely delivery
  • To identify, implement and maintain effective office procedures to ensure that the support to the work of the Senior Managers is managed efficiently. For example ensuring that there is an efficient filing system for storage and timely retrieval of confidential paperwork/electronic documents and a systematic brought forward system to deal with follow up actions from minutes, meetings etc.
  • To scan correspondence and publications that come into the office, and extract any relevant information which may prove useful for the Senior Managers. To research issues on which the Senior Managers are working to ensure that the necessary data and information is obtained for appropriate sources
  • To work with the School Manager and assume an appropriate level of responsibility on the delivery of School –wide projects. Being integral to each part of the process, from initial discussion to implementation and subsequent reviews
  • Any other duties within the scope and general nature of the grade which may be required from time to time; assisting other staff at times of heavy workload flexibly and co-operatively within the School to provide a co-ordinated and efficient support service





Internal: Own Senior Managers, other Senior Managers in the Faculty and university and their PA’s/Secretaries; School and Central Service managers and staff; students and staff in faculties.

External: Chief Executives and Senior Managers in local, national or international organisations with which the Senior Managers have working contact; Senior Managers in professional, research and government bodies; press and local media, professional accrediting bodies and external funding bodies. Administration: Organise meetings for the Senior Mangers; attend specific meetings, secretary to the School Executive Board


Planning and Organising

  • Plan, organise and schedule own workload on a daily basis
  • Schedule the work of the Senior Managers’ on a daily, medium and longer term basis in all aspects of their work
  • If the Senior Managers’ has regular commitments with an external organisation care must be taken to plan their University work to understand and resolve conflicting priorities. Decision Making
  • Deal with enquiries independently as far as possible and make decisions to arrange contact with the Senior Managers or refer to others, including in the absence of the Senior Managers. The work involves limited guidance and instruction on how to operate
  • Decide when appointments can be made, and implement changes to reorganise priorities
  • Plan and organise the work of the office deciding on the best way to support the Senior Managers, looking for better ways of working and improving quality
  • Deal regularly with confidential information, including staffing, budgets. The PA must know the levels of confidentiality involved, and make arrangements for security on paper or electronically


Internal and External Relationships

  • Liaise with PA’s of Senior Managers in the University and any relevant external organisations on timing of meetings and other arrangements for the Senior Managers. The PA needs a high level of ability to influence others to help achieve their objectives and agree arrangements
  • Liaise with staff at all levels across the University, including own Senior Managers and other Senior Managers to facilitate communication with the Senior Managers. The PA needs to have a high level of awareness of how the organisation works and how the Senior Managers relate to others
  • Liaise with senior personnel on external bodies and external organisations relevant to the work of the Senior Managers’.


Other Relevant Information

The post requires a high level of initiative, flexibility, discretion, tact and diplomacy due to the greater frequency of senior level internal and external contacts and regular exposure to confidential information.


The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Comprehensive understanding of University systems and procedures
  • Knowledge of other external bodies with which the Senior Managers have close working relationships
  • Computer and Web Literate for correspondence, information search and communication
  • High level of skill with Microsoft Office packages
  • Organisational Skills
  • Proven interpersonal skills including dealing with difficult people
  • Prioritisation skills
  • Ability to use own initiative
  • Proven ability to pay due attention to detail
  • Take a flexible attitude to work demands and customers
  • High level of confidence in order to influence people and situations
  • Web editor skills and ability to use design packages (Desirable)
  • Significant experience of working in a secretarial or relevant role
  • Experience of the work practices and procedures relevant to the role of PA to a Senior Manager in a large organisation
  • Experience of analysis and manipulation of complex data
  • Experience of business improvement practices (Desirable)
  • Experience of Project Management (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour


Planning and Organising 

  • Works in a planned and structured way. 
  • Uses own and others time effectively.
    Plans workload and tasks in a systematic way.
  • Sets own priorities in conjunction with team and area objectives. 
    Ensures that all activities are completed on time. 
  • Uses systems and tools to ensure records and audit trails are clear and up to date


  • Maintains flexibility in work plans to allow for changing circumstances
  • Keeps work systems up to date, neat and tidy
  • Ensures that others know how process and systems work


Gathering Information

  • Keeps up to date with University issues
  • Gathers relevant information and facts
  • Is thorough in investigating an issue; ‘no stone left unturned’ approach
  • Pieces together information to identify trends
  • Is wary of assuming things
  • Has an eye for details, spotting errors and ensuring accurate information




  • Is factually correct and gives consistent verbal and non-verbal messages. 
  • Clear and concise; gets the message across to others.
  • Chooses communication tools appropriately e.g. selective use of emails and other channels of communication
  • Tailors content of communication to the audience, changing style, tone and format appropriately
  • Uses face to face communication regularly; team meetings, one to ones, informal discussions/chats, briefing sessions etc.
  • Can hold attention of others using appropriate techniques; questioning, rhetorical questions, changing tone and pace of voice and animated style


Finding Solutions

  • Uses initiative to sort things out, is enterprising in effective use of material, financial and human resources
  • Looks at ways of overcoming obstacles rather than coming to a standstill
  • Confidently deals with a broad range of information
  • Keeps an open mind to alternative ways of doing things
  •  Proactively anticipates and plans for likely problem areas or obstacles




•  Grades A-C in English Language and Mathematics at GCSE (or equivalent) or vocational qualifications, plus demonstrable work experience in a relevant role and/or comparable setting.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all.  You can learn more about what is available here on our Benefits Website page.

Requisition ID: 13062