Exclusive: IfA turns to headhunters after failing to recruit a permanent CEO


The Institute for Apprenticeships has failed to appoint a permanent chief executive, FE Week can reveal.

A job advert for the top position at the new institute was first launched in April, with a submissions deadline date of May 22.

A person for the role should have been appointed by now, but having failed to do so the IfA has turned to Odgers Berndtson, a major recruitment firm, for help.

In an email sent last week to a sector leader and seen by FE Week, a recruiter from the company says: “I wanted to make contact about a chief executive opportunity I am working on for the Institute for Apprentices.

“Whilst I appreciate you have just moved into a new role, I would be keen to have a word to seek your thoughts and expert opinion on this assignment and see if anyone within your network you may think is suited towards this role.”

A spokesperson for the IfA then confirmed to FE Week today that the institute is still actively  looking for chief executive applicants.

“We received a good response to the advert and have a strong field for the post,” he said. “At present the competition remains ongoing and as part of the process we have used headhunters. The institute remains committed to filling the post as soon as possible.”

The spokesperson added that in the meantime, Peter Lauener will remain as interim chief executive for the institute and he has “made it clear that he is happy to remain in post until the next chief executive is appointed to ensure continuity of leadership”.

The IfA launched in April and is expected to have an annual budget of around £8 million and up to 80 staff.

The chief executive position is only a fixed term contract, of up to five years, with a salary of up to £142,500.

According to the email sent by Odgers Berndtson, the boss of the IfA will have a role in “developing and managing effective relationships with senior stakeholders, seeking to bring them on board and win their commitment to the functions of the Institute, including how those might evolve over time”.

It adds: “The chief executive will be expected to be a visible and authoritative presence on the public stage and in engaging with senior figures in the private and public sector, and will be a credible figure with employers.”

In April, the government appointed Antony Jenkins as permanent chair of the IfA, as well as the chairs for 15 route panels, and a panel of apprentices to advise the board.

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