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Community education officer: Job description

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Community education officers work within diverse communities to promote and organise adult or family education or training opportunities.

Education can include skills in literacy and numeracy, life skills or practical skills, such as budgeting, cooking or learning how to use a computer.

Learning typically takes places in non-traditional venues such as community centres, children's centres, libraries and even within churches.

Community education officers liaise closely with course providers and external partners such as Jobcentre Plus staff and spend a lot of time developing positive working relationships with community support workers, such as housing support and money advice staff. They usually, though not exclusively, work in areas of social deprivation or high unemployment.

Typical work activities

Responsibilities in community learning are wide-ranging and activities can vary greatly depending on the type of employer and sector.

For example, the role of a community education officer employed by a children's centre is very different from that of a community education officer employed by a university's widening participation department.

However, community education roles typically involve an element of community engagement to increase participation in, mainly informal, educational and recreational activities.

Tasks typically include:

  • engaging with individuals and community groups, such as residents' associations, parents' groups and young people;
  • identifying local interests and needs and ways to meet them;
  • helping potential learners to overcome existing barriers to learning;
  • working with individuals to create learning plans;
  • formulating service plans and priorities in cooperation with other providers;
  • encouraging and influencing the development of new learning opportunities through formal and informal classes as well as individual tutoring and mentoring;
  • community capacity building through supporting the development of community or local voluntary groups;
  • identifying the training needs of local volunteers and providing for them;
  • sourcing grants and funding for community projects;
  • allocating and monitoring budgets;
  • undertaking the administration and evaluation of provision and reporting to advisory bodies and management groups;
  • managing staff and volunteers and dealing with team training (more usual in senior roles).

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Written by Sally Burr, University of Sussex
May 2014

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