Vacancy for Local Support Officer in the Field of Education and Science at our Embassy in Pretoria

The OWA-network, looking at Education & Science, at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pretoria is looking for a support officer to work on a full-time basis for 37.5 hours per week.

You will be part of the OWA-network at the Embassy. The team consists of an Education & Science attaché and his management assistant. In the course of this year, the team will be expanded with more staff.


Job title : Support officer Education & Science                  

Mission : OWA Network (Focus: Education & Science)

Job level : Scale 8

Number of hours : Full-time 37.5 hours per week

Contract Term: June 2023 to February 2024

The support officer will assist  the Education and Science Attache in exploring possibilities for cooperation, detecting focus areas for policy learning and knowledge exchange, and clarifying the education and science systems in The Netherlands and South-Africa.

The OWA Network adopts a proactive approach, seeking out opportunities for Dutch policy makers and education and science institutions and establishing direct contact with the relevant players via roundtables.


1. Support Officer Activities

  • Reports directly to the OWA Attache who carries final responsibility and is responsible for policy-related support for the OWA network;
  • Gives form and direction to own and team’s activities within a specified framework. This includes, planning, tracking and monitoring of activities, schedules and progress;
  • Will conduct administrative requests from team by adhering to departmental administrative and procedural rules, regulations and working agreement of the Ministry;
  • Draw up information for management and provide analysis and recommendations upon request. Processes and organizes data and manages and maintains these digitally or on paper;
  • Assists with the preparation of knowledge delegations, incoming missions and draws up programs for knowledge delegations and visitors.

2. Actual Duties

  • Works closely as a team with the other colleagues in relevant Embassy’s thematic teams (i.e. Innovation team, Transformation & Identity team, Climate Change team, Smart Cities team and other relevant areas) at the Embassy in Pretoria and the Consulate in Cape Town and serve as a point of contact for external relations;
  • Makes active use of network contacts and independently extends this network  including maintaining internal databases;
  • Offers support on preparing and organizing official visits, knowledge missions, lectures, seminars, workshops, networking events and other activities;
  • Gathers and manages relevant sector information and shares the calendar of education and science events;
  • Supports the process of preparing presentations and make up information dossiers;
  • Collects relevant and accurate information/data and communicate with relevant networks including but not limited to Dutch and South-African public and private sectors expanding the OWA Network;
  • Creates visibility of the activities of the team and share relevant information through social media;
  • Conceptualise events for the programme such as alumni engagement and partner days;
  • Logistical arrangements for events;
  • Follow up actions from events such as reaching out to stakeholders and reporting.


  • Internal procedures and regulations
  • Assessment based on the quality of support work
  • How duties are performed is left largely to the support officer to determine, in close agreement with the Education and Science Attache


  • With the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science in The Hague, including the OWA’s in other countries, and if necessary with other ministries;
  • With local ministries and authorities, professional organisations and the business community;
  • With other members of the Dutch Embassy and especially with team members of the Embassy’s thematic areas;
  • With independent civil society organisations, such as NGO’s;
  • With news media for public information, PR and press releases.


  • Skilled in Windows-driven MS Office programs such as Word and Excel, Outlook and 24/7
  • General knowledge and understanding of current (related) policy areas and processes, and knowledge of standard documentation and archiving techniques
  • Understanding of civil service and political interests and sensitivities, of primary processes and of administrative, organisational and functional relationships
  • Skilled in operating diplomatically as a link with third parties (external and foreign relations) at senior political and official level
  • Skilled in collecting and interpreting data and compiling management information
  • Skilled in administrative work, and in coordinating complex information flows and processes from various sources, weighing up consequences, interests, priorities etc.
  • Communication skills


The following competencies are particularly important for successfully performing this job:

  • Excellent verbal and written command of English (other relevant languages are an asset);
  • Knowledge of, and a feel for, international relations and affinity with Dutch-African relations;
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and result driven attitude;
  • Strong problem-solving skills and flexibility;
  • Analytical mindset and accurate in working;
  • Effective communicator with different stakeholders;
  • Able to work in a team with colleagues across borders;
  • Well-developed intercultural competence is a must.

