Recruiting a Director of Major Projects to Drive UCL Estate's Growth Plans

The Challenge

As part of the planned growth of their estate, UCL is committed to delivering a number of major capital projects. These projects include UCL East on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; Institute of Neurology/Dementia Research Institute (ION/DRI); Project Oriel (Joint Venture with Moorfields Eye Hospital); Hampstead Campus Masterplan at Royal Free Hospital and Bloomsbury Heat & Power Network upgrade. With such considerable development plans, UCL needed a Director of Major Projects to take the helm, providing comprehensive strategic oversight and ensure project delivery in accordance with their approved business case objectives. Considering the strategic level remit and seniority of the role, UCL required a talent, high-level professional who had the experience and skills to meet the challenge. The main responsibilities for this role include:

• Providing strategic oversight for the delivery of all major capital projects (>£100m) across the UCL estate.

• Representing UCL Estates on the various governance bodies of each project.

• Ensuring consistently high standards of project delivery through excellent teams, effective governance processes, accurate reporting and the sharing of best practice across major projects.

• Driving a zero-tolerance safety culture across all major projects.

• Being a point of escalation for the resolution of project issues.

• Overseeing strategy and practice for the efficient and effective procurement of design team consultants and contractors for all major projects

• Being an ambassador for UCL.

The Solution

As is the case with many of our recruitment projects, this assignment required a completely bespoke recruitment strategy. Due to the high-level nature of the role and the professionals suitable for this level of appointment, we decided to use a highly targeted headhunting approach as the key driver of this recruitment campaign. This was supplemented with appropriate advertised search activities.

Many of the best candidates for this level of position are passive job seekers, meaning they will not be actively searching and applying for positions, however they would be open to hearing about potential career moves. With this in mind, our first port of call was an extensive search and selection process of our 35,000+ strong candidate database to develop a longlist of suitable professionals who fit the role profile. As a results of our comprehensive headhunting campaign, we were able to present 11 ideal senior candidates for consideration for the role, resulting in a successful appointment.