Assistant Conservation Officer (Antrim Plateau)


RSPB NI 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 on the Island of Ireland.
Within this area the RSPB works closely with land managers and landowners to deliver landscape
scale conservation for all aspects of habitat and species conservation in the uplands. 

About the role 

The successful candidate will support the role of the Conservation Officer in delivering a
range of work for curlews and other upland species, focusing on both landscape scale and
hands-on conservation efforts. They will be specifically responsible for providing advice
directly to farmers and land managers within the Antrim Hills Curlew Initiative- a group scheme
within the Environmental Farming Scheme. The role will also coordinate and undertake surveys of
priority species throughout the breeding season, work with farmers and contractors to restore
and create habitats, as well as helping deliver other conservation projects across this
priority landscape.

With the past three breeding seasons being amongst the most successful reported for any curlew
population in the UK, the Glenwherry site is at the forefront of landscape scale curlew
conservation. The team are constantly engaging in adaptive management and trialling new methods
to ensure this population remains a strong hold. We are therefore seeking someone with a
passion for breeding wader conservation, someone who is self-motivated, with a flexible
approach to work and who will contribute to the already impressive work undertaken and the
continual enhancement of conservation efforts across the Antrim Hills.

Key activities will include: 

  • Support the Antrim Hills Curlew Initiative by providing advice, training and information to
    local landowners and land managers on?priority species and habitats.
  • Undertake the delivery of species and habitat specific work programmes by deploying the
    appropriate conservation tools, as directed by the Conservation Officer to ensure effective and
    efficient delivery of the agreed objectives. This will include breeding wader surveys, habitat
    surveys and the support and organisation of seasonal staff.
  • Build positive relationships with key external partners and stakeholders so that RSPB’s
    policies and messages are understood and furthered within relevant partnerships.
  • Demonstrate best practice in collaboration & communication, working with a wide range of
    internal and external stakeholders.
  • Supervising contractors to undertake work on sites safely and legally to deliver project

What we need from you? 

Essential Knowledge, skills, and experience:

  • Degree level qualification in a relevant subject or ability to show equivalent work
  • 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)
  • 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.

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.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from 1/2/24. 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.

Find out more & apply

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