London, Greater London

£27,000 per year (pro rata)

Permanent, Part-time

About the organisation

At Refugee Support Network we are working towards a world where all young people displaced by conflict or crisis are able to build more hopeful... Read more

Job Description

Please see attachment (to the right of this page) for a PDF version of this information (job summary, job description and outcomes, person specification and application process).

1. Job summary

Job title: Research Officer - Refugee Education

Reports to: Chief Executive

Staff responsibility: May manage interns and volunteers

Hours: Part-time, 2.5 - 3 days per week

Salary: £27,000 pro rata

Contract: Permanent

Location: Willesden Junction (London) with national and international travel

2. About RSN

At Refugee Support Network we are working towards a world where all young people displaced by conflict or crisis are able to build more hopeful futures. We do this by supporting young refugees and asylum seekers to access, remain and progress in education.

Currently, over 500 young people each year benefit from our core programmes:

  • Educational mentoring: we recruit and train community volunteers to provide bespoke 1:1 educational mentoring to young people in their area. We currently deliver this through educational mentoring hubs across London, Oxford and Birmingham.

  • Access to higher education: we offer – through a national helpline and face-to-face sessions – advice and support for young people who have the academic potential to attend university but who face challenges in doing so because of practical and immigration status-related barriers.

  • Specialist education and wellbeing support: we provide personalised advice, guidance and psychosocial support to young people who are NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) or facing significant barriers to educational progression.

Alongside our direct work with young people, we undertake research and consultancy and provide training, ensuring that the voices of young refugees and asylum seekers are heard by the policy- and decision-makers who affect their lives. Our new strategy has also introduced an innovation stream, enabling us to remain responsive and creative in the face of emerging needs among the young people we exist to serve. 

RSN is led by our founder and Chief Executive, who, assisted by our senior leadership team, provides leadership and direction to our growing staff of 24. Our well-qualified, dynamic and thoughtful team has a wealth of experience in the refugee, education, youth, international development and humanitarian sectors, and is supported in the delivery of our programmes by over 150 volunteers.  Our work is overseen and scrutinised by an active and engaged board of trustees who meet on a quarterly basis. We receive regular additional input and expertise from our Youth Advisory Board, and, when we need specialist guidance, from our team of expert advisors.

RSN was founded in 2009 by members of a church in north west London with widespread experience working in the refugee and international development sectors as well as a desire to see the most vulnerable in their community cared for and supported. Since then, we have sought to outwork our Christian ethos at every level of RSN - in our governance, values, strategy, staff care and direct work with young people - and we continue,  nearly ten years on, to respect faith, culture and the role of these in our lives and the lives of the young people we work with and seek to serve. 

3. Job mission and description

The mission of the research officer is to contribute to the delivery of high quality refugee education research and evaluation work within RSN, and to gradually develop significant expertise in this field. 

RSN is a medium sized front-line service providing organisation (24 staff), with a rapidly growing research portfolio. As a research officer your role will include:

  • providing project management and administrative support for a range of research projects

  • contributing to literature and landscape reviews

  • helping design methodological approaches

  • conducting interviews (both distance-based and in-person) and focus groups (with both adults and children)

  • undertaking fieldwork in a range of contexts

  • coding, analysing and presenting data

  • producing fluent and well structured contributions to written reports

  • interacting with clients and donors 

At times you will work independently on projects, reporting to the Chief Executive, and at other times you will work in small teams with colleagues from RSN or research partner organisations. 

Within this context we anticipate you will spend your time on the following:

  • One international refugee education research study (30%)

  • One UK focused refugee education research and good practice project (30%)

  • Several smaller studies (20%)

  • Internal activities (20%)

Job outcomes

  1. The Chief Executive and senior team are supported to deliver high quality research products on time and within budget 
  2. Written products (including literature reviews, data analysis documents etc) are drafted to within 75% completion level, requiring minimal input from senior team members
  3. Field work activities are undertaken sensitively and to a high standard, in a range of locations - with high quality data gathered and full learning captured in a clear structure
  4. RSN has clear project management processes for all research projects
  5. All of RSN’s research projects receive timely administrative and logistical support 
  6. RSN’s excellent external reputation for refugee education research is maintained and built upon, through confident, engaging and professional interactions with donors and clients
  7. All forms of written and verbal communication, including emails, presentations and trainings are clear and competent, reflecting RSN’s key messages and values

