Assistant Conservation Officer (Antrim Plateau)


Northern Ireland
£26,379 - £28,319 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Sunday, 11th August 2024  

RSPB Northern Ireland are seeking to recruit an Assistant Conservation Officer in the Antrim Hills area. This is an incredible opportunity to work in one of Northern Ireland’s biodiversity hotspots, supporting one of the most important populations of breeding Curlews remaining in the Island of Ireland. Within this area the RSPB works closely with landowners to implement landscape-scale conservation efforts that benefit both habitats and species in the uplands.

About the role 

The successful candidate will play a crucial role in supporting the Conservation Officer in delivering a range of initiatives for curlews and other upland species, focusing on both landscape-scale projects and hands-on conservation efforts. Key responsibilities will include; providing expert advice to farmers and land managers within the Antrim Hills Curlew Initiative and a group scheme within the Environmental Farming Scheme. Coordinating and conducting surveys of priority species during the breeding season, assisting with habitat restoration and creation, and contributing to various conservation projects across this priority landscape. 

Following three of the most successful breeding seasons the UK has seen in decades, the Glenwherry site is at the forefront of landscape-scale curlew conservation. Our team is dedicated to adaptive management and innovative methods to ensure this population remains a strong hold.

We are seeking a passionate and dedicated individual who is truly inspired by wader conservation. The ideal candidate will be self-motivated and flexible, ready to embrace challenges and make a real difference. Your efforts will be vital in driving the success and development of our conservation work across the Antrim Hills. If you are eager to join a pioneering team and contribute to ground-breaking conservation efforts, we invite you to apply and help shape the future of wildlife conservation in Northern Ireland.

 Key Activities:

  • Support the Antrim Hills Curlew Initiative: Provide targeted advice, training, and information to local landowners and land managers on priority species and habitats.
  • Deliver Species and Habitat Work Programmes: Implement specific work programmes using appropriate conservation tools as directed by the Conservation Officer. This includes conducting breeding wader and habitat surveys and supporting and organizing seasonal staff.
  • Build Positive Relationships: Develop and maintain positive relationships with key external partners and stakeholders to ensure RSPB's policies and messages are understood and advanced within relevant partnerships and forums.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Demonstrate best practices in collaboration and communication, engaging with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

What we need from you? 

Essential Knowledge, skills, and experience: 

  • Degree level qualification in a relevant subject or ability to show equivalent work experience. 
  • Sufficient understanding of upland species and habitats. 
  • A good knowledge of breeding wader ecology. 
  • Experience with data collection and data entry, as well as some GIS experience. 
  • 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. 
  • Proficient at using Microsoft Office packages including Outlook, Excel & Word. 
  • Experience of working to survey, protect and/or manage important sites, species, or habitats. 
  • Ability to identify a wide range of UK birds by sight and sound, specifically waders and farmland birds. 
  • Ability to undertake demanding fieldwork in remote areas for long hours and in poor weather. 
  • Practical experience of quantitative habitat surveys. 

Desirable skills, knowledge, and experience: 

  • Understanding of the concept of landscape scale conservation and the pressures on land use in the operational area of this role. 
  • Sufficient knowledge of a range of delivery mechanisms, including agri-environmental schemes, for conservation work in the Antrim Hill. 
  • Experience of managing staff or volunteers and setting clear work priorities. 
  • Experience of productive partnership working. 

Additional Information

This is a Full time, Fixed-Term contract up until 31/12/2026 for 37.5 hours per week.

The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

 For further information please contact [email protected].

As part of this application process you will be asked to complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience listed above.

We are committed to developing an inclusive and diverse RSPB, in which everyone feels supported, valued, and able to be their full selves. To achieve our vision of creating a world richer in nature, we need more people, and more diverse people, on nature’s side. People of colour and disabled people are currently underrepresented across the environment, climate, sustainability, and conservation sector. If you identify as a person of colour and/or disabled, we are particularly interested in receiving your application. Contact us to discuss any additional support you may need to complete your application.

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

This role is not eligible for UK Visa Sponsorship - the successful applicant will need to have a pre-existing Right to Work in the UK in order to be offered an employment contract.

Please note that we reserve the right to close this role at anytime.

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