Operational Excellence Academy Lead

Operational Excellence Academy Lead

Haywards Heath or Manchester
£70,000 - £90,000 per annum dependant on experience
Business Services JFG
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We’re First Central Insurance & Technology Group (First Central for short), an award-winning innovative insurance and technology organisation, delivering market-leading motor insurance, underwriting, distribution, finance, technology and legal services.

Are you looking for a new career with a fast-growing, dynamic company? Well look no further! We need an Operational Excellence Academy Lead to join our Operational Excellence team in either Salford Quays, Manchester or Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

At First Central, we have our own unique approach to continuous improvement. We’re on a journey to better ways of working, taking and applying what works from various bodies of knowledge – Lean, Agile and Systems Thinking. Our Academy Lead is accountable for developing the standards that support the Operational Excellence (Lean Agile) approach and framework across the business. This includes defining the Operational Excellence syllabus, capability building framework, design standards and supporting materials. The role is also accountable for the definition and delivery of the sustainability framework, facilitating activities to ensure the infrastructure and capabilities are in place across the organisation to sustain and continuously improve.

To be successful in this role, you’ll need to:

  • Develop the standards that support The First Central Way of Working (i.e. the Operational Excellence / Lean Agile approach and framework across the business). This includes defining the Operational Excellence / Lean Agile syllabus, capability building framework, design standards and supporting materials
  • Define and deliver the lean agile sustainability framework, facilitating activities to ensure the infrastructure and capabilities are in place across the organisation to sustain improvements in delivery of value , flow and quality
  • Define and facilitate the implementation of the Operational Excellence / Lean Agile accreditation approach, including management of the Lean Competency System process and evolving the accreditation approach to reflect other bodies of knowledge, with a specific initial focus on Agile working

Job Responsibilities:

  • Defining the Continuous Improvement syllabus across various levels of the organisation
  • Facilitate the development of Continuous Improvement skills across the practitioner population and the general population relative to the defined syllabus
  • Define and facilitate the implementation of the Operational Excellence accreditation approach
  • Create & maintain the standard materials associated with the development of Continuous Improvement capability building  
  • Facilitate the maintenance of all design standards for Operational Excellence across the organisation, ensuring appropriate change control is in place
  • Head up a sustainability forum where Workplace Assessment outputs across the organisation are reviewed for consistency of approach, ensuring best practice is shared and actions to close identified gaps are defined
  • Lead Operational Excellence projects as required to achieve defined targets across Cost, Quality and on time Delivery, ensuring there is solid sustainability
  • Support the Operational Excellence team in creating a culture of Operational Excellence through coaching and mentoring of colleagues
  • Build effective working relationships and influence across all levels of the business, fostering an open and collaborative culture
  • Ensure compliance with organisational and regulatory procedures to improve risk management and ensure strong audit performance
  • Any other reasonable duties as required

Job Specific Competencies:


  • Lean/Six-Sigma/Process Re-engineering/Continuous Improvement specialist, demonstrable track record of being able to effectively apply the theory to practice
  • Experience of establishing a culture of Continuous Improvement, by developing internal capability through up-skilling existing people
  • Experience of designing & delivering Continuous Improvement materials to build capabilities across various levels of an organisation, including Manager & Senior Leader population
  • Strong stakeholder management experience, to ensure differing points of view are brought together to move them forward
  • Disciplined with clear plans and excellent execution capability
  • Experience in leading people through cultural change


  • People management and project leadership skills, and ability to motivate employees in a high pressurised environment
  • Strong technical Continuous Improvement skills with proven track record of delivery
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, both verbal and written
  • Strong influencing and persuasion skills with the ability to overcome objections and negotiate right outcomes
  • Self-motivated and able to self-direct


  • Solid understanding of lean, six sigma and systems thinking principles
  • Strong understanding of the Company objectives and operations
  • Good understanding of regulatory requirements specific to the Company and the functions under control


  • Customer focused and passionate about the achieving the right customer outcomes
  • Commercial awareness and acumen with the ability to plan and deliver profit improvement activities
  • Self-motivated and enthusiastic
  • Target driven, and results focused, striving to drive improvements that contribute to the success of the business
  • Organised and pro-active approach to tasks, taking initiative to make decisions
  • Flexible approach to work and adopts a positive attitude, embracing, embedding and incorporating the Company values
  • Strives to drive business improvements and contribute to the success of the business

Are you the person we’re looking for? If so, we look forward to hearing from you. Apply today!

We pride ourselves on being a great place to work. Check out our Glassdoor page to see what our employees think about working here.

What can we do for you?

We believe we can offer you a great working environment as we’re so passionate about our people. Here are just some of the benefits and perks that we offer…

  • Fantastic training and development opportunities
  • Employee benefit packages to suit your lifestyle
  • Flexible working
  • YOUday – we give you an extra day off to celebrate a special day
  • The opportunity to take a paid day off each year to do charity work
  • A health cash plan
  • Help with travel expenses
  • The opportunity to buy additional holiday
  • Company pension scheme
  • Group life assurance
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity pay
  • Professional subscription fees paid

Employee wellbeing is high on the agenda here too. We provide discounted membership at a local health club and access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which promotes physical and emotional wellbeing at work and at home. In addition, we provide wellbeing events throughout the year to support physical and mental health.

For further information on what we can offer and to learn more about this role, feel free to contact our dedicated Talent team.

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86% of people would recommend a friend to work at First Central

Based on 164 Glassdoor reviews (March 2022)


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Flexible working

We support colleagues who wish to work flexibly whilst meeting the needs of the business.


If it’s your birthday or you just fancy some me-time, get an extra day off for whatever you want.

Holiday Extra

We give you two opportunities each year to buy or sell up to five days of holiday.


Get a day off each year to take part in volunteering activities.

Health cash plan

Claim money back on your healthcare costs, such as dental check-ups and eye tests.

Season ticket loan

We provide interest-free loans to cover the cost of season tickets for rail, bus or car parking.