RSPB NI – Conservation Officer


Reference: MAR20235735
Location: Across East County Down
Salary: £28,420.00 – £31,529.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance, 26 days Annual Leave

As part of the RSPB NI’s Area Team working in East, you will deliver a range of work for priority species and habitats across County Down. In this varied role you will provide advice directly to farmers and land managers, coordinate and undertake surveys, manage a Team of dedicated volunteers and help deliver conservation projects to help nature thrive across County Down.

You will be a determined and enthusiastic team player with a passion for nature and a commitment to advise on some of Northern Ireland’s most important areas for farm wildlife. This role will allow you to develop your skills under guidance from colleagues, but a background understanding of landscape scale conservation, GIS and nature conservation delivery mechanisms is desirable, as is a knowledge of arable and mixed farming systems.

This role will sit within the RSPB NI East Area Team and report to the Conservation Manager. You will have an important external role, building positive relationships with key partners and stakeholders, advocating nature friendly farming methods, and showcasing what good looks like. A background in farm advisory and nature conservation delivery mechanisms is essential, as is an in-depth knowledge of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affair’s (DAERA) Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS).

This is a fantastic opportunity to play your part in delivering RSPB NI’s conservation work within areas rich in wildlife and important for people – if this sounds like the job for you, we would love to hear from you.

You will be responsible for:

  • Facilitating the RSPB NI County Down Farmland Bird Initiative (a group option within EFS)
  • Providing advice, training and information to local communities, landowners, land managers and land use advisers on priority species and habitats, in close liaison with other members of the Conservation Team
  • Submitting quarterly and annual claims and reports to project funders and stakeholders
  • Acting as an EFS planner to produce site specific remedial management plans for farmers entering the scheme
  • Manage and develop volunteers to ensure the delivery of an ambitious work programme maintaining focus on priority species and habitats
  • Undertaking and overseeing species/habitat surveys and monitoring work on sites to ensure delivery of site/s objectives. This includes mapping, and the gathering & management of electronic data
  • Demonstrating best practice in terms of collaboration & communication, working with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders
  • Managing medium and small projects using the RSPB’s Project Management Framework
  • Supervising contractors to carry out work on sites safely and legally to deliver project targets
  • Building positive relationships with key decision-makers, external partners and stakeholders so that RSPB’s policies and messages are understood and furthered by decision-makers and within relevant partnerships

Essential Knowledge, skills, and experience:

  • Degree level qualification in a relevant subject or ability to show equivalent work experience
  • Sufficient understanding of species and habitats of Co Down including yellowhammer
  • Sufficient knowledge of a range of delivery mechanisms, including agri-environmental schemes such as EFS, for conservation work in Co Down.
  • Ability to work effectively as a team player both internally and in external partnerships
  • Excellent communication skills (verbal, written and presentational) – including an ability to speak confidently and cogently in public to a variety of audiences
  • Ability to rapidly analyse significant quantities of information, prioritise and balance a diverse workload often to tight deadlines
  • Proficient at using Microsoft Office packages including Outlook, Excel & Word
  • Experience of negotiating with the public or private sector, to deliver biodiversity benefits
  • Experience of working to survey, protect and/or manage important sites, species or habitats
  • Experience of productive partnership working

Desirable criteria:

  • Competency in use of GIS.
  • Effective project management skills
  • Understanding of the concept of landscape scale conservation and the pressures on land use in the operational area of this role
  • Experience of delivering land management advice to farmers, landowners, and key stakeholders
  • Managing and supporting teams of volunteers

This is a Full-Time, permanent contract.

Closing date: 23:59, Tuesday 28th March 2023

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position on 4th April 2023.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

For all application enquiries, please contact

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