Blog: My role with FCN has given me awareness of the challenges in farming – and the wide amount of support available

In this blog, Khadija, who has joined FCN via the Government’s Kickstart Scheme, discusses her experience working with the charity and the many things she has learned about agriculture so far.

Hi! I’m Khadija and I’m a Digital Marketing and Fundraising Assistant with the Farming Community Network and I am writing this one month into my 6-month Kickstart placement at the charity.

Despite the fact it has only been a month, I have learnt much already for someone who had no prior insight into the world of agriculture. Working with FCN has given me an awareness of the issues that face the farming community, and the vast wealth of support and knowledge FCN can provide farmers that reach out.

What resonated with me the most is how much I realised I could relate to some of the obstacles farmers experience and how dilemmas we face day to day can be amplified due to the emotions we encounter, alongside our relationship with mental health. I think it is important to remember that for anyone struggling to cope that there is more help out there than we might realise, it just takes some looking for and oftentimes, we can persevere more than we know. For any farmers going through a tough time reading this, FCN is here for you and can give assistance or provide guidance, whether the issue is personal or business-related.

So, what have I done so far? Within the first week of working with FCN, I created a social media content board for the upcoming weeks and then my manager, Alex Phillimore, tasked me with designing a media pack for a social media campaign that will be releasing in November that we are both very excited about launching. After that, I made my first attempt at writing a press release, which was a learning curve into writing for journalists. Since then, I’ve redesigned some adverts for FCN and FarmWell and completed a variety of other necessary tasks.        

Being given the opportunity to develop on the skills I picked up during university has been most gratifying for me and it is fulfilling to see my designs hold a valuable purpose. It is quite exciting to know that the adverts or social media campaign I designed will be the first point of attraction and engagement for someone considering contacting FCN. I have found this thought to be a big motivator in pushing me to design something professional and eye-catching, fitting the brand ethos.

It’s likely I would not have discovered FCN had I not joined the Kickstart Scheme at my local Jobcentre, straight after I had finished studying Product Design at university. Being a graduate coming out of lockdown, I had heard of the difficulties my peers experienced finding a job related to their course, with many taking a few months to a year to find an entry level position.

I knew that I wanted to get a meaningful job as soon as I could, but I also knew that I lacked professional design related work experience; this is where Kickstart became the most ideal bridge between the bubble that is education and the rigours of work. I was delighted and still am very grateful that The Farming Community Network accepted my application into a part time Digital Marketing position with them. I have felt shaky here and there, but Alex has been wonderful in granting me flexibility and autonomy within my role, helping me find my confidence. 

I look forward to the rest of my journey with FCN and I cannot wait to contribute more to such a worthy cause.

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