Project Officer – Ready to Earn (Kent)

Bring local landowners together to get under-managed woods back into management in Kent and Sussex

Job details

Location

Buckholt Wood, Petham, Canterbury, Kent

Salary

£15,000 - £17,000 pa (£25,000 - £28,300 Full Time Equivalent).

Hours of work

This can be offered as a 21 hours per week, fixed term employment contract with the RFS (ending in August 2025) or as a contract of works for an independent supplier (to be completed by 31 August 2025).

Contract

Temporary

Closing date

May 25, 2022

Job Summary

Nearly half of England’s woodlands are currently unmanaged or undermanaged. Well managed woodlands can be productive, profitable and highly beneficial for the environment (including for wildlife, flood prevention, air quality and climate change). Conversely, unmanaged and undermanaged woodlands aren’t paying their way for landowners or the environment and as a result, many of these woodlands are seen as a burden. The RFS are working together with the Janus Foundation to implement landowner and land manager led solutions to bringing more Kent and Sussex woodlands into management and to educate young people for the benefit of the local economy, communities and the environment.

This part-time post/contract of works has been created to help us set up and run a new project ‘Ready to Earn’ in Kent and Sussex that will help landowners and managers to grow sustainable income from their woodlands and bring more of these woodlands into management. The Project Officer will bring stakeholders together to discuss barriers to woodland management and help them to find creative solutions to overcoming these barriers

This can be offered as a 21 hours per week, fixed term employment contract with the RFS (ending in August 2025) or as a contract of works for an independent supplier (to be completed by 31 August 2025).

About the RFS

For 140 years, the RFS has dedicated itself to sharing knowledge on the art and science of woodland management so that the accumulated wisdom and experience of landowners, foresters, arborists and others is transferred from one generation to another. You can find out more about the RFS on our website www.rfs.org.uk.

We are flexible and accommodating in the way that we work together and some home working and flexible hours could be accommodated in this post if required. The successful candidate will receive a tailored training package and will be supported in their progress and development by their line manager.

Responsibilities and duties / Schedule of work

As our Ready to Earn Project Officer, you will lead on the day-to-day management of the Ready to Earn project. Core activities, are described below:

  • Run three workshops a year where local woodland owners, managers and other stakeholders can discuss issues and ideas in relation to woodland management. The first two workshops would cover the following:
    • The current level of management of participants’ woodlands
    • Specific barriers to management of woodland.
    • Opportunities to generate income from participants’ woodlands
    • Opportunities for collaboration between participants.
  • Produce a report on the findings of the workshops with recommendations for follow-up actions.
  • Investigate cost-effective methods for achieving ‘ready to burn’ firewood (less than 20% moisture as per the new government legislation). This would include:
    • Design and install three or four different timber drying kilns in a local wood in collaboration with local secondary schools.
    • Source freshly cut wood to dry from local woodlands.
    • Conduct a desk study to investigate which methods of drying logs have been used by others and to what degree of success.
    • Compile a comparison of traditional drying methods (stack and cover) vs use of the three or four kiln designs.
    • Run a cost-benefit analysis of using the kilns to achieve certification.
    • Investigate opportunities to scale operations and collaborate with other woodland owners and organisations.
    • Conduct an analysis of routes to market for the firewood.

Person specification

Essential skills and attributes

  • You must be personable, outgoing, positive and capable of developing good professional relationships with local landowners and other stakeholders.
  • The successful candidate/contractor will be an advocate for good woodland management in the face of a changing climate and with increased threats from tree pests and diseases.
  • Although a university degree is not a prerequisite for this role, we are seeking a candidate/contractor who can operate at this level. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have advanced your skills in all forms of communication, critical thinking and personal responsibility.
  • A solutions-focused approach and excellent problem-solving skills will allow you to facilitate at workshops, allowing stakeholders to develop creative solutions to any barriers they face to woodland management.
  • A high level of literacy and numeracy will help you to prepare effective project reports.
  • You will need to be confident using some standard Microsoft software (including Word and Excel).
  • You must have the Right to Work in the UK (as per UK government guidelines) for the entire duration of the contract (until end of August 2025).
  • A full UK driving licence.

Desirable skills and attributes

  • A university degree (or equivalent) in a subject with relevance to the role (showing technical understanding of forestry/countryside management issues).
  • Experience of practical countryside management or experience of managing contractors or volunteers.
  • Confidence and experience of running workshops as a facilitator.
  • Experience of writing project reports or action plans with recommendations.

To apply for this role, please send a CV and covering letter (detailing your relevant skills and experience) to Christopher Williams, RFS Chief Executive at Christopher.williams@rfs.org.uk. If you wish to apply to fulfil this schedule of works as an independent supplier, please provide the full CV(s) of the person(s) who would fulfil the contract along with a breakdown of costs.

You are welcome to make an appointment with Christopher for an informal chat about this role/contract by emailing Christopher.williams@rfs.org.uk

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 25 May (midday). Interviews will be held on Thursday 9 June at Buckholt Wood, Canterbury, Kent.

If you also have skills in secondary education, this role could be combined with our new Kent Education Officer role.