February 2, 2021 Maxime Frijns

Private Sector Development Consultant





Utrecht, The Netherlands


1-year fixed-term contract

Employment Type


Closing Date

February 15, 2021


Arqam Lodhi

Project Overview and Role:

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE) is a 6-year and €114 million programme funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that aims to create a prosperous future for 200,000 young women and men in the Middle East, North Africa, Sahel & West Africa and Horn of Africa regions. The Fund will be supporting initiatives in 23 focus countries that will offer youth, in particular young women, opportunities for work that is demand-driven and productive, offering a stable income and safe working conditions, and that is contributing to their personal development and social protection.

The private sector, civil society and knowledge institutions will be invited to submit proposals geared to scalable solutions for creating more and better jobs and income-generating opportunities for youth. Solutions will in particular focus on an integrated approach that addresses the shortcomings on the demand side (jobs) and supply-side (skills) and bridging the mismatch between these two in the labour market.

You will be part of a 10 member team involving at least 3 other Private Sector Development Consultants, in-country Relationship Managers, CFYE’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Manager, Project Manager, Technical Assistance (TA) Manager and Deputy Team Leader. This team will oversee the delivery of 100+ projects in about 15 target countries, with close to 50 to 60 of them running concurrently.  These projects will focus on supporting decent employment opportunities.
You will directly oversee and manage a portfolio of 20 to 25 projects. As part of this oversight role, you will ensure continued alignment of projects’ strategies with CFYE, ensuring delivery is in line with agreed contract parameters, enabling continued learning and together with implementing partners, supporting the iterative adaptation of projects’ design and delivery approaches. This will be done through active coordination with in-country(s) Relationship Manager(s) as well as other members of the wider CFYE Team.

Lead management and operationalisation of CFYE’s protocols | Delivery Phase of Projects

  • Work with CFYE Project and Finance Managers and in-country Relationship Managers to set up projects for the delivery phase. This may include (but not limited to) leading negotiations with projects’ consortia, drafting and finalising grant agreements, and development of and agreement on projects’ milestones. Follow-up on contract terms, expiry dates and reporting.
  • Closely collaborate with Project, Finance and TA Managers as well as with the Operations Associate to conduct Due Diligence assessments of the implementing organisations and their consortium partners. Develop and operationalize Due Diligence improvement plans based on these assessments and risk ratings.
  • Coordinate with the MEL Manager and other PSD Consultants on the identification of key delivery milestones and linking them with MEL tracking mechanism.
  • Lead activities in the Inception Phase of Projects that may include organising 1-1 orientation sessions with the implementing partners and their consortia, refinement of work plans and budgets, coordinating on and establishing key roles and responsibilities for other CFYE team members, defining plan of action on Due Diligence, and defining the structure of recurring activities such as quarterly progress reviews.
  • Closely work with other PSD consultants to ‘own’ a sub-set of the projects’ portfolio. This will essentially entail direct oversight of a sub-set of projects and active coordination with relevant in-country portfolio managers to ensure compliance with all CFYE processes and reporting requirements.
  • Liaise with in-country relationship managers to oversee periodic reporting from the projects and where necessary, anticipate and flag potential issues to the CFYE leadership team on a quarterly basis.
  • Develop and lead a project-level risk monitoring and tracking mechanism that can be operationalised through in-country relationship managers. Coordinate closely with the Project Manager and other PSD consultants to ensure that the overall portfolio risk profile is contained within acceptable limits.

Cross-cutting areas of responsibilities

  • Work with the Deputy Team Leader, TA, Project and MEL Managers in defining KPIs for monitoring and managing internal team efficiency. Using these KPIs and dynamic dashboards to keep track of team efficiency and recommend action(s) where intervention is necessary.
  • Work with other CFYE team members or PSD consultants to conduct orientation and training of in-country Relationship Managers who will be on-boarded to liaise and directly oversee projects’ delivery in CFYE countries.
  • Coordinate closely with other PSD Consultants to ensure the CFYE Fund Manual is always up to date to reflect the latest processes and to ensure integration of processes and delivery protocols of other workstreams (TA, MEL, Finance and Ops) within the overall CFYE delivery process maps.
  • Coordinate closely with PSD Consultants, MEL Manager and other relevant team members to analyse portfolio-level data to draw key insights, emerging trends, and lessons, and communicate these in a clear and relevant way internally and externally.
  • Work closely with MEL Manager and other PSD Consultants to track the quantitative and qualitative results of the planned outcomes of projects by periodic review of progress and generating reports as and when necessary.

Required Qualifications:

  • You are strongly encouraged to apply for this position if you are from one of the countries[1] where CFYE is operating or may operate in the future.
  • This position entails extensive coordination with the wider CFYE team and projects. You should be comfortable in and seek roles where you enjoy being in the middle of multiple moving pieces and bringing it all together. You should feel confident in interacting with people at all levels within the team, including Senior Management.
  • While this particular position leads on Fund and Programme Management, it is expected that you will be eager to learn and operationalise other critical skills needed on CFYE such as those involved in monitoring and evaluation, data analysis for project management and decision making, mediation and conflict resolution, risk management and systems thinking.
  • A key element of this role requires applicants to not just be personally organised in the documentation, record keeping and data management but also should be comfortable in enforcing set organisation standards on the wider team as well.
  • A successful applicant will have experience working in a number of complex, project-based environments and able to clearly demonstrate how their experience and skills match with the role.

The contract will initially be a 1-year fixed-term contract, renewable based on performance. It is expected that the role will be required until the end of the programme in 2025. The role is based in Palladium’s Utrecht office with potential travel internationally.

All applicants should have the right to work in the Netherlands and not require work sponsorship.

About Palladium

Palladium is a global leader in the design, development and delivery of Positive Impact – the intentional creation of enduring social and economic value.

We work with foundations, investors, governments, corporations, communities and civil society to formulate strategies and implement solutions that generate lasting social, environmental and financial benefits. For the past 50 years, we have been making Positive Impact possible. With a team of more than 2,500 employees operating in 90 plus countries and a global network of more than 35,000 technical experts, Palladium has improved – and is committed to continuing to improve – economies, societies and most importantly, people’s lives.

Palladium is a child-safe organisation, and screens applicants for suitability to work with children. We also provide equal employment to all participants and employees without regard to race, colour, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran or marital status.

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