Q&A with a FairTrade Senior Education Campaigns Officer
Having begun her career as a teacher, Claire now has a different sort of role in education. She is working for FairTrade as a Senior Education Campaigns Officer, inspiring young people and organisations to help tackle global injustice. She tells us about her fascinating job, what skills and qualities are required, and why she’s passionate about what she does.
Photo: Climate, Fairtrade and You – Education Pack for Primary Schools | Fairtrade Schools
What did you study at university?
After leaving school, I went to the University of Aberdeen to study an undergraduate degree in Primary Education and International Relations. After teaching in a local primary school for three years, I moved to London to pursue a Masters in Education and International Development at the UCL Institute of Education.
What is the role of a Senior Education Campaigns Officer?
My job role as an Education Campaigns Officer involves inspiring young people to campaign for social justice for farmers and workers around the world. I produce films, lesson plans and assemblies for teachers to use with their classes, and I support schools, universities and colleges to achieve Fairtrade Awards. The role involves speaking at community events and visiting schools, to teach young people about Fairtrade and the difference it can make to people’s lives.
How did you get into this role?
I’ve worked at the Fairtrade Foundation for two years. During my time as a Primary School Teacher, I became passionate about teaching children about global issues and different cultures around the world. Our school worked to achieve a UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award and also developed a partnership with a primary school in Uganda. These experiences inspired me to study my Master’s degree which explored social and economic divisions, sustainable development and the impact of globalisation. My practical experience as a teacher alongside my academic studies equipped me with the knowledge and skills to become an Education Campaigns Officer at the Fairtrade Foundation.
Tell us about your day-to-day responsibilities
I typically start the day by supporting teachers or professors with any queries they have about their Fairtrade Award work. This involves providing learning resource recommendations over email, or giving guidance over the phone. I am responsible for producing learning resources for schools, so depending on the time of year, I might spend some time film scripting, devising lesson plans or writing creative briefs for graphic designers.
Another task involves producing communications for schools, universities, and colleges. This includes writing newsletters for teachers, managing the Fairtrade Schools website and scheduling content for social media. Finally, I might end the day with a virtual visit – either doing a workshop with a school group, giving a guest lecture at a university, or speaking with a youth group such as Beavers or Scouts.
What specific qualifications or skills are required?
A degree in a related subject, such as Education or Social Sciences, was necessary for this role. However, if you had the equivalent knowledge and skills through work experience, that would also be accepted.
Experience in managing communications, such as writing newsletters and social media content was required, as well as strong interpersonal communication skills. Team-working skills are essential, as I regularly work with graphic designers, filmmakers and educational partners.
Finally, administrative skills and good understanding of MS Office programmes is a must, and it is useful to have knowledge of educational structures and curriculum areas relevant to Fairtrade.
What about personal qualities?
A flexible and enthusiastic approach to work is essential! It also helps to have strong problem-solving and creative skills, and the ability to make decisions. Because much of the work involves creating high quality learning resources, attention to detail is also very important.
What do you like most about your job?
It is heartening to work with organisations, individuals and young people who are passionate about tackling global injustice. Meeting inspiring young campaigners when visiting schools and universities is the best part of the job!
What are the main challenges?
As an Education Campaigns Officer, there are many different jobs and projects to juggle. Whether it’s producing films, writing newsletters, or supporting one thousand Fairtrade Schools, Universities and Colleges, there’s always something to do! Whilst this makes the job exciting, it can sometimes be a challenge, so good organisational skills are a must.
Why do you believe these projects are so important?
I support teachers and young people in understanding their role in our globally interconnected world. Young people are at a key point in their lives for forming their values and developing their future habits. When children and students learn about the social and environmental impact of their decisions, they can contribute to a more just and sustainable world.
What is your idea of success, and has this changed over time?
As long as I am pursuing something that interests and motivates me, I consider that a success!
Have you got any tips for people moving to London?
London is a fantastic place to live. My top tip is to be brave and find a group of people who enjoy a similar hobby to you. Whether it’s joining a running club, becoming a member of a book club, or getting involved in a sports team, it’s a great way to meet friends.
And finally, based on your experience, what would you tell new graduates?
Embrace life-long learning! Don’t worry if things don’t go to plan. All of your experiences are valuable learning opportunities.
Claire has lived in East London for three years, having moved from Scotland in 2018. She loves her job with FairTrade, and outside of work, she enjoys exploring the city by bike and running with her local running club.
See some of Claire’s work:
‘Guardians of the Rainforest’ film – Fairtrade Schools
Choose The World You Want Youth Exhibition
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