Working from home creates new opportunities for schools team

Working from home has created new and exciting opportunities to the way student recruitment is delivered at the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). Deirdre Cooper, Senior Adviser for Schools Recruitment took time out of her busy schedule to tell us more about how the challenges of not being out and about has provided new opportunities for the CAFRE Schools Recruitment Team (SRT).
Deidre Cooper is the Senior Adviser for Schools Recruitment at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural EnterpriseDeidre Cooper is the Senior Adviser for Schools Recruitment at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise
Deidre Cooper is the Senior Adviser for Schools Recruitment at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise

What is your job role in CAFRE?

I am the Senior Adviser for Schools Recruitment and I manage a very dedicated and enthusiastic team of advisers, Liz Simpson, Toni Donnelly and Alan Johnston. Our job is about meeting people and making them aware of the courses on offer at CAFRE and the career opportunities that exist in the agri-food industry. These can be pupils, their parents, careers teachers, awarding bodies, more or less anyone who wants to find out what CAFRE has to offer. The SRT are all very “people focused” and we thoroughly enjoy what we do.

How has your job changed in the last two months?

My job has been completely turned on its head. Spring is the busiest time of the year for us. We are all out in schools, at careers conventions, shows or organising events at one of CAFRE’s three campuses. Working in isolation at home couldn’t be more different. However like everyone else we have adapted to a new way of working and believe it or not it has been really good for us. Over the last couple of years I have, dare I say, procrastinated about what we should do differently. The current situation has made us change the way we work for the better.

We are putting into place new ways of communicating with potential students and their families. Most of these changes have involved IT.

Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that in a few short months we would have managed to get presentations for each of the course areas on to the CAFRE website, delivered recruitment webinars and engaged more with our applicants through Social Media.

The team are also working on virtual “campus walk-a-bouts” and we are going to have a CAFRE stand at a virtual Careers Expo. That will definitely be interesting!

I am not sure if we will ever go back to working the way we were before COVID-19. We will continue to embrace technology and connect with young people in a way that they do all the time.

What have you enjoyed about working from home?

Working from home has actually been good. I miss my colleagues and the personal contact with careers teachers, advisers and young people. But believe it or not I am enjoying it. Having the time to use new (or not so new) technologies has created different opportunities to engage with potential students. I love to try out new things so I am delighted to have the opportunity to do so.

How do readers contact CAFRE if they have a question?

CAFRE offers courses ranging from Level 2 certificates up to Honours degrees in Agriculture, Equine, Food and Horticulture as well as a Master’s degree in Business. If anyone would like to find out more, please visit the CAFRE website, call Freephone 0800 028 4291 or email [email protected]

Also you can follow us at Discover-CAFRE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You could also give me a ring – I would love to hear from you.