Hours of Work: 37.5 hours per week (Monday to Friday)
Workplace: Blend of office and home-working; pattern to be agreed
Salary Range: Grade 6, SP37-40 (£32,332 to 34,980)
Annual Leave: Annual paid leave of 25 days plus public holidays

The University of Cambridge’s oldest graduate college, Hughes Hall bears the name of its founding Principal, Elizabeth Phillips Hughes. Established in 1885 as a women-only teaching College, we now accept postgraduate students and mature undergraduates in all areas of study and research, offering scholarships and bursaries targeted at new and continuing students.

We are one of the most international colleges, bridging the academic and external worlds, with an open and informal atmosphere. A distinctive aspect of college life at Hughes Hall is an egalitarian culture where interaction and engagement between the senior membership and students is open and encouraged; and everyone is allowed to walk on the grass!

A dynamic and progressive College, we have 56 Governing Body Fellows, 219 further Senior Members from all walks of life, 874 full- and part-time postgraduates and 177 mature undergraduates from more than 80 countries. Particularly distinctive is our “Bridge Fellows” programme, which brings a diverse group of outstanding individuals from outside the University into our Fellowship as full members of Governing Body. An oasis of calm and quiet near the busy city centre, we provide a relaxing yet stimulating environment for study and research. Hughes Hall is situated alongside Fenner’s Cricket Ground, just off the cosmopolitan Mill Road.

We are focused on being an intellectual force at the centre of the University, concentrating on translating research into impact and inter-disciplinary collaboration. We have particular strengths in five subject areas, broadly in the Sciences and Social Sciences, where collaboration between the academic and wider worlds thrives: Physical Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics; Life Sciences; Business and Economics; Education and Social Sciences; and Law. We have world-leaders in each of these fields developing dynamic communities of interest within the College, with a reach far beyond our boundaries.

A determination to change the world for the better is realised through our Bridge initiative which leverages the College’s multidisciplinary perspective, international nature, and external focus to help turn brilliant ideas into lasting change. The Bridge at Hughes Hall helps researchers build relevant skills and enables networking and matchmaking between our academic community and external partners. It is structured around four themes, in different stages of development, through which we aspire to have impact on societies and engage our students: Global Health; The Future of Education; Environment and Energy; and Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. The Bridge also supports our centres: the Centre for Climate Change Engagement, Oracy Cambridge, Cambridge Governance Labs, and the Cambridge Centre for Digital Innovation.

Hughes Hall Centre for Climate Engagement

The Centre for Climate Engagement (CCE) plays a unique role in bringing leading academic research to a targeted audience of chairs and non-executive directors to accelerate climate leadership on boards in the private and public sectors. The Centre is uniquely placed to develop insights drawing on academic expertise from across the University of Cambridge and the wider research community, together with independent expertise from the business sector.

The Centre was set up in 2018 as part of the Bridge initiative at Hughes Hall which leverages the College’s multi-disciplinary perspective, international nature and external focus to bring the research and expertise of its academic community to solve real world problems.

The Centre has the role of ‘host’ and Secretariat for the Climate Governance Initiative. The World Economic Forum established this Initiative in 2019, in response to climate change and the challenge that brings to business, together with a set of guiding principles to help boards and senior management consider the quality of climate governance at the organisations they oversee and identify aspects in need of development. The Climate Governance Initiative is now implemented by the Centre for Climate Engagement, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

The Climate Governance Initiative supports the growth of groups of board Directors around the world to form networks, known as Chapters. There are now over 20 such Chapters, including Chapter Zero in the UK, which is also hosted by Hughes Hall. The Climate Governance Initiative plays a significant role in both maximising the impact and collaboration of the existing chapters and accelerating the development of new ones.

Job Purpose

The role of the Executive Assistant and Administrator is a key position within the Operations Team of the Climate Governance Initiative (the Initiative). Reporting to the Head of Operations, and supporting the work of the Team Coordinator, the role works to ensure the smooth running of the Initiative. The role holder provides administrative, communications, financial and secretarial support to the Director and the Executive Team of the Initiative. Specifically, this involves supporting the coordination and monitoring of the Initiative’s operations and liaison with key personnel, including the Director, the Head of Operations, the Executive Team, partners, stakeholders, and the Initiative’s funders. In addition, the role will require liaison with the College Finance Office as well as the Centre Manager and the Director of the Centre for Climate Engagement.

The Executive Assistant and Administrator is expected to assess and respond to issues, and to refer more complex queries as appropriate. The role holder is the first point of contact for external enquiries to the Initiative.  The role holder will manage the Director’s diary and travel arrangements, and those of the Initiative’s Leadership Team.

An exciting opportunity for an experienced administrator to join the Centre for Climate Engagement team at Hughes Hall to support the Climate Governance Initiative – a unique and growing global platform for boards run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

Main Duties

Executive Assistant:

  • Manage the Director’s diary, balancing competing priorities and understanding the need for the degree of flexibility that is required within a busy schedule.
  • Arrange meetings and make travel arrangements, draw up itineraries, arrange accommodation, liaise with host organisations within the UK and overseas as necessary. Make accommodation arrangements for the Initiative’s visitors to Cambridge, as required.
  • Ensure the Director’s office correspondence is processed in a timely manner, balancing the need for both accuracy and speed of production.
  • Draft correspondence on behalf of the Director as appropriate, liaising with colleagues across the Initiative as necessary.
  • Ensure the smooth running of the office and that secretarial and other administrative work is produced to a high standard and within set deadlines.

