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Head of Lifeboats

Closing date
1 Dec 2021

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Contract Type
Full Time
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The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. We are founded upon and driven by our values of selflessness, courage, dependability, and trustworthiness; our volunteers are at our heart.

RNLI volunteers and staff have been keeping people safe for 197 years. Their courage and professionalism have saved over 143,100 lives. Today we are busier than ever, and we are there for everyone and anyone who needs us. In 2020, RNLI lifeboat crews rescued or assisted over 8,300 people, plus our lifeguards helped over 25,100 people. We are more than a rescue service. The RNLI also works with communities to prevent drowning by influencing, supervising, and educating people. We share our expertise internationally too. We give support to countries where drowning rates are significant, and work with like-minded organisations to save lives. We build our own state-of-the-art rescue craft.

Our volunteers are the keystone of our charity, supported by expert staff. Around 95% of RNLI people are volunteers, including around 5,600 lifeboat crew members and 23,000 community fundraisers. Thousands more dedicated volunteers raise awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops, and offices.

Our charity is constantly evolving and learning so that we can work towards achieving our vision To Save Every One.

This is an exceptionally exciting time for a highly capable leader to join the crew and help us move towards a more regional way of working so we can even better support our volunteers and staff to be able to do all they need to do, in order to save more lives as one crew.

The Role

The Head of Lifeboats will save lives at sea by leading the development of, and engagement in, the strategy and standards setting in relation to the lifeboat service across the UK and Ireland. You will ensure that we have what we need to deliver an effective, safe, and compliant search and rescue service.

Reporting into the Lifesaving Operations Director as part of the senior leadership team, you will play a pivotal role in delivering our lifesaving effect strategy alongside the Head of Water Safety and Head of Lifeguard Services. You will also collaborate with the Heads of Regions to ensure that regional priorities are translated into strategies and long-range plans that assure clear decision making within the 24/7 search and rescue service in the UK and Ireland.

A key component of this role is engaging technical teams responsible for the design, build and delivery of lifeboats and ancillary equipment, you will enter these conversations credibly from a place of collaboration and understanding. This role also requires extensive liaison with our legal, regulatory, governmental, and associated industry partners which are vast and far reaching, both in the UK and Ireland, and internationally.

Working in partnership with multidisciplinary teams and agencies, you will leverage your extensive knowledge of the maritime industry to ensure the floating capability of the RNLI is operating to the appropriate standards and has the strategic vision to evolve to meet the future needs of the RNLI.

About You

As an accomplished leader with extensive maritime experience, you will thrive on managing, developing, motivating, and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams, including technical maritime professionals, both internally and externally.

You will be setting the strategy for the future of the RNLI's search and rescue service, and so you will be accomplished at engaging the organisation at all levels around the strategic vision, bringing it to life for all parties. Naturally a critical and strategic thinker, you will also embody a collaborative leadership style.

Acting with authority on matters which relate to the RNLI and its lifesaving operations, you will be comfortable speaking publicly as a senior media spokesperson when required.

  • A professional maritime qualification and / or demonstrable maritime experience in the search and rescue environment.

  • Maritime industry experience preferably with coastal command.
  • Senior leadership and influencing skills gained in a multi-functional organisation.
  • Proven strategic leadership capability within a complex organisational environment.
  • Ability to lead, manage, develop, and motivate multidisciplinary teams.
  • Commercial acumen with prior responsibility for financial and resource budgets.
  • Experience of change leadership and delivering programmes and projects.

The RNLI supports flexibility in your working preferences.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

At the RNLI we believe that equality, diversity, and inclusion is not just the right thing, it is essential for all our people, the sustainability of the RNLI and it will mean we have the best people to help us deliver our organisational goals.

We know that it takes a wide range of diverse minds, cultures, and experiences to effectively connect with different audiences and communities, that is why we welcome applicants with talent from all diverse backgrounds.

We aim to foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable and valued. We want people who volunteer or come to work to be able to give their best because we know that we are all better when we can be ourselves. We want everyone at the RNLI to feel proud of their uniqueness
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