Assistant Nature Conservation Officer

  • Job Reference: GBP 5160 DCC
  • Date Posted: 11 May 2020
  • Recruiter: University of Exeter (Graduate Business Partnership)
  • Location: Exeter, Devon
  • Salary: £18,812
  • Sector: Community & Sport
  • Job Type: Temporary
  • Duration: Initially 12 months from start date (likely extension for max 2 years)
  • Work Hours: Full Time

Job Description

A graduate is sought as a Assistant Nature Conservation Officer, for Devon County Council. The role is to assist in protecting & restoring Devon’s wildlife & connecting people with nature. This 12month GBP role starts remotely in June/July then returns to the workplace when restrictions are lifted.


The post is hosted by Devon County Council’s Environment Team which is based at County Hall, Exeter and includes a range of specialist officers covering issues relating to ecology, marine and estuaries, landscapes, flooding, historic environment, AONBs and energy.  Devon County Council’s ecologists manage the Devon Local Nature Partnership.

Devon Local Nature Partnership (Natural Devon) is an umbrella body which aims to bring together those with an interest in securing the economic and social benefits of a healthy natural environment.  For more information see

Whilst the intern will be hosted by DCC they will be working for and with a wide range of organisations and individuals across the county.  DCC’s ecology team currently provides planning and wildlife advice for Dartmoor National Park, Torbay and a number of districts.  A few key organisations involved in the Local Nature Partnership are Devon Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust, the five Devon AONBs, Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, South West Water, Forestry Commission, Environment Agency, Active Devon, Devon Maritime Forum and lots more…..

Previous interns are now: working as an ecologist for DCC, undertaking a PhD with Professor Fiona Mathews at Sussex University, Co-ordinating the Exe Estuary Partnership and working for Natural England.   


Purpose of Role

To assist the Natural Environment team and Devon Local Nature Partnership in protecting and restoring Devon’s wildlife and connecting people with nature.

Duties and Responsibilities will include:

  • Providing ecological advice to planners and developers on a range of planning applications including quarry restoration, housing schemes, roads and cycle routes.
  • Working with national and local experts to develop and update planning and wildlife guidance and frameworks e.g. net gain, protected species (dormice, bats), Devon priority species, lighting.
  • Providing ecological advice on DCC infrastructure projects (walkover surveys / monitoring / overseeing habitat clearance)
  • Advising on the management of DCC land e.g. working with Highways and communities to manage road verges and working with DCC land agents on County Farms.
  • Helping to co-ordinate the Devon Local Nature Partnership with a particular focus on communication.Priorities for the LNP include: Devon Nature Recovery Network, Climate Emergency, community action, naturally healthy, natural capital, invasives, dark skies, pollinators, ELMS.This will include organising meetings, conferences and workshops; reviewing and migrating the website; producing newsletters; social media; writing discussion papers and supporting partner organisations to take forward projects
  • Reviewing and updating DCC environmental data, information and guidance.

Training and Development opportunities

  • Training will be largely on the job and through informal internal training with DCC / partner staff.  There will also be some formal training opportunities available as required e.g. relating to wildlife legislation, habitat restoration, protected species licences, biodiversity metric, Habitats Regulations Assessments.
  • You will also be able to access the University of Exeter staff training and will need to complete the university’s mandatory training when you begin your role. 

 Level of Support

  • Daily line management and support will be provided by the DCC Environment Team.  Support and mentoring opportunities will also be provided by partner organisations as required. 

Other Benefits, Rewards and Recognition

  • The graduate will be employed by the University of Exeter and will be seconded to DCC, hence you will be able to access the university’s benefits to staff, and includes 39 days paid leave (inclusive of bank holidays and closure days).  
  • The County Council operates a flexible working policy
  • Travel expenses or personal mileage will be paid when out on official business.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided as required.
  • An ergonomic workstation will be provided, and any relevant checks will be carried out.



  • A relevant environmental degree (any level) within the last three years e.g. geography, zoology, ecology.
  • Protected species licences, especially for bats and dormice, would be desirable (but not essential).

Behavioural Characteristics/ Personal Qualities and Attributes

  • Enthusiasm, energy and a passion for bringing people together to conserve the natural environment.
  • A broad interest in wildlife conservation – from wildlife surveys and protected species legislation to community action, natural capital and health.
  • A strong interest in all forms of communication (guidance, social media, websites, events etc)
  • Flexible and proactive – able to deal with changing priorities and identify better ways of working.

Skills and Understanding

  • A broad understanding, and some experience of, nature conservation in the UK, including species and habitats, habitat management, national policy, legislation and key organisations.
  • Some understanding of ecology and infrastructure/planning, including legislative and policy requirements, protected species and habitat creation.Any experience would be an advantage.
  • An understanding of the socio-economic benefits of a healthy natural environment and knowledge / experience of relevant sectors e.g. farming, health, tourism, forestry, fishing, economy, community development.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong (above average) verbal reasoning skills. Ability to understand and reason with complex verbal information and present complex technical issues (e.g. relating to ecology and legislation) in plain English for a range of audiences e.g. planners, developers, community groups..
  • Strong organisational and project management skills.Ability to organise meetings and workshops and meet deadlines.
  • Excellent networking and partnership skills.
  • Writing, editing, and proofreading skills. Attention to detail is essential.
  • Ability to use Microsoft tools e.g. Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with a willingness and ability to work in a team environment and independently.
  • Ability to work sensitively with a wide range of people from all sectors with differing perspectives and opinions.Able to manage potential conflict.

Prior Experience

  • Some relevant nature conservation work experience (paid or voluntary) within the UK is expected, particularly relating to the skills listed above.
  • Can demonstrate a history of initiative and accountability for work.

Other Requirements

  • Graduate of a UK university within the last 3 years
  • Right to work in the UK for the duration of the internship.
  • A full driving licence would be beneficial


To apply for this role please complete our internship application which can be downloaded here: Please send your completed form to us by clicking APPLY NOW