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Working at the SKA HQ

Working at the SKA Organisation Headquarters

SKA Headquarters building at Jodrell Bank Observatory

The SKA Headquarters building at Jodrell Bank Observatory, with the iconic Lovell telescope behind it.

 Be part of one of the most exciting scientific projects of the century

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over one million square metres of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a unique instrument. As one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the SKA is bringing together a wealth of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers. Discoveries made with the SKA are set to revolutionise our understanding of the Universe, driven by exciting questions we hope to answer such as how did stars and galaxies form and evolve? How were magnetic fields of stars and galaxies created? Do we need a new and more powerful theory of gravity? What is the nature of dark energy and dark matter? And how did life come to be in the Universe?

Be part of an international team

Working at the SKA Organisation HQ lets you experience the dynamics and diversity of a fast-growing international office, offering the highest degree of professionalism and expertise.

  • We are a fast-growing, dynamic, English-speaking office with international scope:
    • We work with colleagues in 20 countries around the world;
    • Thirteen nationalities and seven languages are currently represented in the office. Meet the team!
  • Our team members all work together to contribute to a friendly work atmosphere;
  • You can look forward to a high degree of responsibility and independence, and depending on your position, frequent international travel;
  • We actively support continuous professional development.

Enjoy the benefits

We believe that a strong team starts with a positive work atmosphere where everyone knows each other and is working towards a common goal – delivering the world’s largest radio telescope. Therefore it is important to us to create a friendly and open office environment and to help staff settle in and make the most of their time with us, both professionally and personally, with a good work-life balance.

Visas

  • Nationals of countries within the EEA automatically have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. If you are a national of a non-EEA country you must obtain a visa before you can live and work in the United Kingdom. For most positions SKA Organisation will sponsor the successful candidate to obtain the correct visa for them and their immediate family, and will pay all visa related costs. Spouses of Tier 2 visa holders are entitled to work in the United Kingdom subject to certain Government conditions.

Relocation benefits

We understand there are big costs associated with moving to a new place, settling in a new area or country, and many things to worry about. For most new appointments we offer the following benefits:

  • A relocation package of up to £8,000 subject to HMRC and company relocation rules to cover costs incurred by taking up a post at SKA HQ. Expenses covered by our relocation package could include:
    • Flights to the UK for you and your family upon taking up duty, but also for a pre-visit;
    • Shipment of your personal possessions to the UK;
    • Up to 6 months rent in the UK.
  • Support from a professional relocation assistance company, to help you learn more about the area and find a home that is right for you;
  • An interest-free loan of up to £5000 to buy, tax and insure a vehicle, buy a travel season ticket and/or put down a deposit on a rental property.

Employment benefits

  • All our contracts of employment are for permanent positions, unless stated otherwise;
  • We offer competitive salaries on par with other major scientific institutes;
  • 30 days leave plus 8 public holidays per year;
  • A company pension scheme with generous company contribution rates;
  • Company sick pay scheme;
  • Company maternity, paternity and shared parental leave schemes;
  • Life cover: A tax-free lump sum of three times your gross annual salary in the event of your dying while an employee of SKA Organisation.

Professional benefits

  • We have a flexible working scheme (requests may be made upon completion of probation period);
  • A salary sacrifice scheme to purchase childcare vouchers;
  • We offer the possibility to work remotely, so you do not always have to be physically in the office (this benefit needs to be previously discussed and agreed upon by the line manager);
  • Regular ongoing training and a training budget is available to keep developing your skills;
  • We cover payment of membership fees for relevant professional bodies (subject to limits and HMRC rules).

Social and family benefits

  • All employees of SKA Organisation and their immediate families have access to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom;
  • Dependent children (of school age) of employees are entitled to a free place at a state school. Further information can be found at http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/schools/admissions/admissions.aspx
  • We have regular events, including an annual summer BBQ for staff and families, a Christmas party, and weekly gatherings at the local pub;
  • We provide financial support for English classes for staff and partners (taxable benefit);
  • Discounted gym membership is available to help you keep fit (taxable benefit);
  • Free access to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre for you and your family members;
  • 10% discount on all purchases at the Discovery Centre’s award-winning cafe upon production of your University of Manchester I.D card.

Work and live in a well-connected area

Working Environment

SKA Organisation is housed in a purpose-built Headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. Construction is due to start in 2016 on an additional building and Council Chamber to accommodate the expanding SKA Organisation workforce.

Travel and access

The SKA HQ is located 25min from Manchester International Airport, the UK’s third busiest airport and the largest outside London. It provides flights to more than 225 destinations, more than any other airport in the UK.

The SKA HQ is also 20min from Wilmslow and Macclesfield, which lie on the main high-speed train line between Manchester and London. From each of these places, central Manchester can be reached in 15 minutes and central London in under 2 hours.

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