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Ben Phillips

Current role:

Humanitarian Desk Officer

Joined Oxfam in 2012

2012: Systems & Resources Administrator in the Humanitarian Department

2013: Humanitarian Knowledge and Information Management Officer

2014: South Sudan Communications Lead

2015: Information Manager for Yemen

2016: Humanitarian Desk Officer for Oxfam GB

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What was your first role? What were your aims and ambitions when you first started?

My first job was with the Humanitarian Department Administration Team, and when I joined Oxfam wasn't sure what I wanted in my future career. I was passionate about humanitarian work but didn't know what my career path would be myself. What I did realise is that I needed to commit and learn more about Oxfam in order to progress as I didn't have a technical background. My first job was a fixed term contract and I was offered a permanent role after six months. With no technical background I felt that roles around communications, information would be a path for me with the potential goal of becoming a Humanitarian Desk Officer.

What helped you get there over your career?

Being committed and offering to do work outside of my job description but would help me get more experience was critical. I feel that in Oxfam secondments are excellent ways of getting new experience and I have been lucky enough to have 'stumbled' into a number of short term roles. I was deployed to South Sudan as the communications lead for two months and supported Yemen as Information Manager for four months. These roles gave me stronger programme experience to then get more programme related roles. I then covered a Humanitarian Desk Officer role for the Global Humanitarian unit working for the Middle East and southern Africa. My experience both of our programme work through working for the South Sudan and Yemen team helped but also working in the department for four years taught me a lot that many wouldn't have had the benefit of learning.

What skills have you developed - without technical experience?

Ideally I would have gained experience as a Programme Manager, the opportunities I have had to date have really helped me to improve my communication and coordination skills. I have taken a proactive approach to learning from specialists in order to support my progression.

What next?

I have secured a permanent role as Humanitarian Officer and will be starting my role in the next few weeks.

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