Head of Data Engineering

Head of Data Engineering

Guernsey, Haywards Heath or Manchester
Technology and Data
Closing date:
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We’re First Central Insurance & Technology Group (First Central for short), an award-winning innovative insurance and technology organisation, delivering market-leading motor insurance, underwriting, distribution, finance, technology and legal services.

Are you looking for a new career with a fast-growing, dynamic company? Well look no further! We need a Head of Data Engineering to join our Technology team in Haywards heath or Manchester.

Imagine having the rare opportunity to design, recruit and lead a data engineering team in a business that sees data as a driving force to support business outcomes and continued growth; a place where cloud is at the heart of our technology, and where an exciting data migration to Azure and real time analytics is taking place.  If you are up for a challenge, that will give you freedom, accountability and the opportunity to create an industry leading data engineering practice we want to hear from you!

The successful candidate will be a inspirational leader, providing strategic direction, coaching, performance management, mentoring and guidance to the data engineering practice, and as a key member of the broader Data and Analytics leadership team, create an environment of collaboration, agility, innovation and ownership in support of the Data team and business ambitions.

Importantly you'll Provide data engineering technology leadership and best practice for First Central’s chosen data capabilities, across Cloud and on Premise solutions, covering data sourcing, ETL, ELT, Data Lake, and Data Warehousing.

To be successful in this role, you’ll need to:

  • Exceptional leadership experience
  • Significant experience in Data engineering
  • Experience of architecture and engineering data analytics platforms

Job responsibilities:

  • Provide overall leadership to the Data Engineering Practice
  • Lead agile practice adoption across the team using DataOps principles that result in engineering excellence, reliability, and predictable delivery
  • Establish and evangelise best practice, processes and frameworks for the data engineering practice.
  • Oversee technical strategy across data integration, data lake, data warehousing and data access layers and provide thought leadership and best practice across recognised Data Engineering platforms (Azure, DataBricks, SQL Server)
  • Define the development standards and promote a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring adherence to the Data strategy and roadmap.
  • Foster an environment of innovation (both technical and procedural), using knowledge of internal and external environment to seek out improvement and innovation opportunities
  • Drive the development of the Engineering function including setting up objective, career paths, hiring engineers & establish ways of working
  • Promote a culture of accountability and continuous improvement within the team of Data Engineers and wider data teams, support integration and co-operative working style of cross-functional teams, and ensure delivery is governed effectively to time, cost and quality
  • Create an environment of psychological safety in the Data engineering practice, empowering colleagues at all levels to have appropriate autonomy to deliver data engineering outcomes.
  • Work closely across the business in organising and creating a data engineering capability that makes data and information easily accessible to the business in a self-service manner.
  • Operate a blended approach to resourcing, flexing/mobilising internal and external skill utilisation as appropriate to optimise change delivery, managing 3rd party relationships and services to ensure successful contractual outcomes.
  • Contributes to the development and implementation of an annual data plan containing objectives, departmental initiatives and KPIs
  • Supports/contributes to and actively manages budgeting process
  • Ensures that the Company Values feature at the heart of department activities.
  • Ensures compliance with Company and other relevant standards/ regulations at all times.

Job-specific competencies

Experience & knowledge

  • Exceptional leadership experience in creating and leading high performing teams
  • Great at building strong, effective relationships with people from different disciplines.
  • Significant experience in data engineering and leading associated technical teams
  • Strengths in combining rigour and discipline with a pragmatic approach to deliver the highest quality, cost effective solutions within set timeframes
  • Experience and understanding of development frameworks, engineering operating models using DataOps principles, and cloud engineering especially on Azure
  • Experience of architecting and engineering data analytics platforms on Microsoft Azure using technologies like Databricks, SQL Server, SQL DWH, Azure Synapse, Event Hubs and other Azure services
  • Proven track record of working with agility, evidencing experience or extensive knowledge of concepts such as design thinking, DataOps, agile development and CI/CD
  • Excellent understanding of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) and all that it entails.
  • Knowledge of Personal Lines Insurance and associated data structures
  • Insurance products, insurance distribution channels, claims handling, technology, data sources and databases, and the wider motor insurance industry.
  • Keen and active interest in the use of data in the wider industry, with practical knowledge and networks
  • Relevant legislation including GDPR

Skills & Qualifications

  • Excellent leadership and motivational skills
  • Decisive decision making and Proactive approach to problem solving using analytical thinking and emotional intelligence.
  • Lead through influence up to executive level and build autonomous organisations that repeatedly deliver results.
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to present and narrate complex technical information in a clear and concise manner to a variety of audiences, both technical and non-technical
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent time management and organisation skills

What can we do for you? 

We believe we can offer you a great working environment as we’re so passionate about our people. Here are just some of the benefits and perks that we offer…

  • Fantastic training and development opportunities
  • Employee benefit packages to suit your lifestyle
  • Flexible working
  • YOUday – we give you an extra day off to celebrate a special day
  • The opportunity to take a paid day off each year to do charity work
  • A health cash plan
  • Help with travel expenses
  • The opportunity to buy additional holiday
  • Company pension scheme
  • Group life assurance
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity pay
  • Professional subscription fees paid

Employee wellbeing is high on the agenda here too. We provide a weekly free fruit delivery, discounted membership at a local health club and access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which promotes physical and emotional wellbeing at work and at home. In addition, we provide wellbeing events throughout the year to support physical and mental health.

For further information on what we can offer and to learn more about this role, feel free to contact our dedicated Recruitment team.

We pride ourselves on being a great place to work. Check out our Glassdoor page to see what our employees think about working here.

We’re happy to discuss flexible working during the recruitment process .

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86% of people would recommend a friend to work at First Central

Based on 150 Glassdoor reviews (October 2021)


View all benefits >

Flexible working

We support colleagues who wish to work flexibly whilst meeting the needs of the business.


We give you an extra day off to celebrate a special day.

Holiday Extra

Not only do you get a generous holiday entitlement, you can also buy additional leave.


Get a day off each year to take part in volunteering activities.

Health cash plan

Claim money back on your healthcare costs, such as dental check-ups and eye tests.

Season ticket loan

We provide interest-free loans to cover the cost of season tickets for rail, bus or car parking.