The following competencies are also important for successfully performing the duties of this job:

  • Integrity
  • Ability to cope with stress
  • Client-oriented
  • Initiative
  • Goal-centeredness
  • Environmental awareness
  • Ability to plan and organize
  • Ability to set priorities
  • Proactive


The Embassy in Pretoria is active in all aspects of bilateral cooperation. The embassy has three main sections: PCM, Economic and Agricultural Affairs and the Consular and Internal Affairs. In October 2022 this is complemented with a section on Education & Science. The permanent staff consists of 36 employees, with added (3-4) trainees from the Netherlands.

The Ministry of Education, Culture & Science (OCW) is represented by Education & Science Attachés at Netherlands Embassies in a growing number of countries around the world. This is called the OWA network. The OWA network promotes policy learning between national governments and stimulate cross sectoral cooperation’s between Education- and Knowledge institutions, reaching out to the labour market and sometimes local governments as well. Open science and reciprocal partnerships form the basis for the Dutch Knowledge and Talent Strategy.

The OWA Network has currently 8 Education & Science Attachés in 8 countries. Through this OWA Network the Ministry of OCW strengthens and contributes to the international exchange of knowledge and talent development in the Netherlands and in these countries.

The OWA Network represents the Ministry of OCW in the areas of Education and Science at the national and institutional level. Since the positions only recently were installed, the first aim is to build a strong network within the South-African National Government and the education- and knowledge institutions in The Netherlands and South-Africa. Where relevant the network also aims to reach out to the labour market and local government in cases where education, science, labour market and (local) government can complement each other. These stakeholders together make an essential contribution to strengthening the ties and relations between the ministries for Education and Science in The Netherlands and South-Africa as well as the education- and knowledge institutions in both countries by means of:

  • policy support for the purpose of the main department of OCW;
  • providing knowledge and policy exchange between institutions in The Netherlands and South-Africa;
  • bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Much of the time is spent on exploring possibilities for cooperation, detecting focus areas for policy learning and knowledge exchange and clarifying the education and science systems in The Netherlands and South-Africa.

The OWA Network adopts a proactive approach, seeking out opportunities for Dutch policy makers and education and science institutions and establishing direct contact with the relevant players via roundtables.

The OWA Network falls within the organisational structure of the Embassy. The Education and Science Counsellor is the overall manager of the OWA team. The team further consists of a management assistant. In the course of 2023, more additions to the team will follow.

There is wish for close cooperation with other sections within the Embassy (i.e. thematic teams focusing on Innovation, Transformation & Identity and if possible with Climate Change and Smart Cities). The OWA Network is responsible for defining good structures wherein education- and knowledge institutes can facilitate students, researchers and societies at its best.


Our new colleague (Support officer Education & Science) should be an open-minded and enthusiastic person, who is experienced in their field, knowledgeable and who combines these skills with a tactful and empathetic demeanour. They are an organisational and logistical talent and can work independently, accurately and unsupervised. They should be both an independent worker and a team player and should contribute to a good overall atmosphere within the embassy team.


The successful candidate is expected to start employment from 1 June 2023.

This is a fixed contract position from June 2023 to February 2024.

Salary maximum scale 8, between ZAR 42,927 and 50,082 gross per month dependent upon education and experience of the candidate.


The Netherlands Government is an inclusive employer with a focus on diversity. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organizational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or any other category protected by law. We promote flexible, family-friendly working conditions, where operational and security needs allow.


Interested candidates can apply before the 17th of May 2023 by sending a motivation letter and a recent CV to the management assistant of the Education and Science Counsellor, using email address: Applicants are requested to present the subject of their application emails as follows: Education&Science Support Officer – Surname.

Please, take note if you have not received an invitation for an interview before 1 June 2023 regard your application as unsuccessful.

For further information about the job, please contact:
Berto Bosscha, Education & Science Attache
Telephone: 083 292 0894