Head of HR

Location: Harwell, Oxfordshire

Responsible to: Chief Financial and Operations Officer

Responsible for: Line management of a small professional team

Working Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Contract: Permanent, 3 month probation and 1 month notice

Holiday: 28 days per annum, plus statutory holidays.

Equal Opportunities: The Satellite Application Catapult strives to be an equal opportunities employer and commitment to this process will be expected.

About Us

The Satellite Applications Catapult is an independent innovation and technology company, created to foster growth across the economy through the exploitation of space. We help organisations make use of and benefit from satellite technologies, and bring together multi-disciplinary teams to generate ideas and solutions in an open innovation environment.

Based in Harwell, near Didcot, the Catapult was established in May 2013 by Innovate UK (formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board) as one of a network of centres to accelerate the take-up of emerging technologies and drive economic growth. We are a not-for-profit research organisation which is registered as a private company limited by guarantee and controlled by its Board.

Our Mission

To innovate for a better world, empowered by satellites

Our Vision

To be a world-leading technology and innovation company, helping businesses of all sizes to realise the potential from space. By embracing a pioneering, agile, collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit, we create valued partnerships to deliver game-changing results.

Our Culture

The Catapult fosters an open and collaborative culture that stimulates and develops staff and encourages collaboration and innovation. Our employee value proposition is strong. We have worked hard to create an environment which is dynamic, exciting, challenging, rewarding, flexible and, most importantly, fun. More about the Catapult Culture

The Role

The Head of HR will work closely with the Executive Management team to agree priorities and support the delivery of the business plan, which includes pioneering new approaches to people management and involvement, being central to maintaining the best organisational model, improving processes, managing appropriate performance criteria and measures, meeting relevant legal requirements and maintaining appropriate levels of governance.

With the overarching goal of maintaining and improving a positive, motivated and engaged workforce with a strong organisational culture the Head of HR will be a key player and business partner in the Satellite Application Catapult senior management team, being central to:

  • Driving the operational, policy and strategic direction of the Catapult’s HR function, developing innovative ways of effective working within a multi-stakeholder environment
  • Working with the Executive management team to challenge current processes and steer the People and Culture strategy and to motivate and reward the Catapult’s people to help achieve the organisations business plan and to implement sustainable leadership capabilities
  • Ensuring full compliance of employment law, including providing coaching and advising key stakeholders, managing equality and diversity, pay and reward and terms & conditions
  • Managing the on-going design and implementation of the Catapults talent identification and secondment programme, mentoring, succession planning and personal development system
  • Producing and implementing appropriate HR action plans in relation to staffing, reorganisations, restructures and the deployment of people management initiatives
  • Ensuring an agile HR infrastructure is in place to support the fast changing nature of the business
  • Assessing the effectiveness of the Catapult’s EVP, making recommendations for improvement and creating new ways of continuously developing current staff whilst attracting and retaining key talent
  • Managing, developing, motivating and inspiring a small HR team

About You

Required Skills and Experience

  • CIPD qualified with a solid track record in all aspects of HR including recruitment, HR operations, employee relations, compensation, benefits and employee communications
  • Demonstrable experience of managing an HR department
  • Ability to multi-task, work under pressure and drive the HR agenda
  • Evidence of leading the implementation of HR policies, procedures, and interventions
  • Evidence of having an innovative approach to HR and challenging the status quo
  • Ability to build relationships, coach and influence at all levels
  • Ability to exercise effective judgment, discretion, sensitivity, creativity to changing needs and situations
  • Strong proven HR leadership experience, with emphasis on Organisational Development, workforce talent planning and business orientation
  • Strong all round HR knowledge & experience with excellent exposure to generalist HR best practice and full operating understanding of employment law
  • Proven track record of successfully delivering operational as well as exec level strategic HR and engaging with the growth agenda of a business, with demonstrable experience of working with and influencing Executive Directors
  • Experience in supporting project led multi-organisational client groups with an ability to build momentum around shared vision, strategy and execution plans
  • Ability to create pragmatic solutions

Desired experience

  • Familiarity of implementing key programs with external partners – especially relevant is any work done with innovation clusters, start-ups, SMEs and research organisations
  • Coaching experience to senior stakeholders
  • Experience of developing high performing teams
  • Experience in building/maintaining/improving organizational culture, ideally in fast moving and changing environments


This is an exceptional opportunity for a forward thinking and creative HR professional to play a key part in supporting the Catapult in its next stage of development.

If you are up for the challenge and thrive in a fast-paced and creative environment, send your CV along with a covering letter to career@sa.catapult.org.uk

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