Conservation Officer – North Highlands


The Highlands of northern Scotland, renowned for their awe-inspiring landscapes, ranging from
coastal cliffs to one of the world’s largest blanket bogs, supports nationally and
internationally important populations of numerous priority species including Black Grouse,
Curlew, Common Scoter, and Hen Harrier.

The area faces huge development pressures, many of which are key in meeting the challenges of
climate change. To meet the recent increases in the scale and impact of pressures and our
ambition for positive change for nature, we are seeking an enthusiastic, dedicated individual
to join our team in tackling these challenges.

This is an exciting and varied role at the cutting edge of influencing and delivering
conservation in the Highland’s magnificent landscapes for its iconic habitats and species. 

What’s the role about? 

The Conservation Officer will work as part of our Conservation Officer Team and in close
liaison with our regional reserves and advisory staff. Much of the focus of the work is on
RSPB’s Flow Country Priority Landscape Area, centred on RSPB’s largest UK reserve at Forsinard.

Central to this role is the need to protect fragile peatlands, uplands and associated habitats
and species in the North Highlands – working with partners to challenge inappropriate
development and seeking opportunities to restore and enhance the habitats and species for which
the North Highlands are world renowned.

The successful candidate will engage with a broad sector of the regulatory system, including
working with Planning Authorities and developers, assessing impacts and influencing the
outcomes of plans and proposals relating to renewable developments, forestry, aquaculture,
energy grid infrastructure, land and water management.

The role will involve:

  • Responding to planning and forestry casework where these threaten designated sites and
    priority species and where there is opportunity to influence the design and outcomes for
  • Building and nurturing relationships – working closely with partners, stakeholders,
    communities and other NGOs to support our aims to protect and restore the fragile habitats and
    species within the North Highlands.
  • Supporting project development and the delivery of species recovery actions, through
    partnership working and direct conservation action for key species such as Common Scoter,
    Black-throated diver, Arctic tern, upland waders.
  • Seeking opportunities to diversify how communities and individuals engage with our work;
    ensuring that it is as inclusive as possible.

Essential skills, knowledge and experience: 

  • Sufficient understanding of the ecology of the Highlands, land use, management and the
    relevant regulatory, policy and legislative mechanisms to identify appropriate responses and
  • Proven ability to work effectively as a team player internally and externally to develop
    productive partnerships.
  • Ability to rapidly analyse significant quantities of information, prioritise and balance a
    diverse workload often to tight deadlines.
  • Excellent communication skills (verbal, written and presentational) to confidently and
    cogently engage with a range of audiences – including landowners and managers, local
    politicians, members and volunteers who have different views
  • Experience of working to survey, protect and/or manage important sites, species or habitats
  • Competent user of core MS Office programmes
  • Able to travel to remote locations in the UK without the use of public transport.

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Understanding of the concept of landscape scale conservation and the pressures on land use
    in the North Highlands
  • Experience of managing volunteers and setting clear work priorities
  • Specialist conservation knowledge of peatland habitats and upland species
  • Competency in use of GIS

This is a Fixed-Term, Full-Time contract until 31st March 2030. 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 3rd May 2023 at
our Inverness office. For further information please contact [email protected] 

As part of this application process you will be asked to provide a copy of your CV and 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.

Find out more & apply

To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your email/cover letter where ( you saw this internship posting.

Job Location