Plant Operator

Westcountry Rivers Trust

Stoke Climsland, Cornwall
£25,000 - £30,000 pa (dependent on experience)

Paid • Full Time • Permanent

Sectors: water & hydrology

Closing date: Thursday, 1st August 2024  

Westcountry Rivers Trust is recruiting a Plant Operator. This is a permanent contract following a successful 6 month probation period.

The starting salary for this role is between £25,000 and £30,000 per annum (dependent on experience).

The role is 37.5 hours per week

Westcountry Rivers Trust’s office is in Stoke Climsland and whilst we have adopted hybrid working there is an expectation to work from the office, and to travel to sites across the delivery area on a regular basis

Benefits while working for Westcountry Rivers Trust

  • 25 days Annual Leave per annum, with a reward for long service - an additional 1 day per year for each year worked over 5 years, up to a maximum of 30 days for employees serving 10 years.
  • An additional 3 days Annual Leave for the Christmas Closure period.
  • 9% Employer Pension, plus Life Assurance cover.
  • Hybrid Working.

Apply by midnight on Thursday 1st August by CV and Covering Letter to:

Interviews will be held in person at our offices in Stoke Climsland on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th August 2024

For queries about this role or the application process please contact [email protected] 

About Westcountry Rivers Trust

Formed in 1994, the trust was established to restore Westcountry rivers and everything we do is informed by the best available science.

Our work is driven by an ‘ecosystems approach,’ considering the function of the entire catchment, not just the rivers that flow within them.

We work with a wide range of stakeholders from landowners to local communities, businesses, farmers and water companies to restore and protect the rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal areas for the benefit of people, wildlife and the local economy. Measures to protect rivers can help to save money for farmers, lower costs for water companies, boost tourism, reduce the need to dredge estuaries and benefit human health.

There has never been a more important time to work for the rivers of the Westcountry as the impacts of the climate emergency and the ecological crisis forces society to invest in building catchment resilience.

Spurred by a shared love of rivers, Westcountry Rivers Trust is very much a grassroots organisation, brought into existence from the bottom up. In the early 90s, a group of individuals, passionate – but concerned – about the waterways around them, began to stitch together their ambitions for restoring Westcountry rivers, laying the foundations for the trust we know today. 

The Role

This role will provide a Plant Operative position and additional support, to the Operational team, across a varied programme of work and will report to the Senior Operations Project Manager

This role will support with a mixture of site-based delivery on a range of WRT projects and require a combination of acting as the lead machine operator on various work packages, potentially team leading on some sites, as well as supporting other staff and teams with their project work. The successful applicant will be a motivated, enthusiastic, team player who will be reliable and show initiative.

This role is a predominantly site based, but some desk-based work will be required, and the successful candidate will be able to work in line with WRT’s hybrid working policy which includes home, office and site-based work.

This role will support the Operations Team and other departments at WRT with the delivery of various catchment management outputs such as but not limited to, habitat creation and restoration opportunities, monitoring, natural flood management, arboricultural work and community engagement. Your role will be predominantly site-based working at various locations on our catchments throughout the South-West, supporting on the delivery of on array of project outputs for the Trust. You will be responsible for leading a small team of operatives to deliver a range of work safely and professionally on WRT sites. Reporting to the Operations Manager you will develop your knowledge and experience of working in the environmental conservation sector with a focus on enhancing freshwater environments.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Safely operating plant and machinery on site to support with the delivery of WRT project work.
  • Undertaking site surveys, drafting, and inputting to various site documents such as Method Statements, Risk Assessments and other consents or permits.
  • Mentoring others in the safe operation of plant and other equipment.
  • Support the operation and other Trust teams with other site-based work such as, but not limited to; chainsaw-based work, surveys and monitoring, installation of a variety of habitat features and monitoring equipment.
  • Potentially leading a team on site to safely deliver Trust work.
  • Ensuring a high level of health and safety standards are maintained.
  • Maintaining Trust equipment, machinery and tools.
  • Engaging with the public, volunteers, landowners and other stakeholders.
  • Developing junior members of staff and apprentices.
  • Delivering toolbox talks and other training to team members.
  • Supporting with capturing site-based evidence of work and drafting information for project reporting.
  • Flexibility to support on projects throughout the South-West.
  • Attend team and project meetings as required.

Person specification.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Qualification and experience of using plant machinery, in particular excavators.
  • Previous experience of carrying out work with chainsaws and other hand tools and plant machinery.
  • Experience of working outdoors in aquatic environments and remote locations.
  • Routine maintenance of plant and equipment such as chainsaws, brush cutters and other hand tools.
  • Good understanding of industry Health and Safety standards and codes of practice.
  • Experience of using various software from the MS Office suite.
  • Experience of delivering tree planting, NFM and habitat management schemes. (D)
  • Previous experience of supervising a team. (D)
  • A background in river restoration, fisheries, arboriculture/forestry, ecology or construction. (D)

Skills and Competencies

  • Ability to plan and manage workloads including suitable delegation and supervision of tasks.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Some of our commercial clients may require you to undertake a medical exam including drug and alcohol tests from time to time prior to carrying out work on their sites.
  • Experience of mentoring and training others. (D)


  • Plant and Machinery Qualification(s)
  • An industry recognised Health and Safety Qualification such as IOSH or similar.
  • Working to attain professional membership of industry organisation.
  • Minimum of Level 4 qualification or similar in relevant subject. (D).
  • Arboricultural qualifications:
    • NPTC Chainsaw 201, 202, 203, 206, 306, 308 (D)
  • FAW+F (D)
  • LISS/CSCS card (D)

The above are Essential criteria unless indicated as Desirable (D)