FROM FRESH: AN INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING MAGAZINE FOR POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS

Profile: Community Development Officer

Joanne Huxley, 22, is a community development officer in Basildon. She tells Dan Poole about her role

"I studied leisure management at The University of Wales, Bangor, for three years. It covered all sorts of ground, including hospitality, coaching, project management, business, leisure and tourism, statistics, IT and web design - and even Spanish.

Every year we had to do a placement during our summer holidays. I started off doing voluntary work for Communities First, a Welsh Assembly project, as a community development and play worker. When I finished university a job came up at the same place to cover maternity leave. I applied for that and got it, then when it was coming up to the end of my three months I wanted to move to Basildon so I applied for this job, which I've been in for 14 months.

I've always known that I've wanted to work with young people and being a community development officer you work with the whole community, so obviously a big portion of that is with young people.

My job involves things like going out in the community and speaking to residents to see what they want and what we can try to improve for them. I also go into schools and give lessons on citizenship, politics, democracy and sexual education. We hold community forums, which are meetings for residents and we invite other people like the police, the NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Highways.

A major part of the job is consultation, which is done through coffee mornings. Or we might do activities where young people can come and do DJ workshops or something like that; although they're doing something fun you can also talk to them and see what things can be done to help them. Another part of my job is partnership working and signposting. If someone comes up to me and tells me they want to know more about parenting classes, I know who they need to contact and where, and can pass that information on.

You shadow someone when you first come into the job to see what they do on a daily basis, but it's taken me a year to really know who to talk to for different things. You build up such a good relationship with other agencies so that you can rely on them and they can rely on you as well. We've got fantastic relationships with the police, the fire brigade and the PCT, for example.

When I came into this career I didn't expect there to be so much paperwork involved for putting on any sort of project - for example health and safety risk assessment, and food hygiene certificates. The job is also very seasonal; we get busier in the summer because everyone is off school. Normally it's 9 till 5. But we do late-night meetings and work Saturdays sometimes so you need to be flexible.

No day is ever the same. I could be sat in the office catching up on paperwork and then I'll get a call from the community association saying they've got a problem and asking if I can go down there for a meeting. Every day is a challenge.

I recently passed a module in community development with public health, which was paid for by work. If I wanted to I could do other modules and it would then go up to a Masters. I'm always looking for opportunities for further development and in this job we're always going on courses.

I don't feel that I got a great degree so I would like to further my education, as there isn't really a career ladder to climb. To progress you'd have to specialise in a certain subject like drugs and alcohol, but it's been a fantastic job to start off in because it has given me a view of everything.

If you're unsure of what you want to do as a career then you could do worse than becoming a community development officer, because it gives you a very wide spectrum of everything that is out there and the opportunity to work with people of all ages."

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Teacher Required We are curr...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone