View Vacancy - CPK - Head of China and APAC Regional Lead for Energy & Low Carbon Transition for Scottish Development International (SDI), G7

The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer.  We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.
Other British Government Departments (Partners across Government, including UK Visas)
SDI (Scottish Development International)

Main purpose of job:

This is a high-profile position to a) represent SDI in China, where c12 trade and investment officers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong are working to grow Scotland’s commercial relations with China, and b) to lead SDI’s team of Energy & Low Carbon Transition sector in-market specialists across Asia Pacific, including India, Malaysia, Japan and Australia. 

This position can be based at the British Embassy in Beijing or British Consulate-General in Shanghai, reporting into SDI’s Global Head of Energy and Low Carbon Transition, who is based in Scotland.

Roles and responsibilities/what will the jobholder be expected to achieve?

Scottish Development International (SDI), headquartered in Glasgow with 100 staff overseas, is the Scottish Government’s international economic agency. Our mission is to support more Scottish companies to think, trade and compete globally, and to attract quality investment, innovation and talent into Scotland.

SDI is organised in a global matrix structure centred around two principal divisions, Trade (split into three main sector teams: Energy & Low Carbon Transition, Science & Technology, Consumer Industries) and Investment (split into two main functional teams: Lead Generation and Business Development).  

As such, your primary role will be to lead SDI’s Energy & Low Carbon Transition Team in Asia Pacific, while also managing SDI’s operations in China in a representational and administrative capacity. In other words, most of your SDI colleagues in China report into other team leaders in the region, while your direct reports are the energy & low carbon transition in market specialists located in multiple markets around Asia Pacific. 

It is therefore essential for the successful candidate to have experience of working in or managing a matrix structure, with a demonstrable record of leading and collaborating among multiple reporting lines, cultures and time zones. Furthermore, you are both a meticulous planner and effective communicator who has the ability to simultaneously manage multiple complex projects and priorities. 

As part of your overall skillset, you are a great relationship builder and people person with the confidence to engage with and influence stakeholders at the most senior levels. You will demonstrate excellent leadership credentials, strong commercial acumen, astute geopolitical awareness, and the dexterity to operate in a fast-paced and demanding environment.

1. Asia Pacific energy trade team leadership (70%)

The Energy and Low Carbon Transition Team in Asia Pacific team currently consists of five trade specialists in Beijing, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Perth (Western Australia) who are tasked with promoting Scotland’s capabilities in renewable energy, hydrogen and industrial decarbonisation to Asian governments and companies. 

In this capacity, you will set the strategic priorities and key performance indicators for the team on an annual basis, and input into longer-term operational planning as a member of SDI’s Global Management Team for Energy and Low Carbon Transition. You will work closely with each team member to identify near and long-term opportunities for Scottish energy and low carbon transition companies and help them secure new business through a range of support measures, including direct customer and stakeholder introductions, market entry advice, addressing market access and policy challenges, as well as events, visits and trade missions. 

You are expected to have sound knowledge of global and regional energy and climate change issues, and can speak with authority on Scotland’s overall low carbon transition proposition to senior stakeholders in government, business, academic and the media. You may also choose to pick up certain frontline trade development responsibilities yourself, for instance, with respect to markets in Asia Pacific where SDI doesn’t have colleagues on the ground, or sub-sectors that are not yet prioritised but ought to be explored and scoped. 

You will maintain strong links with GlobalScot, Scotland’s international network of senior Scottish business leaders and those with a strong connection to Scotland, which is managed by SDI. You will engage frequently with energy & low carbon transition focused GlobalScots in the Asia Pacific region and help to call upon their intervention where needed, for instance to support a specific company enquiry or influence senior stakeholders in their respective markets. 

As and when circumstances allow, you will be required to travel to other Asia Pacific markets where needs arise to support ministerial visits, local stakeholder engagement and trade missions. You will also visit Scotland for business and official engagements periodically. 

2. China country leadership (30%)

Your China responsibilities will mainly be to provide pastoral care to the team and represent them on operational and administrative matters within the UK FCDO China network. This requires the successful candidate to build and maintain a close working relationship with senior leadership at the UK Mission, relevant FCDO teams and the Department for International Trade, to ensure that SDI’s interests and aspirations are heard and addressed, and that SDI colleagues contribute proactively to broader FCDO corporate and social activities.

You are expected to establish a strong partnership with the Head of the Scottish Government Office in China, based at the British Embassy in Beijing, to jointly represent, communicate and deliver Scotland’s strategic interests in China. This will involve taking part in annual country business planning and performance review, briefing and hosting Scottish Government ministers and senior officials, and organising Brand Scotland promotional activities and events such as St. Andrews, Burns and the Highland Games. 

