BLOG: Kickstarting my career with The Farming Community Network

In this blog, Khadija, who joined FCN via the Government’s Kickstart Scheme, talks about her time with FCN over the last 12 months and the many projects she’s been involved in. Khadija is from a non-farming background and has learned a lot about agriculture over the past year.

Hello again!

It has been about a year since my first blog about my initial experience working with The Farming Community Network. So, plenty to catch up on!

25 March would have marked the end of my journey with FCN, as I had joined via the Government’s Kickstart Scheme, however I was elated to find that the 6 month contract I had with the charity was extended another 6 months. This allowed me to get involved with more projects.

To fill you in on what I have been doing…

After the first month of gauging where my strengths and preferences lie, I think I naturally fell into the role of in-house Graphic Designer so the majority of what I’ve done is related to that. From social media graphics for the several publications FCN released this year to infographics and training development, here are some of the projects I’ve worked on: 

Through my experience designing, I’ve been more happy with some designs than others but trialing and testing the aesthetic and observing how people respond to it has enabled me to be a better designer and stay on brand.

If you’re curious about any of the projects above, hover over ‘Get Involved’ on the FCN website to find out more about the resources FCN has available to support you or those you know, such as: The Journey Ahead, Sir Port and our most recent campaign, Wool and Wellness. Research and our accredited training is in ‘How We Help’.

What has it been like, post-Covid?

My role has remained remote however I’ve had the opportunity to visit the office and meet some of the regional officers and key members of FCN, including CEO Dr Jude McCann, who is very humble and considerate.

I say this as it was really highlighted for me when Jude came to visit me in my area, during Ramadan in April. He was travelling around and visiting several staff members and volunteers that he hadn’t seen due to Covid, and it seemed very thoughtful for someone as busy as him to take the time out to check on and get to know their team in such a way. 

Throughout my time at FCN, I’ve seen examples of exemplary leadership and commitment, through my manager, Alex Phillimore, and through other members too. The team is inspirational, immensely dedicated and hardworking. Since our office team is fairly small, I’ve seen everyone push themselves consistently to make sure we keep moving forward; progressing and accomplishing feats in order for FCN to thrive. A big hat off and appreciation goes to the volunteers in addition, they’re the ones that make the support we provide possible.

Cereals – First experience at an agricultural event 

I attended the arable event, Cereals, on the 8th and 9th June to host a stand with FCN staff members. It was a pleasure getting to know the farmers there, what their thoughts are on current issues and what they get involved with on a regular basis. I came to understand that farmers are very proactive in whatever they do and many of the people there were volunteers for causes themselves, alongside their already busy lives. 

There was one farmer who approached us that stood out to me the most. He simply came to the stand to offer his thanks as he had been receiving support from a volunteer at FCN, and he said he was in a much better place for it. To see the positive impact of our volunteers efforts was very heart-warming and it reminded me that that is our aim. 

There were so many stands and demonstrations there that I didn’t quite get the chance to fully explore but they all seemed highly innovative, forward-thinking and beneficial for the farming community. There certainly seems to be an air of change and fresh ideas in store for farmers.

To conclude

I believe that stepping into FCN after uni was quite possibly the best thing to happen for me, because in it I got the chance to explore a world unfamiliar to my own and yet I found a community of people that are immensely supportive and warm.

In particular I’d like to thank my manager Alex, for always being there, believing in my abilities and being an all-round wonderful and inspiring person, and to Jude, for extending the time I could spend at FCN and for building such a great working environment.

If you want to volunteer or work with FCN’s brilliant team, simply fill out the form at Volunteering with FCN – Farming Community Network or email help@fcn.org.uk. Do it! Supporting each other is always worthwhile.

Be a part of supporting the agricultural community that works so hard every day to keep us all fed. 

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