Communicating the Communications Officer Role

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The research period for the latest Zero Carbon Britain report is coming to a close, and we are now looking ahead to the communications phase of the project. We are recruiting for a Communications Officer to work alongside the current ZCB team, co-ordinating the communication of the new research findings, aiming to build awareness, stimulate debate and discussion, and catalyse further action amongst our target audiences.

Paul Allen, CAT’s Director of External Relations, talks about the roles and responsibilities of the post…

“We’re coming to the stage where we’ve completed the most recent year’s research. Because the 2010 report had such an impact in that lots of people were using it, lots of people were talking about it, the dialogue that came out of that made us recognise that there were some things where we couldn’t answer people’s questions. Not because what we’d got was wrong but because we hadn’t got enough detail. Particularly things like land use, diet and dealing with variability and balancing supply and demand. We recognised we needed to do some more work.

So we’ve been researching and burying our heads in data and looking at outputs from actual offshore wind farms, not theoretical models. Correlating them against actual Met data and scaling it up to give us an indication of what the profile of energy generation would be, and then comparing that with the demand profile and coming up with a new report which will be much much more detailed.

Paul Allen and Peter Harper discuss the 2010 ZeroCarbonBritain report

The new person’s job will be to run a communications strategy based around that research. We’ve got a draft aims and objectives of the communications plan and their first job is to go through that and add more detail to research into the different markets, look at the mapping that we’ve done, look at where the different target groups are now and what tools and resources we might need to develop. But primarily I think it’s looking at communicating it through CAT, because CAT’s clients are the people who are interested in this in any case and we’re surrounded by the sort of infrastructure that helps bring the point across.

It’s also about getting it out to other groups who can act as amplifiers of the message, particularly through developing the ‘ZeroCarbonBritain and…’ two-pagers, which seem to have worked very well in getting other people to think: ‘well what would it mean for refugees’ or ‘what would it mean for Egypt’ or all sorts of other things. So they will be building on that, developing more of those and so bringing in more groups. Also working with arts, creative practice and we’ve put some money in a budget to have ZeroCarbonBritain activities happening on the site, and it won’t be just kids activities, it’ll be family activities for the adults as well as the kids. And the new Comms role will be managing that, working out how we can take Laura’s Larder or Tobi’s energy game and do it this summer, for real, with the visitors…

It’s a chance to find somebody who is technically fluent, who’s got a science or an engineering background, who isn’t going to be completely flustered by somebody asking questions. I think it’ll be a really interesting job for whoever gets it. It’s the chance to work on cutting edge, state of the art thinking about how we grapple with 21st Century challenges. It means not having to beat on about the negative side of Climate Change and the worrying side for frightened looking polar bears on diminishing icebergs but to spout on about exciting visions of positive futures where we can cross the changes that we need to make to decarbonise with changes that can increase well-being, or more habitat, or economic recovery, or the jobs part of it. So there’s lots of positives there.”

Application packs can be downloaded from the CAT website.

More information about ZeroCarbonBritain can be found here.