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Head of Programme Office - Warhead

Reading / Basingstoke area
Closing date
15 Mar 2024

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Project Management
Full Time
Flexible working available
Contract Type

Job Details

What if you could work with remarkable people on extraordinary things? What if the end result was something a little bit special? What if your role was mission critical?

For nearly 70 years, AWE has been at the forefront of nuclear weapons research and development. We have a critical mission: to provide the warheads for the UK’s ultimate deterrent - Trident. We also use our unique skills to provide wider UK government with counter-terrorism and nuclear threat reduction solutions.

It takes a special sort of person to work at AWE. What if that person was you?

It’s an exciting time to join us at AWE - following the Parliamentary announcement, the Replacement Warhead Programme was initiated. In this role, you will have the opportunity to be a key leader and contributor to what is a once in a generation endeavour for AWE and the UK. AWE are looking for a Head of Programme Office. This position will be part of the Replacement Warhead Senior Leadership team.

The Head of Programme Office - Warhead will lead the development of the Programme PMO services into the Delivery Programme Managers and lead the programme management information and governance cadence. There will be significant Programme and Project Controls leadership and management into the programme and across the wider Defence Nuclear Enterprise. This role will work with the RW Senior Leadership Team members to gather complex data across multiple functional expertise areas, to provide clear and coherent management information as well as offer alternative recommendations that achieve the programme benefits. This role will also interface and work with the wider AWE and Defence Nuclear Enterprise transformation teams where programme changes impact.

Location - Reading / Basingstoke area

Package - Competitive leadership salary depending on experience, performance related bonus, flexible benefit scheme

As part of our People Promise, AWE (one of the best 25 big companies to work for in the UK) has a range of benefits to suit you. These include:
  • Time to recharge your batteries with 270 hours of annual leave (plus every other Friday off work)
  • Consideration for flexible working arrangements so that your work may fit in with your lifestyle.
  • Opportunities for Professional Career Development that include funding for the annual membership of a relevant professional body, access to mentors and training
  • Employee Assistance Programme and Occupational Health Services
  • A generous defined contribution Group Personal Pension (we will pay between 9% and 13% of your pensionable pay depending on your own contribution)
  • Life Assurance
  • Discounts - access to savings on a wide range of everyday spending
  • Special Leave Policy including paid time off for volunteering, public service (including reserve forces) and caring for your family
  • A host of voluntary & core benefits to suit your health and wellbeing - more information available on our careers site

What will you be required to do?
  • Accountable to the RW Programme Director for providing strategic operational leadership of the Programme Office within RW Programme
  • Enable efficient and effective Programme Office capabilities of PMO specialisms, e.g. planning, risk, cost management, configuration, change, reporting, resourcing, Strategic Workforce Planning, functional engagement and outcome management, knowledge transfer management, RW programme IT services
  • Identify and encourage continuous improvement and innovation such that the RW programme shares and applies best practice with the AWE ePMO for wider business benefit
  • Ensure effective resource management of Programme Office staff are deployed across RW programme, including ensuring optimum supply practices, organisational design, talent management, development and associated programme Gate Review assurance and governance arrangements
  • Provide leadership on the management of the PMO industry relationships with AWE’s key stakeholders to ensure that key strategic alignment is achieved
  • Facilitate business discussions between functions, sub-functions and the supply chain to drive resource prioritisation decisions
  • Design, publish and drive an RW Programme Office strategy to ensure that RW are data enabled to make data driven decisions.

Whilst not to be considered a check list, candidates should be able to demonstrate some of the following:
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent experience
  • Professional Qualification in Project Management, Project Controls or Risk Management
  • Excellent communications skills - able to inspire, motivate and engage widely across the business
  • Extensive Change management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, negotiation and organisational skills
  • Strong analytical skills and data manipulation
  • Ability to manage and interpret information, seek advice, and make timely and appropriate decisions. Strong leadership skills in driving high performance
  • Knowledge of the external marketplace and development outside of AWE and its influence and impact on the Programme
  • Experience of leading a complex product delivery programme/project office
  • Experience in leading team performance and delivery, effectively assigning and organising workloads appropriately to manage delivery within legislative requirements, code of practice recommendations and company expectations
  • Knowledge of the regulatory bodies that deal with AWE and the relevant processes that need to be adhered to

Closing date - 14/3/24

All candidates must be willing and able to obtain and maintain the necessary security clearance for the role.


Please note that you must be a British National to apply for a role with us.

Our ambition is to create workplaces where we recognise and celebrate differences, encourage diverse contributions and our employees feel able to be themselves at work. We strive to create a genuine culture of openness and inclusion and encourage diverse applicants. Any inclusion information you provide us will be used to encourage and support you through the application process and will be held only for this purpose in accordance with GDPR.


AWE are excited to launch our first Returner Programme, in partnership with, which is designed to support experienced professionals return to their field following a career break.

The programme will be a 1 year fixed term contract on either a full or part time basis with the possibility of transitioning into a permanent role at the end of the contract.

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