Director of Engineering and Supply
Poole, Dorset
Excellent Salary & Benefits

About us

The RNLI is a charity that provides a 24-hour rescue service in the UK and Ireland, seasonal lifeguards, water safety teams and a flood rescue response. Volunteers make up 95% of our organisation and are supported by expert staff, all working together to help communities at home and abroad save lives. RNLI crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives since 1824; most of these lives were saved with the aid of, or from the equipment and facilities provided by the Engineering and Supply department.

We are proud to have 431 active lifeboats, 238 lifeboat stations, and three production facilities for building all-weather lifeboats, inshore lifeboats, and lifeboat launch and recovery systems, all to our own bespoke designs. In addition to this there are; lifeguard units and equipment, personal watercraft and road vehicles. Engineering and Supply is responsible for, all the repairs, maintenance, safety, quality, design authority, procurement, logistics, estates, and asset management support to keep our lifesaving service running. We also carry out research and design development into new technologies in the search and rescue field.

We are seeking a new Director of Engineering and Supply to lead and inspire this multi-disciplined department to deliver high quality, trusted and sustainable solutions to allow us to continue saving lives today and for generations to come.

Your role

As a member of the Executive Team who reports to the CEO, you will play a leading part in developing and delivering the RNLI’s vision and strategy and you will be the principal engineering advisor for the RNLI.

You will lead and have accountability for the Engineering and Supply department and the assets needed to support the RNLI’s lifesaving activities. You will be responsible for ensuring that our lifeboat stations, lifeboats, lifesaving equipment and assets are acquired, built, delivered, managed, and maintained as efficiently as possible.

You will lead with impact, adding value through inspiring, coaching and developing your team. By investing in your team’s progression and creating new opportunities and prospects for future successors, enhance and broaden the team’s capacity and capability.

Responsibilities and accountabilities

In this extraordinarily broad role as Director of Engineering and Supply, your key areas of focus will be on strategy, leadership, and governance. You will:

  • Provide strategic leadership to the Engineering and Supply directorate, via six direct reports and an indirect team of 500, with overall responsibility for the performance of this critical function.

  • Take an active role as part of the Executive Team in the development of the RNLI’s strategic direction by providing expertise in innovation, planning, risk assessment and sustainability.

  • Manage strategy and planning for solutions that are manufactured to design specification.

  • Be accountable for the design authority and its application for all RNLI operational assets.

  • Oversee large scale projects and programmes in Engineering and Supply or that impact the department.

  • Promote and assure the safety and compliance of RNLI assets and processes throughout all parts of their lifecycle.

 About you

You are a collaborative, inspirational, and passionate leader with strong communication skills. A champion of equality, diversity, and inclusion who is confident and proactive in shaping and enhancing strategic leadership. You must be an engineering professional who is able to guide and motivate the Engineering and Supply team in delivering the highest levels of equipment and technical capability to the RNLI’s volunteers and staff across multiple regions.

To be considered as our Director of Engineering and Supply you will need:

  • Significant people and business leadership experience.

  • To have led large and diverse multi-disciplined and multi-site teams.

  • Knowledge, understanding (and ideally experience) of production and design authority.

  • To be a Chartered Engineer or hold substantial hands-on engineering experience.

  • Experience of planning and managing significant financial budgets and procurement negotiations.

  • Experience of driving organisational effectiveness through future industry innovation.

  • Strong stakeholder management experience and to be a collaborative leader who can establish effective working relationships at all levels within the organisation.

  • Knowledge of the duties, responsibilities, and liabilities of board level directors.

  • The capacity to think strategically and to analyse and solve highly complex problems, finding new solutions and breaking new ground where required.

  • Experience in developing partnerships and networks within organisations and industry.

This complex and demanding job requires an exceptional leader. In return, you will be part of an extraordinary team and have the satisfaction of playing a significant role in achieving the RNLI’s goals and, most importantly, saving lives.

A home location in the south of the Country will be optimum for the position, to enable significant time to be spent in Poole.

An excellent salary and benefits are on offer.

How to Apply

All applications will receive an automated response.

If you are unable to apply online, please email your application to

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All candidates are also requested to complete an online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form which will be found at the end of the application process.

For detailed information on how we process your personal data, please review our privacy policy on our website

In line with GDPR, we ask that you do NOT send us any information that can identify children or any of your Sensitive Personal Data (racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, data concerning health or sex life and sexual orientation, genetic and/or biometric data) in your CV and application documentation. Following this notice, any inclusion of your Sensitive Personal Data in your CV/application documentation will be understood by us as your express consent to process this information going forward. Please also remember to not mention anyone’s information or details (e.g., referees) who have not previously agreed to their inclusion.

Our staff and volunteers have been saving lives at sea without prejudice for nearly 200 years. We respect and value diversity of background, skills and perspectives within our teams, and consider it essential to help us deliver a world-class lifesaving service. We are an inclusive organisation and welcome applications from everyone. In addition to having the skills needed for the role, we also look for applicants who share our commitment to living our RNLI values (trustworthy, courageous, selfless, and dependable), and helping us work towards Our Vision: To save every one.

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