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  • Organization: Commonwealth of Learning
  • Location: Burnaby
  • Grade: Mid level - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Food Security, Livestock and Livelihoods
  • Closing Date: 2019-01-31

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Education Specialist: Agriculture & Livelihoods

Burnaby (Canada)


Position Title: Education Specialist: Agriculture & Livelihoods

Grade: B

Reports to: Vice President


Duration of Contract: Three-year term 

Location: Burnaby, British Columbia


Commonwealth of Learning (COL) helps governments and institutions to expand the scale, efficiency and quality of learning by using new approaches, appropriate technologies, and open and distance learning methodologies. Headquartered in British Columbia, Canada, COL promotes learning for sustainable development. It is financed by voluntary contributions from Commonwealth Member States.


Overview of Functions:

The Education Specialist: Agriculture and Livelihoods develops and manages a programme initiative aimed at improving the livelihoods of marginalised farming communities, particularly for the benefit of women, through the use of technology-enabled learning and linking communities with various stakeholders such as government, financial institutions, the private sector and civil society. This job also involves establishing models of agricultural finance to address issues related to agriculture, forestry and fisheries within the context of livelihoods security, social and gender equity and environmental sustainability.


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conceptualises, manages and implements the Lifelong Learning for Farmers (L3F) programme initiative. This involves developing and implementing strategic plans for L3F with achievable results and formulating annual action plans with budgets based on the six-year planning cycle, providing regular updates on all activities; authorising expenditures within assigned budgets and defined limits; and actively participating in the monitoring and evaluation of all activities on an ongoing basis.
  • Networks with governments, financial institutions, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to scale up L3F from meso to macro level at the provincial, national and regional levels.
  • Achieves the outputs, outcomes and impacts as envisaged in COL’s corporate plan and the strategic plan of the L3F initiative.
  • Works as a team player with colleagues; identifies partners, selects and manages consultants, and builds and maintains good relationships with stakeholders; raises additional contributions for the initiative.
  • Contributes to COL’s overall mission and corporate life.
  • Takes responsibility, as assigned, for liaison between COL and member countries in consultation with country focal points. This includes identifying country needs and priorities related to COL’s mandate and regularly updating Country Action Plans for the L3F initiative.
  • Provides technical advice to ministers, officials, institutions, organisations and COL staff in relation to strengthening livelihoods in a sustainable manner using ODL and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and represents COL at national and international forums, as required.
  • Ensures clear work plans, identifies training needs and conducts performance reviews for direct reporting staff.
  • Performs other tasks as may be assigned from time to time.


Direct Reports:

Education Specialist: Agriculture & Livelihoods

Programme Assistant (shared)



Qualifications and Experience:




Postgraduate qualification in: Education; Agricultural Science; Social Sciences and / or Environment or related field. 

Qualification in open and distance learning and/development/finance is desirable.

Ten years’ experience of working in open, distance and technology-mediated learning with special reference to agriculture and livelihoods out of which five or more years of this experience should be in international development. 

Experience in the following areas is required: 

  • strengthening agricultural finance
  • developing national and regional level agricultural extension policies
  • conceptualising, implementing and evaluating programmes with outcome- and impactoriented results 
  • designing technology-enabled learning for farmers and relating learning to sustainable development.


Skills and Competencies:

  • Innovation and Creativity: Injects originality into daily work through research, personal knowledge, and networking relationships; brainstorms and encourages new ideas and solutions; takes appropriate risks.
  • Prudence: Sets an example by consistently modelling high standards of performance, honesty and integrity, especially with appropriate use of funds; ability to mobilise, prepare and manage financial budgets in an effective, efficient and judicious manner to deliver ‘value for money’.
  • Professional Judgment: Possesses an in-depth understanding of the programme goals and the ability to develop realistic, relevant and achievable plans, including monitoring and evaluation strategies; is sought out by others for advice in an area of specialisation; has the expertise to be perceived as a thought leader and be a credible interlocutor in the field.
  • Networking: Ability to develop and maintain a network of contacts in government agencies and institutions; exercises discretion and diplomacy while representing COL’s interests; capable of identifying and selecting quality partners, as well as to prepare, negotiate and manage agreements consistent with COL’s policies.
  • Communication, Supervisory and Team Orientation Skills: Communicates effectively in a variety of settings including to wider audiences; displays sensitivity to ethnic and gender issues in verbal and written communications; possesses the capacity and skills to lead teams and manage human resources (staff, consultants, etc.), by promoting co-operation and collaboration to achieve collective outcomes; openly shares information, knowledge and expertise with the team and coworkers; appropriately gives and is open to feedback.


Personal Attributes:

  • Commitment to the ideals of COL, notably to the role of learning as the key to sustainable development and to the capacity of technology to enhance that role.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment with a readiness to adapt to the work culture, where integrity, mutual respect and dedication to the organisation are expected.

COL Headquarters is located at 4710 Kingsway, Suite 2500, Burnaby BC Canada V5H 4M2

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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