Finance and Purchasing:

  • Collate and organise submission of credit card returns and expense claims to the Finance Office.
  • Prepare and collate financial information relating to Initiative projects, for review by the Head of Operations and/or the Centre Manager of CCE.
  • Administer procurement of facilities to support meetings and workshops, publicity materials and other products and services connected with Initiative activities, including allocation of costs to relevant tasks.
  • Order and purchase of consumables and other items as required.

General Administration:

  • Act as the first point of contact on administrative matters for the Initiative.
  • Working with the Centre Manager of CCE, organise recruitment and advertise posts – completing forms with required information, contacting and liaising with central HR to place advertisements, monitoring costs of advertising and escalating as appropriate.
  • Coordinating with Human Resources on recruitment, collate CV’s, provide information to candidates, respond to applications, questions and notifications. Coordinate with Human Resources, the Head of –  Operations and the interview panel to arrange interviews.
  • Administer and document the Initiative’s projects.
  • Support the process of branding and trademarking through providing the necessary administration and records.
  • Support the Director, Head of Operations and Operations Coordinator to produce and collate Initiative reports for both internal and external consumption.

Liaison, Meetings and Initiative Operations and Group Meetings:

  • Liaise with people at all levels internally and externally, quickly establishing rapport and credibility and providing additional information as required.
  • Be the first point of contact for all general matters concerning any partner, stakeholder, and any of the funding bodies.
  • Maintain meeting calendar, issuing e-mail reminders of meetings.
  • Ensure timely responses to all requests to the Initiative, and organisation of meetings and conference calls as needed.
  • Support the Head of Operations and the Operations Coordinator in planning meetings of the Initiative’s Groups, Committees, and Boards as well as taking minutes and distributing them.
  • Coordinate the gathering and preparation of information from partners and stakeholders for dissemination through the website, newsletters etc.

Communications and Engagement:

  • Support Initiative’s Communications and Engagement teams by updating the Initiative’s website and maintaining the Initiative’s social media presence (Facebook, Twitter etc) as required.
  • Proof-read articles for the website and the newsletter.
  • Administer events, seminars and workshops associated with the Initiative. This will include the identification and booking of venues, budget and cost management, coordination of speakers, delegates and hosts, and the compilation and dissemination of conference proceedings and other documents.

Person Specification


  • Educated to at least A-level standard with good GCSE’s or equivalent in Maths and English (or equivalent)
  • Experience as a group administrator or as an executive assistant
  • Competence with standard IT packages, including databases, spreadsheets (Intermediate Excel), word processing (Advanced Microsoft Word), PowerPoint, web and e-mail clients
  • Experience of working in busy environments, balancing the demand of internal and external stakeholders
  • Up to date knowledge of office and secretarial systems, practices and procedures
  • Experience drafting correspondence, reports, agenda and minutes, including researching, preparing and coordinating briefing notes
  • Significant experience of executive support and diary management
  • Experience of using website and social media for communications purposes, or ability to learn these skills quickly
  • Good numerical skills and an understanding of budgets
  • Strong organisational skills with close attention to detail
  • Effective and efficient time management skills including the ability to prioritise in the face of competing demands, work to short timescales and deadlines
  • Ability to manage workloads and be adaptive to last minute changes
  • Diary management and ability to plan and organise events and meetings
  • Ability to keep up to date records in an appropriate form
  • Meticulous proof-reading skills
  • Ability to work independently without supervision and collaboratively as part of a team
  • Ability to respond to queries on behalf of a senior manager without their direct involvement
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality at all times, handling sensitive information with tact and discretion
  • Excellent communication and listening skills, and command of the English language
  • Efficient and welcoming whether in person or using other communication tools
  • Ability to communicate effectively (written and spoken) with people both internally and externally form all levels and a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences


  • Experience of planning and organising internal events and meetings, and of supporting team members with large-scale external events
  • Ability to travel occasionally within UK
  • Understanding or interest in the international climate change agenda and corporate climate action

Application Process 

To apply for this vacancy, please complete the job application form and include a covering letter outlining how you meet the job description and person specification. You are also encouraged to complete the College’s Equality and Diversity Form. Hughes Hall values diversity and is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity. The College welcomes expressions of interest and applications from candidates from all communities and a diversity of backgrounds.

All documentation should be emailed to hr@hughes.cam.ac.uk.

The closing date for applications is 20 February at midday (GMT). Interviews will be held at Hughes Hall, Cambridge in the week commencing 4 March 2024.

Any information given will be processed for employment selection and statistical purposes. You will find all the relevant Data protection Statements on our website at Data protection – Hughes Hall (cam.ac.uk).

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Sylvie Baird on spb66@hughes.cam.ac.uk. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact the HR Manager on hr@hughes.cam.ac.uk.