RSPB • RSPB Scotland - Inverness

Senior Conservation Officer - South Highland (Cairngorms)

Employment type:  Contract
Salary:  £33600 - £37275 per annum

3–4 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly

Job Description

About the Role

You will be responsible for driving and overseeing the work of RSPB’s conservation team within our South Highland team, to ensure delivery of the relevant outcomes of RSPB’s Saving Nature Strategy. The role will lead, manage and develop the conservation team in the area, consisting of a conservation officer, a capercaillie officer and a rare invertebrate project officer. You will help to deliver a work programme focused on our priority landscape including some of Scotland’s rarest and most iconic species and habitats. This will be achieved by using detailed knowledge and experience of the appropriate conservation toolkit to ensure we achieve our objectives. This may include site safeguard casework, species recovery work, land management advice, overseeing conservation projects and engagement in land use and marine policy.

This post will have a key role in instigating and managing programmes and projects across the Area and in association with RSPB colleagues. This includes those led by RSPB and our delivery in wider partnerships, particularly within the vast Cairngorms Priority Landscape. In the Priority Landscape you will be proactive with land managers to deliver ambitious targets for key woodland, upland, peatland & farmland species and habitats. The position will have an important external role, building positive relationships with key partners and stakeholders so that RSPB’s policies and messages are understood and furthered within relevant partnerships and fora. As the conservation leader within the area team, you will contribute expertise to the Area management structures, monitoring and reporting on the work plan and development of new work plans and/or project ideas. You will also be expected to contribute expertise and experience to RSPB’s policy and advocacy work, particularly around the uplands and woodland and contribute to the delivery of our funding and communications objectives, through communicating our conservation messages in a variety of ways.

You will help decide our position on capercaillie in the wider countryside, lead the casework in the area, manage a budget with income and expenditure around our project and wider countryside work, and link this work into both our reserves and the Cairngorms Connect project. You will help shape where we work on waders across the Cairngorms National Park and work with statutory bodies on where we think it most suitable to promote woodland creation to help benefit biodiversity. You lead on planning where we go next with projects such as 'Rare Inverts in the Cairngorms' and help spot out future opportunities to work on our key species and habitats. You will help shape the next Cairngorms Nature action plan and represent RSPB on Cairngorms stakeholder groups. You will liaise with ConSci and policy colleagues on work in the Cairngorms.

What we need from you


  • Degree-level qualification in a relevant subject or ability to show equivalent work experience.
  • Budget management.
  • Staff management.
  • Project Management of medium size projects.
  • Knowledge of the wildlife and habitats of the operational area of this role.
  • Sufficient knowledge of a range of delivery mechanisms for conservation work relevant to the
    operational area to advise staff on appropriate responses and interventions.
  • Ability to form effective teams (both internal and partnership) and work effectively as a team
    player and leader.
  • Excellent communication skills (verbal, written and presentational) – including an ability to
    speak confidently and cogently in public to a variety of audiences.
  • Confident advocating a position to landowners and managers, statutory partners, local politicians, members and
    volunteers who have different views.
  • Ability to rapidly analyse significant quantities of information, prioritise and balance a diverse
    workload often to tight deadlines.
  • Sufficient understanding of landscape scale conservation; land use and management; planning systems; of the Highlands of Scotland and be able to advise staff on appropriate responses and interventions.


  • Experience of raising funds from external sources for projects.
  • Experience of public engagement work.
  • Experience of major site conservation casework.
  • Specialist conservation knowledge in relevant areas, such as wetland, upland, farmland, woodland conservation.
  • Understanding of the concept of landscape scale conservation and the pressures on land use in the operational area of this role
  • Experience of woodland creation, forestry grant schemes and long-term forest plans.

Additional Information

For all application/role enquiries please contact -

Please note that you will be required to complete an application form where you will have the opportunity to tell us how you meet the criteria set above.

Before applying for this role we recommend reading through the candidate guidance notes attached to the top of this advert.

Company benefits

Open to part-time employees
Open to compressed hours
Enhanced maternity leave
Enhanced paternity leave
Adoption leave
Shared parental leave
24 days annual leave + bank holidays
Enhanced sick pay

The FlexScore® is the result of a rigorous 2-step verification of a company’s flexibility

First we assess the flexibility options RSPB provides and then we anonymously survey a statistically significant proportion of their employees to make sure RSPB is as flexible as they say they are. Our assessment is based on the six key elements of flexibility: location, hours, autonomy, benefits, role modelling and work-life balance.

We ask the hard questions so you don’t have to.

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