Community learning and development officers work with community groups to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of local people by organising and promoting local education and training opportunities. They also help local people to organise and get resources for their communities.
You could be:
telling people about learning opportunities in their community
setting up and running community learning activities
working with young people (as individuals or in groups at for instance, a youth club), parent and child groups, tenants’ associations and adult learning groups
asking individuals and groups about their learning needs, listening to their replies and helping to organise suitable courses or meetings
working with disadvantaged groups to improve their opportunities
running projects in adult education (including literacy and number work), outdoor education, community arts, health education, drugs awareness, assertiveness training
raising funds and applying for grants for community projects
networking and building links with other organisations
managing budgets and other admin duties.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Salaries for community learning and development officers in Scotland tend to be in the range of £20,000 to £30,000 a year. Senior community learning and development officers earn up to £40,000 a year or more. Salaries can be higher in project and management work.
You would usually be based in a community centre or perhaps a school.
You would do outreach work to meet disadvantaged groups in the community.
Hours are flexible and may include evening and weekend work.
You might be able to work part time.
A lot of posts are linked to fixed-term projects, varying from a few months to several years, depending on the funding available.
Entry to community education courses is competitive.
You could get in by doing the Modern Apprenticeship in Community Development at SCQF Levels 5 and 6.
You can take a BA Hons degree in Community Education at the University of Dundee and University of the West of Scotland. For entry to these courses, you need 3-4 Highers, usually including English.
It is also possible to enter with an HNC in Working with Communities and suitable experience.
Several colleges offer the HNC in Working with Communities. For entry you would require 2 Highers and subjects at National 5.
You can take a relevant postgraduate course at the universities of Dundee and Glasgow. You may be able to study part time for this course while you are working.
It is helpful to have some relevant experience – this can be paid or voluntary.
A driving licence is useful and sometimes essential.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
You would probably specialise in one area of work, such as youth work, adult learning or more general community work. Often you work in disadvantaged areas.
What Does it Take?
You should have:
good communication skills, and be able to talk to people of all ages from a wide range of backgrounds
a confident and assertive nature
the ability to lead and work in groups
good networking skills, to build relationships with individuals and groups
a cheerful nature, with a sense of humour.
You should be:
open-minded and non-judgemental
self-motivated and enthusiastic
good at assessing the learning needs of community groups
able to use your initiative and take responsibility
well organised, to keep track of different projects
able to work under pressure
committed to equal opportunities.
Training is on the job with short courses to keep you up to date.
If you do a Modern Apprenticeship you would work towards the SVQ Community Development.
The University of Glasgow also offers a part time work based BA degree in Community Development. For entry to this course you need 3-4 Highers at AAB or ABBB, and must be working at least 10 hours a week paid or unpaid in the field of community development.
YouthLink Scotland has information on short professional development courses in working with young people.
You could work for a local authority or a voluntary organisation.
With experience, you may be able to become a team leader or a project leader.
If you work in a local authority, you may be able to become a manager, responsible for planning and organising community learning services.