Skills developed through study
Kath Elliott, Creetown Initiative, Community Project Worker
Kath has been working as a Community Project Worker for Creetown Initiative since 2009, although she started her career as a microbiologist and later as an environment manager for a local food company. She feels the OU has been crucial in providing her with the necessary skills to engage with the community and work successfully on the renewable energy project.
Key employability skills
When Kath started studying in 2004 she already had a full-time job and two part-time jobs. Managing her work commitments and study helped her to develop valuable skills in time planning which she has been able to apply to her role with Creetown Initiative.
Written communication skills
Everything I do here involves creating regeneration plans, development plans and business plans - it’s all about report writing. Being able to produce the report and being able to communicate information in the right way to the right audience is a skill I have gained from OU study. In the last module I completed, all of the assignments were in the form of reports which was great practice for me. Even with grant applications you always get word limits but I can do this all the time now and can also help others in the office with it.
The use of different media for Kath’s OU studies has helped her recognise the best methods of communication with the community.
If you don’t tell the community what you’re planning to do and get their input on how they think the project should run or should ultimately be then the project won’t be as successful as it could be. You can’t address community need if you don’t fully understand what that need is.
A wind turbine project was underway in Creetown when Kath started work there, and a site had already been selected. One of her first tasks was to investigate whether the site selected for collecting initial data was in the correct location. Kath carried out a feasibility study, which highlighted several problems with the site. This finding ultimately saved the community significant cost, time and effort.
I did a full feasibility study for the original wind turbine site using my OU textbooks. That was a really big learning curve. I had to create a feasibility study that clearly communicated the findings of the study in a way which could be understood by a wide range of people.