Job and Task Description

The Assistant Research Officer role is for a twoyear term, ... • Exploring and sharing cutting edge youth issues and ... Job and Task Description- Ass...

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Job Title:

Assistant Research Officer


Youth Affairs Division

Job Grade:

Y (Young Professionals Programme)

Reports to:

Head of Research and Policy


London, UK

Young People in the Commonwealth Young people (under 30) constitute more than 60% of the population of the Commonwealth, and the wellbeing and development of this 1.2 billion youth cohort are essential to the success of the Commonwealth and its 53 member states. The Commonwealth sees young people as assets to their societies, with a proven capability to contribute to and lead change. It is vital to ensure they are developed and empowered to realise their individual potential, and to contribute to their countries’ development and the success of the Commonwealth. Accordingly, under its Young Professional Programme, the Commonwealth reserves a number of junior technical positions for young people. Youth Affairs Division The Youth Division (YTH) of the Commonwealth Secretariat, delivers the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), working with Commonwealth member governments, youth leaders and youth professionals on the development and implementation of policy and programmes for the empowerment of young people aged 15–29. YTH focuses on areas of major political, economic and social importance to young people, based on mandates received from Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings and the Commonwealth Secretariat Strategic Plan. YTH aims to support member governments, youth leaders and youth professionals to create the optimum enabling environment for young people to participate as equal partners in development and democracy. YTH also facilitates and supports representative youth leaders to build national, regional and pan-Commonwealth networks and have a voice in decision making. As well as stand-alone initiatives, YTH partners with other Commonwealth Secretariat divisions to integrate a youth perspective across all key facets of the Commonwealth (economic, political, human rights etc.).

Job Summary The Assistant Research Officer is responsible for providing technical and administrative support for: the thought leadership aspect of the YTH work; panCommonwealth youth research and policy development; and YTH strategic partnerships. He/she will work under the supervision of the Head of Research & Policy, and in collaboration with YTH’s Programme team and Regional Representatives. The Assistant Research Officer role is for a two-year term, as part of a Young Professionals Programme (YPP). Therefore, as well as the role described above, the Assistant Research Officer will participate in YPP professional development opportunities and experiences. He/she will also contribute to developing and strengthening the YPP. To be considered, candidates must be no older than 27 years old as at the closing date for applications. Key Accountabilities 1. Contributes to the YTH strategic direction and operational planning, especially with respect to research and policy work, and thereby the Commonwealth Secretariat 4-year Strategic Plan. 2. Supports the positioning of the Commonwealth as a thought leader in youth development, and ensures the relevance and impact of YTH work, by: • Exploring and sharing cutting edge youth issues and opportunities, innovation, policy and programming; • Contributing to ground-breaking research on current and over-thehorizon youth issues and opportunities, and dissemination of findings to key stakeholders; • Contributing to the development of context-specific research papers, toolkits, resources, guidelines and training programmes, for use by / with member governments, youth leaders and youth professionals; and • Contributing to the building and nurturing of relationships with current and potential partner organisations to enable cutting edge research and service delivery partnerships and mobilisation of resources. 3. Supports the Research & Policy team by: • Providing administrative support, including correspondence, procurement and payments, related to research, policy, partnerships and communications work. • Supporting the coordination of meetings, groups, networks, communities and on-line content, and providing administrative support to programme activity such as events, meetings and workshops. • Contributing to development of papers, speeches, presentations and talking points for senior staff.


Representing the Commonwealth Secretariat in research and policy networks, forums and meetings as delegated by the Head of Research & Policy.

4. Participates in professional development opportunities as a participant of the Young Professionals Programme. Contributes to development / strengthening of the programme. 5. Carries out any other appropriate duties as required by YTH Senior Management for the efficient operation of the organisation in a continually evolving environment. Person Specification This role forms part of the Young Professionals Programme (YPP), so to be considered, candidates must be no older than 27 years old as at the closing date for applications. Education • A strong bachelor degree or equivalent, with a significant research component, in a relevant discipline, such as youth development, social sciences, or international development. • A relevant post graduate qualification highly desirable. Experience - Essential • At least one year of demonstrated work experience in contributing to the design and delivery of research projects. The work experience may be gained through a combination of paid employment, volunteer, placement or internship positions. • Sound and demonstrated knowledge of youth and/or social development. • Demonstrated experience in stakeholder engagement. Experience - Desirable • It is highly desirable that candidates will be able to demonstrate experience in a number of the following areas: o Cutting edge youth development research and/or policy work. o Leadership level involvement in a youth-led social change initiative or representative organisation. o Working in a developing country. o Working in/with Government, intergovernmental or international NGO organisations. Skills • • • •

High personal standards of excellence. Demonstrated commitment to Commonwealth values. Strong knowledge of research methodologies / institutions / environments. Excellent: 3

• • • •

o Verbal and written communication skills in English. o Interpersonal skills. o Creative thinking and solution building abilities. o Analysis and synthesis skills o Strategic thinking and operational planning capabilities. o Administrative and organisational abilities, including an eye for detail. Numerically literate. Technologically savvy . Ability to work autonomously and in teams, and in a multi-cultural work environment. Demonstrated drive and initiative, a self-starter with a can-do attitude.

Competencies Working with Others Regularly shares information of value with colleagues Shows commitment to delivering on key agreements made to colleagues Makes an effort to view a situation from the other party’s perspective as well Demonstrates awareness and sensitivity to colleagues’ pressures Develops a wide network, including senior level contacts to facilitate activities and further own knowledge Develops long term relationships across cultures and/or geographical boundaries Uses relationships to identify the best people to help in the completion of tasks Tactfully deals with difficult people to gain buy-in and manage their expectations Communication Interacts and communicates effectively with internal/external contacts Ensures information is communicated to all the appropriate people Provides feedback to more senior colleagues effectively, providing justification where necessary Uses the correct method of communication, depending on the message and the audience Anticipates objections in dialogues and prepares convincing responses Writes reports and papers that are succinct accounts of key information Developing & Applying Professional Expertise Proactively identifies how to develop specialist knowledge Takes learning from previous experience and applies it appropriately Demonstrates willingness to learn new skills and/or approaches Respect for Diversity


Works effectively with people from all backgrounds Treats all people with dignity and respect. Treats men and women equally Shows respect and understanding of diverse points of view and demonstrates understanding in daily work and decision making Examine own biases and behaviours to avoid stereotypical responses and does not discriminate against any individual or group Identifies biases in systems & processes Adhering to Principles and Values Adapts professional style to suit different situations with different individuals where appropriate Takes ownership of assigned tasks, honours deadlines Ensures timely delivery of outputs within defined cost and quality standard parameters Adapting and Innovating Recognises opportunities for improvement and proposes change with impact and effect Drives forward improvements and innovations within own area of responsibility, adding value where appropriate Quickly grasps new concepts and how to apply them Demonstrates flexibility e.g. by working beyond own remit in order to achieve an objective Will effectively reorganise activities when faced with changing contexts and demands Promotes new ideas that are picked up by senior colleagues Adapts personal style to meet the needs of others