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Fieldwork Assistants, Rathlin Island

LIFE Raft Fieldwork Assistants x11


Rathlin Island, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

£21,255 - £22,818 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Closing date: Sunday, 31st March 2024  

We require 11 Field Officers for the ‘LIFE Raft project - Rathlin Acting for Tomorrow’ project.

LIFE Raft aims to remove invasive non-native ferrets and rats from Rathlin Island, NI’s most important seabird colony, and the successful candidate/s will play a pivotal role in the overall outcome. This is your opportunity to grow your conservation career and make a real impact.

Island restoration projects are demanding but with that, comes great personal growth in a very short space of time. Your work will directly benefit Atlantic Puffin, Guillemot, Corncrake, and much more besides. Project success will also directly benefit the Rathlin Island community. 

About the LIFE Raft project

Rathlin Island is NI’s only inhabited offshore island. It is also important at both a national and international level for seabird populations, but they are threatened by invasive non-native ferrets and rats.

The LIFE Raft project’s aim is to protect the island’s wildlife by eradicating both the ferret and rat populations from the island. The project will strengthen existing local pride in, and stewardship of, the island’s natural heritage and create significant socioeconomic opportunities. Success will require a multi-disciplinary approach covering technical operations, community engagement and collaborative working across the project partnership and with key external stakeholders.

The project has been made possible with funding from EU LIFE; National Lottery Heritage Fund; and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; and the Garfield Weston Foundation. 

Start dates

The start date for these roles will be staggered:

  • One role will ideally start 1 April 2024. This role will help seabird monitoring over the summer and then transition into the rat eradication field work.

  • The remaining 10 roles will start on 17th of June 2024. This is a fixed starting date due to the need to undergo extensive training. 

Key duties will include:

  • Carrying out fieldwork and biodiversity monitoring as part of the LIFE Raft project

  • Participating in an extensive training programme starting from June onwards

  • Preparing, setting up and maintaining rodenticide bait stations on Rathlin Island to agreed standards

  • Data entry and management to agreed standards

  • Working on private property with care, respect and due confidentiality for the property owner and their family

  • Following Health & Safety requirements at all times

  • Taking on some of the most challenging aspects of fieldwork required for the rat eradication project such as in the coastal zone

  • Working in harsh winter conditions including wind, rain and snow

  • Carrying heavy loads over uneven and steep terrain

  • Using your ingenuity and skills to solve problems

  • Reporting problems and challenges as soon as they are identified.

Furthermore, you will need to live alongside other team members and will be expected to muck in with food preparation and other communal living chores. You should expect to spend extended time stationed on Rathlin. 

Essential criteria:

For the role starting 01 April 2024:

  • A relevant qualification in environmental science with a keen interest in seabirds 

For all roles:

  • Relevant work experience, or a relevant qualification to carry out fieldwork safely and diligently

  • A proven ability to work with members of a small community with respect and integrity

  • Ability to take direction from your manager in a field work situation

  • Proven ability to work to agreed schedules and support your manager in achieving field based objectives

  • A strong team player

  • Proven ability to work towards demanding or immovable deadlines

  • Physically able to walk across difficult terrain for an entire 7.5-hour working day.

Desirable Criteria 

  • Rope access or mountaineering experience are highly desirable (but training will be provided to augment all skill levels)

  • Practical/technical skills (e.g., carpentry, construction, radio telemetry etc.)

  • Willingness to generate materials for communications purposes (e.g., photography of wildlife / fieldwork, writing blogs)

  • Track record in applying professional data collection standards in the field

  • Your own accommodation on Rathlin Island (but accommodation will be provided for those that cannot meet this)

These are full-time, fixed term contracts until 30th April 2025. 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.

Please note that we are actively recruiting for these positions, and reserve the right to close this vacancy once sufficient applications have been received. For further information please contact

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. This role will also require completion of an Access NI in addition to the standard pre-employment checks.

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.

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.

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