4. Person Specification

In order to achieve this role’s mission and deliver its outcomes, candidates must demonstrate the following competencies:

Competency 1: Research skills

  1. Able to evidence high quality work on past research projects

  2. Able to code, structure and process qualitative and quantitative data and draw insightful conclusions

  3. Demonstrates an ability to understand, absorb and summarise new information quickly and proficiently

  4. Demonstrates experience of conducting field work sensitively, ethically and appropriately with vulnerable or at risk populations

  5. Has a good understanding of participatory and youth-centred research methods

  6. Deals promptly and calmly with safeguarding concerns as they arise and follows RSN’s child protection and safeguarding processes accurately.

Competency 2: Written and verbal communication skills

  1. Writes clearly, articulately, accurately and appropriately for a range of audiences. 

  2. Maintains this high standard in all forms of written communication, including email.

  3. Displays excellent verbal communication skills with a range of audiences - from those with very little English to senior staff within commissioning or funding organisations

Competency 3: Knowledge

  1. Demonstrates a strong understanding of the key issues in refugee education, both in the UK and internationally.

Competency 4: Personal working style

  1. Works well independently and is confident to take decisions on their own whilst recognising situations where it is appropriate to discuss with their line manager or the wider team

  2. Prioritises actions appropriately when juggling competing deadlines.

  3. Maintains stable performance when under heavy pressure or stress, demonstrating strong willingness and internal motivation to work hard and get the job done. 

  4. Takes the initiative to reflect critically on their own performance and develop improvement strategies.

  5. Keeps accurate records and can be trusted to proofread important documents before they are shared externally.

  6. Does not cut corners ethically. Earns trust and maintains confidences. Does what is right, not just what is politically expedient. Speaks plainly and truthfully.

  7. Has developed and practices effective self-care to avoid burnout, including the ability to maintain appropriate boundaries in order to keep workload at a sustainable level.

Competency 5: Team working

  1. Understands, values and speaks affirmingly of the work of other team members, partner organisations, donors and beneficiaries. 

  2. Contributes to a positive working environment by taking time to build relationships with everyone they engage with through this role, being helpful, kind and sensitive to their needs.

  3. Has sufficient IT knowledge to work effectively on the RSN team. Eg: able to use, or quickly pick up,  google drive, whatsapp, google hangouts, CiviCRM

  4. Participates actively in team meetings

Competency 6: Ethos and vision

  1. Is passionate about RSN’s vision of enabling young refugees to build more hopeful futures through education.

  2. Is able to work in accordance with RSN’s Christian ethos. Is motivated by personal core beliefs (whether Christian or not) and excited about being part of an organisation which is founded on, and seeking to outwork, the Christian faith. 

5. Equal opportunities 

RSN is committed to promoting equal opportunities in employment. Any job applicants will, except in circumstances justifying different treatment that are not unlawful (for example to comply with an occupational requirement), receive equal treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (Protected Characteristics).

6. Application process

You must have a visa that allows you to work in the UK for at least the next full year to apply for this job.

To apply, please submit your CV and cover letter through Charity Job by 9am Friday 16th August. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to complete a written test, and subsequent interviews will take place 6th and 10th of September.

In your cover letter (maximum 2 pages of A4) please demonstrate how you meet the competencies of this post as articulated above, and explain why you would like to work with Refugee Support Network in this particular role. 

Disclosure of a Criminal Record

The Rehabilitation of Offenders 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 1986 does not apply to posts where there is access to children. This means that applicants for employment which involves working with children and young people must disclose any criminal record. If your application is successful, you are required to make these disclosures and consent to Refugee Support Network verifying the accuracy of your response with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). References will be taken up and a DBS check carried out for the successful candidates, but as part of our safer recruitment policy all shortlisted candidates are required to complete a Self Disclosure form before interviews.