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A post-grad opportunity in comms during COVID

Updated: Sep 28

On starting university in 2016, Alice Mutimer – WRENmedia’s newest recruit – often wondered what life would look like after graduation. She would ask herself: What field of study will I end up in? Where will I be living? Will the lessons I learned during my course prepare me for what’s coming? The one question she never thought to consider, though, was what will it be like to graduate during a global pandemic. Here, she describes her journey into a career in communications during the COVID crisis.


Alice (far right) enjoying pre-graduation celebrations before social distancing measures changed our plans

The current circumstances came as a total shock to me, as they did to many. The final few months of my university career, the in-person ceremony I’d looked forward to and the job market I’d anticipated joining were now unrecognisable, as ‘stay-at-home’ orders and social distancing measures were put in place.


It was at this point, in the spring of 2020, that my family decided to move ‘home’ to Suffolk, England from the US, where we’d spent the last six years. So, to make the job search even more complicated, I was now no longer looking in the US for a job, but trying to evaluate my prospects back in the UK from 4,000 miles away.


Critical communications


For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for communications. I’ve always seen the ability to share ideas and unite people as something to admire and, in turn, strive for. Communications is how movements start, how communities form and how the world moves forward. As such, although I did not know the exact field I planned to go into, I hoped it would be something relating to my enthusiasm for facilitating human connection, and engaging with topics of importance to me.


The current time is so critical for our world in many aspects. As well as the current global health crisis, we are seeing a total shift in political spheres; social systems are constantly moving and changing, and the environment is in desperate need of an advocate, or millions. Graduating at such a time, I knew I wanted to be doing something that felt significant, and through which I could see a tangible impact. Studying a wide range of social sciences at university, and becoming more informed as to the realities of the world we live in, brought my attention to the critical need that exists for improved awareness and understanding of these realities among the global population, as a whole. In other words, the critical need that exists for communication.


This is when WRENmedia was brought to my attention as a potential place of employment. My passions and ambitions align closely with the ethos of this team, who work daily with individuals, organisations and companies around the world to highlight issues close to my heart, such as development, sustainability and food security. Before the days of the pandemic and my family’s planned move back to Suffolk, I had already decided to spend the summer of 2020 with friends and family and I reached out to WRENmedia to discuss the possibility of an internship for the duration of my stay. Happily, despite COVID-19 and changes in my family’s plans, the internship evolved into a more permanent opportunity with WREN.


A crash course in agribusiness


Having been at WRENmedia for about a month, I’m still very much a newbie. However, each day I learn something that becomes useful for moving forward in this role, from how to publish a blog post, to the correct way to format scientific references – something many researchers still seem to grapple with! One of the first major projects I have been involved with was for the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), who partnered with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and USTADI in Kenya for the Vijabiz project. The aim of this initiative was to create sustainable employment for rural youth in Kenya, through active engagement in agribusiness. At the time I joined the company, WRENmedia was in the midst of producing a publication to highlight the youth groups involved with the project, their successes, the lessons learned and the overall impact of the project. Diving straight into this assignment, I have been able to work alongside the WRENmedia team and their correspondents in Kenya to write and edit success stories about the activities of youth agribusiness groups in the cereal, dairy and fisheries value chains.


Not only have I gained a much greater insight into the highs and lows for these youth groups as they strive to succeed in their agribusinesses, but I have a greater realisation of the many stages involved - and the precision required - to produce such a publication. The document is now in the final stages of design, and having experienced being involved in such a process from beginning to end for the first time, I’m really excited by the final result and am proud to see it all coming together.


In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to continuing to expand my skillset to work in the areas I’m passionate about. I know that communications is the future and, right now, I’m very excited to be a part of this dynamic sector.


Alice Mutimer

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