You may occasionally be required to represent SDI’s other functional teams (Science & Technology, Consumer Industries, Investment) in senior-level meetings and travel to other Chinese regions. You will also be SDI’s main interlocutor in China for other key partners outwith the UK Mission, including VisitScotland, GlobalScots, British Chambers of Commerce, China-Britain Business Council, and other Scottish and Chinese business chambers and trade associations.

You will line manage a dedicated operations and marketing officer, based in Shanghai, whose role is to promote SDI activities in China and deliver an internal communications service to all China-based trade and investment colleagues, namely through WeChat, Weibo, LinkedIn and third-party media collaboration.

Resources managed (staff and expenditure):

  • Direct reports: 5 x energy trade specialists (Beijing, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Perth) and 1 x operations and marketing officer (Shanghai)
  • Budgets: 5 budgets totalling around £250,000 per annum


  • English - fluent
  • Chinese - business proficiency

Essential on Arrival:

  • Sound knowledge of China’s economy, political and culture
  • Sound knowledge of Scotland’s economic development, trade and investment
  • Demonstrable experience of business, project and people management in a large organisation
  • Demonstrable skills in communicating and negotiating with senior stakeholders


  • Open to UK nationals only.


  • Expert knowledge of the energy industry in Asia Pacific
  • Experience of working in the UK or Scottish public sector
Seeing the Big Picture, Making Effective Decisions, Leadership, Communicating and Influencing
2 September 2022
Grade 7 (G7)
Fixed Term
24 months
Asia Pacific
Beijing, Shanghai
British Embassy
Expats: 51,981
10 October 2022

We offer a competitive package which includes –

  • An abated monthly salary of CNY 51,981 per month for British Nationals 
  • Commercial insurance package including accidental, life, medical and business travel insurance
  • 22 days annual leave entitlement in pro-rata which increases by 0.5 per full calendar year worked up to maximum of 25 days
  • We offer different types of compulsory leave in accordance to Chinese law, e.g. Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Marriage Leave, Parental leave, etc.
  • In addition to the above compulsory leave, we also offer other types of leaves with pay e.g. Study Leave, Volunteering Leave to support staff who undertakes volunteering activities, Special Paid Leave to deal with emergencies involving a close family member, and more.
  • Employee Assistance Programme which is a confidential service providing help, support and information to staff to resolve and manage situations causing concern whether at work or personal nature is available to staff 24/7;
  • There is also plenty of opportunity to develop on and off the job, and establish expertise and build capability. We are strongly supportive of the job holder continuing to develop their professional skills. The Mission encourages a blended learning culture based on the 70/20/10 model which includes e-learning, mentoring, coaching, other development activities and role-specific required trainings. This offer also includes supporting staff members to take part in a 5 days of learning activities each year.
  • For more details on our Total Rewards Package, please visit our website 

Learning and development opportunities:

The FCDO & SDI offers time and financial support for the successful candidate to take advantage of professional learning and development opportunities inside and outside of the organisation.

Working Patterns:

Conditioned working hours is 35 hours/week from Monday to Friday and flexible working can be arranged upon personal needs.

Other Information:

Please take note that this is a 2-year contract with possibility for extension.

Employment offers are subject to successful clearance of pre-employment and security checks.

Staff who are locally recruited by the British Embassy are subject to Terms and Conditions of Service according to local Chinese employment law.

No accommodation or relocation expenses are payable in connection with this position. 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. Any costs related to obtaining or renewing permits and visas are the responsibility of the successful applicant.

British Embassy Beijing is an equal opportunities employer and does not discriminate on grounds of ethnic origin, race, religious beliefs, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

External Non-Chinese National Candidates

Diplomatic rules in China do not allow the British Embassy to employ nationals from third countries without holding a diplomatic passport.

Due to local Government measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including strict entry restrictions, applicants who are non-Chinese nationals are likely to face significant obstacles when seeking residence permits, or travel into China. Please familiarise yourself with the latest restrictions and processes before applying. The British Embassy and Consulates General cannot cover the cost of transport, quarantine or accommodation for applicants who require work permits. 

Please note that your application must be submitted before 23:55 on the day mentioned in the above field "Application deadline."

Please be aware that the deadline for submitting applications is considered to be the time zone for the country where the vacancy has arisen.

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The start date mentioned in the job advert is a tentative start date and the successful candidate will be required to undergo security vetting procedures. Any offer of employment will be subject to the candidate achieving suitable clearances.

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This opportunity is closed to applications.