The £7.1 million development project will deliver 

  • From July 2021 a fully accessible, restored building with climate-controlled spaces for archives and collections and a library facility for its users, education spaces for learning and conference and meeting spaces for commercial, educational and community hire. 
  • On-line worldwide access to the collection and archive, piloted from 2019 and fully completed by 2023. 
  • A catering and bar infrastructure to serve the public and produce the commercial income to cover overheads and produce surpluses to underwrite an ongoing education and engagement programme in the building and in the region. 
  • A heritage interpretation programme which enables the public to understand and celebrate the heritage. 
  • An “On the Road” engagement and education programme when the building is closed for restoration 2019-2020 and thereafter in strategic areas of educational and social deprivation across the North East. 
  • A celebratory Festival in 2022, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the building’s completion in 1872 and the 175th anniversary of the Institute’s foundation in 1856. 

The Common Room will be ‘a celebration of graft and glory; telling the stories of the North East that changed the world, then and now’ by… 

  • Revitalising our Grade 2* Listed building and making a step change in the access and interpretation of our internationally recognised archive of the Industrial Revolution we will provide the space, and inspiration, for new collaborations and innovations. 
  • Instilling pride, ownership and understanding to support the North East economy… 
  • Using our unique heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers… 
  • Engaging with the business community, The Common Room programme will deliver this, providing education and enrichment for young people, promoting skills development for the region’s workforce and engaging the public with the heritage. 

Job Description

Role Finance & Operations Assistant
Salary £21,000 – £23,000 pa pro-rata.
Duration Part time, 20 hours per week, Permanent
Reports to Finance & Operations Manager

Job Summary and Purpose

  • Responsibility for all bookkeeping and payroll functions to ensure real-time financial information is always available.
  • To support the Finance & Operations Manager as required.
  • To provide general administration support for The Common Room.
  • To be a proactive, hands on member of The Common Room team.

Main Responsibilities/Activities

  • Responsible for all bookkeeping within Financial Function, utilising Xero accounting software.
  • Creating supplier / payroll payments using online banking system.
  • Journal Postings for Payroll / Accrual & Prepayments.
  • Reconciliation of Balance Sheet Accounts
  • Calculation of quarterly VAT returns
  • Preparation and processing of weekly & monthly payroll.
  • Completion of regular funding returns.
  • To be responsible for the banking of cash and the management of the Office Petty Cash system, including the recording of petty cash transactions.
  • To administer the general office ensuring accurate and consistent record keeping and processing across areas of management including building operations, trading, governance, human resources, and internal / external regulation.
  • To be responsible for the banking of cash and cheques and the management of the office petty cash system, including the recoding of the petty cash transactions.
  • Liaise with the Marketing & Sales Coordinator to ensure all event / room bookings are invoiced and recorded appropriately.
  • To assist with logistics, ordering and procurement.
  • To undertake additional duties as may reasonably be expected.

All staff are expected to:

  • Positively support equality of opportunity and equity of treatment of colleagues in accordance with the Diversity Policy/statement.
  • Help maintain a safe working environment by attending training in Health and Safety requirements as necessary and following local safe working practices and the Health and Safety Policy.

Person Specification


Finance Part qualified or working towards formal accountancy qualification and / or at least 2 years’ comprehensive experience in a small to medium sized charity / organisation.
Finance Experience of operational financial bookkeeping to include:
day to day record keeping using computerised accounting software,
preparation of payroll and associated returns
preparation of VAT returns
Experience using Xero accounts / payroll software
Communication Excellent written and oral communication skills
Strong attention to detail and accuracy within your work
IT IT-literate, including excellent spreadsheet skills
Organisational Strong analytical and organisational skills
Ability to prioritise and be efficient in your work.
Excellent time management skills
Personal attributes Experience working with diverse constituents, teams and colleagues
Ability to work independently, using own initiative and as part of a team
A flexible, creative, entrepreneurial spirit and a demonstrated passion for the mission, vision and values of The Common Room
A hand’s on, can do, proactive approach


Please note, an induction programme and on-going development and training or mentoring will be offered, but the ideal candidate will have some of the following desirable skills, knowledge / experience.

Project finance Experience of HLF-funded projects and associated reporting requirements
Finance Experience of charity accounting

Appointment timetable:

From 21st December 2020 to Thursday 7th January 2021 – Advertisement published

Thursday 7th January 2021 – Applications close 5pm

Wednesday 13th January 2021 – Proposed interviews in Newcastle (either in person or virtual depending on current government guidelines).

Start date – Early February or sooner if available

Information for applicants  

  • Applications should be sent via email to  
  • Applications must include:  
  • Aup-to-date CV.   
  • A letter of motivation stating why you are applying for the post and how your experience, knowledge and skills addresses the Job and Person specification for the post.  
  • The contact details (email and phone) of two referees one of whom should be your last or current employer, these will not be contacted until an offer of employment is made. 
  • Please indicate your availability to start work post 13th January, should you be successful.
  • Please indicate your availability for interview.

Please click here for job description and person specification