Director of Programmes

About Theirworld

Founded 22 years ago, Theirworld has grown to become a leading global children’s charity committed to the best start in life for children and young people by ending the education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation.

If you care about issues like climate change, gender equality, inclusion, helping refugees and ensuring the voices of young people are represented at all levels of decision-making, then education is the key to unlocking big change in these areas. If you want to make change happen, join us!

We believe in unlocking big change from a supportive and inclusive environment. This is why, in 2024, we are in the second year of an innovative 4-day-working-week trial which sees all employees working Monday to Thursday with the office closed on most Fridays.

This is in addition to hybrid working with most staff taking one day a week based in the office.

Other benefits include:

  • Regular in-house training
  • Travel
  • Central London location: 5 mins from Liverpool St Station and Shoreditch High Street
  • Highly competitive salaries

About the role

As Theirworld embarks on its five-year strategy and grows as an organisation, we are seeking an individual with problem-solving mindset and ability to take initiative and “think outside the box” to lead a team of dedicated professionals to oversee all aspects of our projects, advocacy, campaigns, and research.

Based in London, the primary focus of the position will be to grow a thriving and impactful project portfolio with a talented group of projects managers and consultants. Theirworld supports dozens of delivery projects each year in the UK and globally impacting the lives of more than 1.6 million teachers, children and youth. Our education projects are delivered through implementing organisations and currently focus on Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South Asia. Last year, we administered about 35 projects reaching our localisation target of supporting nearly 90% community-led organisations. Our projects fall under three thematic pillars: the best start in life, a safe place to learn, and skills for the future. Our Theirworld Education Innovation Awards offers non-profits, NGOs and charities in countries with marginalised learners the chance to secure five-figure scale-up grants, mentoring and masterclasses to help them expand their offerings so that more children get the opportunities they deserve. We have developed a growing cohort of local education delivery organisations with an increasing potential to harness this network of local entrepreneurs and experts for greater, collective change.

The secondary focus of the role will be to administer TheirworId’s campaign and research activities implemented by a senior team of staff members and consultants. Theirworld campaigns have led to the world’s largest petition for education and generated significant outcomes unlocking in hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for education. Its research programme produces high-quality, relevant, headline-making and policy-shaping evidence.

Reporting to the President, the ideal candidate will be versed in international development, global education, and possess a set of skills allowing them to strategically develop, nurture, and/or execute large-and-small-scale projects, campaigns, and research.

The individual will be a strategic thinker capable of thinking laterally across a variety of work streams to identify opportunities to harness projects to advance campaign and advocacy goals, advance our advocacy and campaign activities, and manage a pipeline of evidence and research to fuel both direct service delivery projects and campaign objectives.

The successful candidate will be able to deliver results aligned with the ambitious vision set by the Trustees for the organisation and have experience managing complex projects involving multiple stakeholders and achieving results. The ideal candidate will be able to develop and execute strategies with buy-in from internal and stakeholders and develop project timelines and deliver against key milestone.

The Director of Programmes will have a strategic understanding of the organisation’s needs, inspire team members, and possess the ability to influence stakeholders to support your vision. You will be skilled at overseeing high quality and engaging public-facing projects and campaigns across a broad geographical scope.

The ideal candidate will manage a fast-paced, dynamic team which is well-established and be able to shape its work to achieve even greater impact and effectiveness.

The individual will oversee a team of direct reports and various consultants, working on all areas of the programmatic and organizational work, including engagement with key youth, business, project partners, civil society, and government stakeholders. The Director of Programmes will work across time zones with teams, partners, and colleagues globally, including key staff and consultants currently based in the UK, United States, Africa, Asian and the Middle East.

As this role will oversee a diverse set of activities, we would welcome candidates with strong project development, implementation and growth experience who may also have research, programme administration, and campaign experience credentials.

Main responsibilities

The Director of Programmes will oversee projects, campaigns and advocacy, and research, focused on the following areas:

  1. Projects
    • Oversee the Theirworld project portfolio, further develop Theirworld’s project strategy and set goals aligned with the organisation’s vision and mission
    • Further support and grow our innovation and pilot project portfolio
    • Identify opportunities to sustainably grow and scale existing projects through greater reach and/or depth
    • With executive leadership, deliver occasional larger, strategic projects to advance education in response to pressing needs and opportunities arising in the current geo-political landscape
    • Liaise with the development team to identify new funding opportunities for projects
    • Contribute to overall strategy and annual budget processes
    • Ensure the appropriate systems and procedures are followed, ensuring best practices in project management, finance, and due-diligence
    • Maintain and build strong partnerships with our existing partners to build greater local capacity and unlock larger system change through project work
    • Monitor and implement the delivery of programmes to schedule, budget and to the highest level of quality
  2. Campaigns and Advocacy
    • Administer the teams implementing Theirworld’s campaigns, including the current Act For Early Years Campaign
    • Harness internal and external resources to help the campaign team advance campaign and advocacy objectives
    • Develop and deliver creative, effective campaign and advocacy plans
    • Conduct effective power-mapping and landscape analysis, identifying audiences, targets and effective tactics and approaches
    • Foster and maintain a strong global network with key influencers (e.g. governments, UN and multilateral organisations, businesses, media, NGOs and Foundations)
  3. Research
    • Identify opportunities to harness research to drive campaigns, youth engagement and influence policy and practice at scale
    • Oversee research partnerships, report production and project management
    • Manage research from conception and contracting to production and dissemination
    • Liaise with researchers, designers, internal stakeholders and communications teams
    • Ensure quality and accuracy of Theirworld research products
    • Implement a research pipeline which advances Theirworld’s core advocacy and campaign objectives, aligned with Theirworld’s tradition of making high-quality research accessible to policymakers and the general public.

Experience, skills and character

  • A problem-solving mindset and ability to take initiative and think outside the box.
  • 10+ years of relevant experience in government, non-profit, charity or relevant sector.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and inspire a team to create positive results.
  • Excellent written English and verbal communication skills.
  • Good negotiation skills.
  • Gravitas to confidently engage with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Determined, enthusiastic and proactive ‘can do’ attitude.
  • Excellent time management skills and ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously with ease.
  • Ability to work productively and positively with people at all levels and from all backgrounds.
  • Resilient, a self-starter and a team player.
  • Ability to execute effectively under tight deadlines, while staying organised and focused for results.
  • Direct relevant experience in education (or international development) and a strong passion and interest in these issues.
  • A collaborative, hands-on attitude and team-player approach.


Starting at £90,000 based on qualifications and experience.

Apply for this role

Please submit your CV and a covering email to [email protected] including the name of the role of interest in the subject line of your email.

Only open to applicants with the right to work in the UK.

Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is successfully filled.

If you have a disability and would prefer to apply in a different format or would like us to make any reasonable adjustments to enable you to apply or attend any interview, please let us know.