Job title: Head of Country - Central Asia
Job type: Permanent
Emp type: Full-time
Location: Kazakhstan
Salary type: Annual
Salary: Negotiable
Job published: 2019-01-16
Job ID: 32050
Contact name: Angela Thomas
Contact email:

Job Description

Paramount International Careers is the exclusive recruitment partner  to Acumen Education - a leading international portfolio of schools, universities and training centres. 


Acumen Education are currently recruiting for a Head of Country for their Central Asia operation. This is a newly created position and will be appointed to facilitate the rapid growth Acumen Education is experiencing in this region. 


Role Purpose


The Head of Country – Central Asia will be responsible for the delivery of the vision, mission and values of Acumen Education within the region. This role will oversee multiple and varied projects in education and training including growing and managing the Acumen Education portfolio of schools, universities  and training services, working in partnership with local authorities and education ministries as part of the regions overall development strategy. The role will also include managing new school and university builds and scoping new investment opportunities including tenders and bids for government education contracts. The successful candidate will strategically direct and plan these projects focusing on three key objectives; an excellent education experience, value creation and continued scalable and sustainable growth.  

Key Responsibilities


Vision and Strategic Planning:

·         Work with the Education Team to develop the local country vision, strategy and business planning. To include budgeting and commercial leadership

·         To work alongside the London HQ to roll-out the strategy and business plan;

·         To maintain, develop and enhance the performance and reputation of the Schools and universities in the country and internationally

·         To drive the commercial viability of the business.

·         To develop key partnerships with local education businesses

·         To work closely with local education ministries and scope and secure government contracts for educational services


Business Development & Management:

  • Ensure that the schools, universities, educational services and contracts are commercially viable;
  • To create and deliver robust turnaround strategies;
  • Work with the Education Team on business planning – develop 1-3-year plan;
  • Ensure that weekly cash flows, monthly management accounts and quarterly balance sheets are produced locally and communicated to Head Office;
  • Monthly presentation of quantitative and qualitative results analysis and presentation: P/L – Cash flow; actual v budget; business plan update and situation analysis;
  • Communicate outlook and changes to the economic and political outlook of the territory;
  • Problem solving and issue resolution – work with local staff, regulatory bodies as required; Manage reputational risk;
  • Manage any capital investment projects e.g. school builds;
  • Ensure that fit for purpose systems, processes and controls are in place; Ensure that operational risk management is in place; Ensure that change management is undertaken.
  • Manage the procurement and delivery of government education contracts



·         Understand all aspects of public relations in a sensitive context and environment.

·         Ensure that PR and marketing functions are developed and in place; this includes social media strategy;

·         Have the ability to articulate the vision of the education assets to existing parents, prospective parents and the wider communities across country.

·         Internal reporting: Provide information and advice to the Board on all aspects of the school group and its schools.

·         Communicate effectively to all involved in the work and education of the group

·         Stay well informed of current and future trends in education, political and economic outlook of the territory.



·         To have the ability to manage the security issues that apply to the operation of the education group.

·         To ensure robust systems for the recruitment of all staff.

·         To stay well informed of all possible technological and practical developments to ensure the safety of all aspects of the operation of the educational assets within the group.

·         To be aware of political and social developments that apply to the context of the schools and their localities.

·         To liaise with all stakeholders and information sources relating to security.



Education (to be delivered through the team of Educationalists):

·         Develop an education quality assurance framework to create an environment within the Schools/Universities and Government contracts that prioritises student achievement

·         Monitor the quality of the education

·         Review curricula offered annually and ensure that it is delivered by combining outstanding, visionary and creative teaching.

·         Oversee the setting of challenging educational targets for all to ensure they are prepared for the range of examinations on offer.

·         Monitor the quality of learning, teaching, student development and achievement across the education group.


Person Specification 


The successful candidate must:

·         Be dynamic and business minded professional who is prepared to operate as a strategic leader and lead a business turnaround

·         Be educated to further degree level

·         Possess high quality and proven experience of leadership

·         Hold a mature and incisive grasp of management issues including the management of change and delegation

·         A track record of delivering commercial success and business improvement / turnaround

·         Be analytical, proven track record of working at a strategic and operational level

·         Have highly developed interpersonal skills

·         Demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity

·         Be able to manage the special challenges and privileges of leading this school group in challenging emerging markets

·         Demonstrate political balance and subtlety.

·         Remain aware and sensitive to the culture of the schools and the context within which the school group operates.

·         Have creative flair, courage, determination and enthusiasm.

·         Have energy, drive and excellent problem-solving abilities.


Additional Desirable criteria

·         Hands on experience of business turnaround

·         Knowledge of contemporary educational issues.

·         Demonstrate success in leadership within an outstanding large school or organisation, e.g. a group of schools, from K-12.

·         Experience of working in an international environment


If this role is of interest to you and you believe you have the necessary skills and experience, please apply through LinkedIn only and submit a full copy of your CV.


You must be either living in Astana or open to relocating to Astana.