Community education officer: job description
Community education officers help to organise and encourage participation in local educational programmes, such as literacy, numeracy and computing classes. They usually focus on areas with high levels of unemployment and social deprivation.
Responsibilities typically include:
- planning educational programmes
- establishing new community initiatives
- liaising with relevant community groups and organisations
- recruiting, training and supervising tutors
- managing budgets
- maintaining records
- writing plans and reports
- determining priorities
- preparing and submitting funding applications
- undertaking outreach work to encourage more people to participate
- facilitating self-help community groups
- helping individuals to control their own learning
Employers of community education officers include voluntary and charitable organisations (for example, the Workers' Educational Association), local authorities, educational institutions and youth or community organisations.
Vacancies are advertised in local, regional and national newspapers including the Times Educational Supplement, local authority jobs lists, and publications such as The Big Issue. Voluntary work experience can be gained via social services, community, adult education or youth work. Speculative applications are advisable (particularly for work experience placements), for which the Voluntary Agencies Directory and Charities Digest may be useful. Local charities and volunteer bureaux can often provide work experience placements.
There are routes into a career as a community education officer for both university graduates and school leavers.
Graduates can have a degree in any discipline, although qualifications in sociology, social work or policy, community studies, communications, public administration or social sciences can be advantageous. Teaching and adult education qualifications can also be helpful. It is normally necessary to undertake relevant paid or voluntary community work experience prior to entry into the profession. Employers generally consider personality and experience to be more important than degree subject studied.
To find out about how you can get into careers in this area via a school leaver route (for example, an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme) see the public sector and charity section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Good interpersonal, teamworking, problem-solving and communication skills are essential, as is a mature, confident, patient and resilient disposition. Long hours, working with people in disadvantaged situations and limited funding and resources can sometimes make the job quite demanding.