View Vacancy - Sector Director: Healthcare and Life Sciences – Department for International Trade (28/20 JHB)

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Department for International Trade roles (DIT)
Department for International Trade (DIT)


The UK Department for International Trade has a committed and growing presence across 23 of Africa’s nations. As the UK Government Department promoting free trade and overseas investment, we want to support the development of strong, prosperous and peaceful African nations, through modern, dynamic and long-term partnerships that deliver mutual benefit for the UK and Africa.

The UK believes that by understanding and supporting African-led ambitions, we can help Africa create sustainable trade, prosperity, jobs and livelihoods. That in turn will be of benefit to the UK and wider global community. We aspire to help tackle business environment issues, help introduce commercial solutions to meet African needs, and attract foreign investment to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This substantially ODA funded role will offer the jobholder the opportunity to help shape that partnership in a crucial, fast developing and deeply contextual relevant sector – healthcare and life sciences.

The jobholder will join a dynamic network of committed trade officers working to support Africa’s exciting economic growth and position at the heart of the future world economy. This is an exciting time to join DIT Africa, as we continue to expand our resources to deliver on the ambition of our current Government to be Africa’s trade and investment partner of choice.

Roles and responsibilities:
You will be responsible for leading and delivering DIT Africa’s Sector work on healthcare and life sciences – driving commercial results and acting as a lead technical specialist in this crucial and fast moving sector.

The core of the job will be to understand for key African markets their healthcare and life sciences ambitions and plans. From this the job holder, managing and leading a pan-Africa virtual sector team, will identify the opportunities to support strengthened and equitable health systems with a view especially to the commercial solutions that could be offered, the areas where investment could have real impact, and the practical improvements to regulatory and market structures that could be advocated for to support trade and prosperity.

Your aim will be to help African partners develop the sustainable health systems and HCLS solutions that will be needed to meet predicted steep increases in demand. You will also consider where UK or regional trade agreements could support growth for the sector.

You will determine which markets should be a priority for healthcare and life sciences support and interventions based on prospective sector growth and opportunity. And within and across those markets, you will develop a pipeline of the key opportunities where commercial partners and investors are sought or could assist. Where financing is required, you will work with UK Government partners including UKEF and DFID to identify sources of finance in support.

Working with the DIT sector team on healthcare and life sciences in the UK, you will spend a portion of your time marrying African needs to UK solutions, exploring UK capability, and building commercial partnerships for the UK – including where UK expertise can be used (for example by matching the substantial capability and world leading innovation in the NHS, Public Health England, NHSX, etc.) to develop African capability.

You will do this working through your virtual team across the continent, providing them with direction, helping to upskill them, and ensuring a consistent high standard of delivery and service.

You will develop and deliver a clear sector specific delivery plan with clear goals, milestones and deliverables; including providing an analytical view of the areas where you believe the UK has something to offer.

You will develop a strategic relationship management approach for the top African producers and firms, and the same for our UK companies working to support healthcare and life sciences.

You will ensure alignment with other HMG work streams where for example Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes are focused on healthcare and life sciences and will explore the role of partnerships between UK Public Bodies and African counterparts.

  • Postgraduate degree or undergraduate degree and other relevant professional qualification or experience
  • At least three years’ experience working in an healthcare and life sciences or trade and investment field
  • Experience of leading teams across Africa and proven leadership experience
  • Experience of working in or with government departments, NGOs, and similar institutions
  • Proven track record of cross-team collaboration
  • A positive, resilient, flexible and adaptable “can-do” attitude that can see way through challenges
  • Knowledge of, and a keen interest of the healthcare and life sciences field and the UK offer to business seeking to invest/export to Africa
  • Understanding of UK Export Finance however training will be provided for the successful candidate
  • Knowledge of, and a keen interest in, sustainable private sector led development
Making Effective Decisions, Leading and Communicating, Collaborating and Partnering, Achieving Commercial Outcomes
8 July 2020
C5 (L)
Fixed Term
12 months
South Africa
British High Commission
R 56,385.43
1 September 2020

Learning and development opportunities:

This role provides enormous opportunities to grow and develop given its pan-Africa leadership role.

You will have access to the full suite of DIT and FCO learning and development opportunities including the FCO’s Diplomatic Academy, training in the UK, and will be encouraged to join DIT’s trade profession. We also provide regular in-house learning opportunities and are committed to supporting further academic opportunities. Our staff who demonstrate great leadership potential are encouraged to apply for the FCO’s pan-African Emerging Leadership Programme.

The successful applicant will be expected to complete the Certificate in UK Export Finance within the first three months of the role.

The British High Commission pays in full for the Key Care Plus option on Discovery Health for staff including spouses/partners and dependants.

  • Once you have successfully completed your probation the British High Commission will contribute 9% of your monthly salary to a Provident Fund.
  • Annual leave entitlement of 25 days
  • Working hours per week of 36.5

Working patterns:

You may be required to work a few evenings each month.

You will be expected to undertake occasional travel to the UK and across Africa.

  • Please complete the application form in full as the information provided is used during screening.
  • Please check your application carefully before you submit, as no changes can be made once submitted.
  • The British High Commission will never request any payment or fees to apply for a position.
  • Employees recruited locally by the British High Commission in Pretoria are subject to Terms and Conditions of Service according to local employment law in South Africa.
  • All candidates must be legally able to work and reside in the country of the vacancy with the correct visa/work permit status or demonstrate eligibility to obtain the relevant permit. 
  • The responsibility lies on the successful candidate to;
  • Obtain the relevant permit
  • Pay fees for the permit
  • Make arrangements to relocate
  • Meet the costs to relocation 
  • The British High Commission do not sponsor visas/work permits except where it may be local practice to do so. 
  • Employees who are not eligible to pay local income tax: e.g. certain third-country nationals and spouses/partners of UK diplomats will have their salaries abated by an equivalent amount.
  • Information about the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Competency Framework can be found on this link: Please note:  AA=A1, AO=A2, EO=B3, HEO=C4, SEO=C5
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This opportunity is closed to applications.