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Learning & Development (L&D) Associate Director

AstraZeneca UK

Location: Cambridgeshire, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Job Type: Full time


Learning & Development (L&D) Associate Director

Location: Cambridge, UK; Gaithersburg, US or Mississauga, CA

Competitive salary and benefits

Bring out the best in each other, and yourself, by working together as one

In our dynamic environment, be supported by the brightest minds working together side by side. Agile and collaborative, we work cross-functionally, as well as externally, to thrive at pace.

Be encouraged and supported to think creatively in our dynamic environment. Here we are free from fear of failure, free to ask the right questions and make bold decisions.

You will play a key role in shaping and delivering an ambitious learning strategy for the R&D business. You will make a valuable contribution enabling AstraZeneca to be a great place to work and driving tangible business outcomes that demonstrate the impact of learning to the organisation. You will be able to work independently to deliver high quality learning initiatives in often ambiguous and dynamic workplace settings. You’ll be highly collaborative and resourceful, with the ability to quickly identify the appropriate learning opportunities for the business and work effectively with and across the global R&D enterprise to deliver L&D projects of greatest priority.

This role will report into a Head of Learning and Development within one of our two key scientific discovery areas: Biopharmaceuticals R&D (BRD) or Oncology R&D (ORD).

Typical Accountabilities:

Project management of L&D Activities:

  • Supports the Heads of L&D, R&D to facilitate and coordinate networks of business learning representatives across R&D where a component of their role is to represent the voice of the business and evolve the R&D learning strategy ensuring alignment of L&D activities within R&D and to the AZ Global Talent & Development (T&D) strategy.

  • Leads or project manages a portfolio of L&D projects, including key cross R&D L&D initiatives (e.g., Onboarding, R&D Foundations). Able to identify and align internal resources and drive implementation of agreed solution/s at pace.

Business partnering and consulting:

  • Builds strong and trusted working relationships with business leaders and HR / T&D partners, interacting with and effectively managing stakeholders, including BioPharma and Oncology R&D Leadership teams, HR Leadership teams and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Leadership team.

  • Provides learning consultation and expert L&D advice to business leaders and subject matter experts to ensure new learning content builds skills and capabilities that drive business performance goals.

  • Undertakes learning needs analyses for key stakeholder groups, articulating enterprise learning needs, and translating these needs into learning offerings and/or recommendations.

Design & Delivery of L&D initiatives:

  • Brings strong L&D expertise to design and build high quality learning solutions that blend education, exposure and experiential elements to drive relevant business focussed learning outcomes.

  • Ensures content is appropriately integrated into AZ learning technology platforms; responsible for maintaining and updating content to meet current and future business needs and aligns with the R&D / AZ approach to learning to ensure a positive, seamless learner experience.

  • Where appropriate works with third-party vendors or academic / external institutions to bring best-in-class learning solutions to the business. This also includes working with Procurement, managing budgets and providing project oversight.

  • Directly (or indirectly) manages and oversees the delivery of virtual and/or in-person training events or learning symposia; from venue logistics, arranging speakers / trainers, communication activities, delegate attendance and follow-up activities.

  • Maintains awareness of current trends in learning and development practices and keeps understanding of the learning landscape current, fresh and engaging for the modern employee. Brings innovative approaches to functional learning activities along with ideas / recommendations for the R&D enterprise.

Communication and Driving Change:

  • Delivers effective communications to support R&D L&D activities and instils a culture of lifelong learning. Champions and drives change, leveraging internal networks to extend reach and impact.

  • Strengthens and builds L&D capability within R&D through active participation in AZ and R&D Learning Communities (e.g., Learning Guild) and supports capability development of L&D and technical staff involved in delivering learning solutions.

Learning Insight and Evaluation:

  • Actively engages the learner audience, conducting regular voice of the employee exercises, leveraging social platforms (e.g. workplace) and organising / facilitating local learning engagement activities. Makes it easy for people to understand the real benefits of evolving and developing their learning.

  • Contributes to the development of the L&D evaluation strategy, establishing key measures, data collection and building insightful reports and analyses for leadership (and the R&D enterprise L&D team) to demonstrate clear value and return on investment for learning activities.

Essential education, skills and experience:

  • Qualified to degree level in a relevant scientific / technical subject area.

  • Higher level qualifications or accreditations in learning and development related discipline (preferred) and/or a proven track record in development and delivery of learning and development solutions, preferably in a Pharma R&D environment.

  • Experience of the R&D drug development life cycle, working in a highly regulated environment and an understanding of the learning styles and needs of the R&D professional.

  • Excellent working knowledge of adult learning theories, learning design and delivery and capability development, and experience applying these in a technical business setting.

  • Strong stakeholder management skills, able to work in a matrix environment and influence / lead others without authority.

  • Delivery and outcome focussed, ability to set and manage priorities, resources and goals for complex, fast-paced projects.

  • Problem solving skills; able to conduct root cause analysis and apply critical / analytical thinking to identify the most appropriate solutions to drive business performance.

  • Expert communicator and facilitator. Possesses gravitas and/or Executive Presence when engaging with senior leaders and is able to motivate and inspire the learner by simplifying the complex and making learning relevant to them.

  • Creative thinker, able to bring new ideas and learning innovations to life for the business.

  • Able to quickly adapt to a continuously evolving business and learning landscape.

  • Change management skills; takes a people-centred approach to drive tangible business change.

  • Highly collaborative, excellent relationship builder and connector, resourceful and well organised.

  • Experience working in a global organisation, across countries, cultures and time zones.

Please note: if you are successfully placed into this role in Cambridge, you will temporarily be based in one of our central Cambridge offices, but you will be eventually relocated to the new global headquarters known as the Discovery Centre (DISC) on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

At AstraZeneca we’re dedicated to being a Great Place to Work. Where you are empowered to push the boundaries of science and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit. There’s no better place to make a difference to medicine, patients and society. An inclusive culture that champions diversity and collaboration. Always committed to lifelong learning, growth and development.

So, what’s next?

Complete your application before the closing date of the 27th September 2022.

Where can I find out more?

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Date Posted


Closing Date


AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.

AstraZeneca requires all US employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 but will consider requests for reasonable accommodations as required by applicable law.