Telescope Configuration Manager (10208)

At the SKAO we are coordinating a global effort to deliver one of the largest science facilities on the planet. The SKAO telescopes will be next-generation instruments that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development. 

More than a dozen partner countries and over a thousand scientists and engineers around the world are already on board, making the SKA project an international collaboration like no other, and one of the most ambitious science and engineering endeavours of the 21st century.

Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, the SKAO will be one observatory operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, in early 2021 the SKAO became an intergovernmental organisation, one of only a select handful of science infrastructures to do so worldwide.

Our Global HQ is located near the buzzing city of Manchester at the historic Jodrell Bank Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Cheshire countryside. It is home to a rapidly expanding international team of more than a hundred, working in a highly collaborative and inclusive way, in coordination with SKAO teams in Australia and South Africa as part of a global astronomy and engineering community.

Being part of Team SKA means contributing to something extraordinary: a uniquely exciting project to advance human knowledge that will last for decades. In return, we offer a diverse multicultural working environment, 30 days annual leave plus public holidays, a generous pension scheme, visa and support with relocation (if applicable), regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us!

Telescope Configuration Manager

An amazing opportunity for an experienced individual with system engineering knowledge in the area of Configuration Management, especially in the context of radio astronomy telescopes, to join an international organisation and contribute to the delivery of one of the largest scientific facilities on the planet.

Job Location
Cheshire, UK (Head Office)
Area / Department
Telescope Operations
Contract Type
Competitive salary with generous pension, private healthcare and leave benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

The Telescope Configuration Manager is a key member of the SKAO Assurance Group and will be responsible for the Configuration Management activities on the Radio Telescopes being constructed in South Africa and Australia. These activities include Baseline Management, Configuration Identification of As-Built products, Change Control and Concession Management.

The Telescope Configuration Manager will join the SKAO Configuration Management Team and will report to the Head of Configuration Management.

The Telescope Configuration Manager will drive the implementation of the Telescope Configuration Management Plan and will work closely with: the System Engineering team to manage changes in requirements and interfaces; with the Product Assurance team to perform Physical Configuration Audits; with the Project Management team to contribute to the Change Management process; and with Contractor Configuration Managers to review and accept data pack deliveries.

To manage the software development of the project, SKAO has adopted the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) for Lean/Agile development processes. The Telescope Configuration Manager will work closely with the hardware system engineering team and the software management team in order to integrate these deliverables into a coherent configured system.

The successful candidate will be an organised individual who understands, or is able to quickly acquire, system engineering knowledge in the area of Configuration Management, especially in the context of radio astronomy telescopes.

SKAO is committed to providing a flexible working environment, meeting the requests of our Colleagues whilst also fulfilling the needs and objectives of the Observatory. We encourage open conversations during the interview and application process in relation to any specific requirements, and later with line managers, to assess individual flexible working arrangements alongside the needs of the organisation and responsibilities and accountabilities of the specific role and team. There may be occasions where this role requires the post holder to work across different time zones and, in line with SKAO policy, flexible working hours will be supported in agreement with the line manager.

As an international organisation, SKAO will facilitate UK work permits for non-resident candidates and support candidates with the relocation process.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

  • Facilitate and coordinate the configuration scope of work for the telescope which include contractors and external partners, ensuring Configuration Management outputs for Identification, Change Control, and Baseline Management and Audits are achieved.
  • Facilitate and coordinate the production of Design and As-Built documentation from contractors and internal colleagues to ensure that they meet or exceed SKAO requirements, and that they comply with relevant standards and codes of practice.
  • Provide direction and technical advice to SKA project team members, to support them in their delivery Configuration Management artefacts.
  • Identify opportunities for processes, facilities or equipment improvements and develop proposals to enhance operational efficiency.
  • Adapt and develop working practices within Configuration Management, in line with all regulations to ensure that engineering activities/projects are delivered effectively and meet set safety, scheduling, cost and quality objectives.
  • Proactively collaborate across services/directorates to optimise efficient, effective configuration management activities that supports wider business objectives, and to influence team and specialist peers internally.
  • Produce technical reports including recommendations; inputs to progress reporting against own planning for own work areas.
  • Develop the Product Breakdown Structure for the accepted Products as they are integrated into the Telescope.
  • Draw product baselines in ALIM after reviews.
  • Deploy methodology for, and manage item serialisation in collaboration with the Operations team.
  • Upload and manage As-Built data packs for the accepted products.
  • Manage Engineering Change Proposals against the approved product baseline(s) in accordance with the project change processes.
  • Register and manage Concessions against non-conforming product items.
  • Support final product hand-over audits, and perform physical Configuration Audits in support of Product Assurance.
  • Providing configuration reporting to project forums and management on the Telescope.
  • Provide technical configuration management advice and coaching to stakeholders.

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Degree in System Engineering or other closely related and relevant field, with training in Configuration Management, or equivalent experience.
  • Significant experience in Configuration Management roles with demonstrable direct experience of formal and stringent Configuration Control in one or more high value engineering development projects.
  • Substantial experience of Configuration Management practices such as formal configuration baseline control, product breakdown structures, developmental configuration documentation management, as-built configuration management, and functional and physical configuration audits.
  • Knowledge of ALIM/eB and/or other Configuration Management tools.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills in English.
  • Ability and willingness to travel nationally and internationally as required (typically for one week, up to 6 times per year).

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Fluency with relevant modern System Engineering processes and tools.
  • Up to date knowledge of external issues (legislative, regulatory, best practice standards etc.) that affect Configuration Management.
  • Knowledge of Jira, Jama and Confluence.
  • Knowledge of Project Management concepts.
  • Ability to influence stakeholders in a complex organisation.
  • Familiarity with the formalism for, and requirements of, quality control environments such as ISO 9000.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement

SKA Observatory recognises that our diversity is a strength. We aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and diverse perspectives and ideas thrive. As such, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are at the core of SKA Observatory’s agenda.

Our aim is to recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, nationality or background.

Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Observatory welcomes and encourages female applicants. 

Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided.

SKA Observatory welcome all candidates, especially those from member countries.

The “How to Apply” information contained within the SKA Observatory recruitment portal provides more detail regarding our application and selection approach.