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Project Manager - Property - SPARK Schools Support

SPARK Schools

SPARK Schools

Customer Service, Operations
South Africa
Posted on Sunday, April 16, 2023

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SPARK Schools is a social impact disruptor and is leading change in the education space through its network of affordable private schools. The SPARK Schools network provides transformational education innovation through Africa’s first blended learning model, which elevates student achievement and provides the tools teachers need to serve their students effectively.

The blended learning model, which combines classroom teaching and online instruction, allows teachers to anticipate student needs and equips schools to provide personalized education at an affordable cost. SPARK Schools is pioneering this transformative education model to ensure the accessibility of university and careers for all.

SPARK Schools is a high growth, mission and values-driven entrepreneurial organisation, operating 20 primary schools, 4 high schools and serving over 15,000 families in 2023. We are looking for dynamic people to join our team.

Purpose of Role:

The Project Manager drives the efficient and timely opening of new and expanding SPARK Schools. The Project Manager is responsible for managing a network of contractors and service providers to ensure that construction projects are run efficiently, delivering buildings that are

  • Opened on time
  • Cost efficient - both in terms of initial capex and ongoing opex
  • Suitable for scholars to learn effectively
  • Attractive
  • Compliant with all relevant regulation (e.g. health and safety, municipal laws)

The Project Manager’s leadership in the SPARK Schools network is integral to the successful delivery of the SPARK Schools business plan - rapidly growing a network of schools.

Reports To: Chief Operating Officer (COO)


  • Run all property development projects, ensuring the timely handover of all new sites to operations - opening multiple new schools on the same date
  • Manage all aspects of the property build process for example
    • Project initiation, set-up, full project planning and scheduling
    • Overseeing building design - working with architects and designers, to ensure building designs are in line with budget, optimised for initial capex and long-term maintenance and design is in line with SPARK
    • Project outlining and briefing for service providers involved in the construction and fit-out of the building
    • Service provider identification, assessment and selection
  • Commercial negotiation and contracting
  • Project management, tracking, progress reporting and risk identification during build
  • Coordination of project teams and service providers
  • Performance management of service providers and contractors - across technical, commercial and general contract terms
  • Completion of regular site visits and site meetings, including documentation thereof
  • Quality assurance and snagging
  • Site sign-off and handover to operations
  • Project administration, document consolidation and reporting against business case
  • Identify and manage all project risks - particularly in relation to on-time opening of schools and the construction of a safe environment for children and adolescents
    • Continuously and carefully assess the risk of late delivery of all projects - communicating this well in advance to key stakeholders
    • Complete regular site inspections to identify potential safety and security risks for scholars, employees and stakeholders
  • Complete projects within the allocated property budget
    • Provide input into annual budgets
    • Maintain expenditure within property budget
    • Identify opportunities to enhance budget efficiency
    • Track ongoing spend
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with partners such as landlords, service providers. government officials, building and permitting officials, local communities and with internal team members such as the operations and schools teams
  • Identify opportunities for improvement - in terms of more cost effective builds and increased likelihood of on-time delivery
    • Track and report on financial performance of projects
    • Analyze project costs to identify cost and efficiency improvements
    • Identify opportunities for further enhancement and improvement in new projects
  • Create, maintain and organise key internal documentation to improve efficiency of future projects and to support the efficient ongoing management of the buildings
    • Property Blueprint - the specifications and standards of a SPARK School
    • Property documentation: landlord contracts, site plans/architectural drawings, building and municipal permits, guarantees and warranties, certifications
  • Support colleagues responsible for processes that run post the opening of a new school
    • Provide necessary documentation for the compliance team to obtain permits
    • Consult with operations team - post building phase - to assess success of building and to address any challenges that may arise
  • Adhere to strict planning timelines to ensure schools are opened on time in January
    • Carefully consider the timing of school openings in early January and plan accordingly
    • The months of November, December and early January are not suitable for taking annual leave due to strict delivery schedules


The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • A four-year bachelor's degree or similar in the built environment (Civil, Construction Management, QS or Architectural)
    • Preferably a postgraduate degree in Construction Project Management
  • Project management and professional accreditation with a SACPCMP / PMI / Axelos / PMSA is required or candidate must be in the process or eligible to be registered.


  • Minimum of 5 years project management experience in construction and fit-out with sound knowledge of built environment, design, construction processes and systems and related management strategies. Both Greenfield and Brownfield experience is required.
    • Advantageous: experience in building schools or buildings of >10,000 sqm or managing multiple projects due at the same time
  • Experience with the entire project lifecycle, through post-occupancy.

Additional requirements:

  • Own reliable vehicle and valid driver's license
  • Clear Criminal and Credit records

Skills and Mindset:

  • Exceptional project management skills
  • Able to build and maintain excellent relationships
  • Ability to manage a significant peak in workload in a short time period
  • Excellent communication skills - verbal and written
  • Strong organisational skills
  • Good attention to detail
  • Excellent problem solver - able to think creatively to solve problems quickly
  • Effective in making decisions ‘on-the-go’
  • Able to handle high pressure situations professionally
  • Must be results-oriented and able to work both independently and within a team environment.

Values: Service, Persistence, Achievement, Responsibility, Kindness

SPARK offers:

  • fair market linked remuneration
  • performance-based annual bonuses and increases
  • above average/good annual leave
  • life, disability and funeral cover
  • employee wellness support
  • educational support & study leave
  • individualised professional development, support and mentorship
  • employee discount on school fees
  • opportunities for career growth

Compensation: Commensurate with experience

Position Type: Permanent

Location: Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa

SPARK schools is an equal opportunities employer and preference will be given to candidates from designated groups with due consideration of the company’s Employment Equity goals and targets.

SPARK schools encourages persons with disabilities to apply.

SPARK Schools may expire the posting of this advertisement at their own discretion.

Kindly note that should you have not heard from us within two weeks of the closing date please consider your application unsuccessful.