Careers | RSPB

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Policy Officer - Sustainable Agriculture

Reference: JUN20211770
Expiry date: 23:59, 20 June 2021
Location: RSPB Northern Ireland
Salary: £27,574.00 - £30,590.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance, Annual Leave
Duration:Up to 31 May 2022
Attachments: CandidateGuidanceNotes.pdf

The RSPB’s vision is for a sustainable food and farming system which is good for people and good for nature. We want to see systems of farming across the UK that sustain and restore farmland biodiversity as well as producing safe, healthy food, protect the natural resources of soil, air and water that farming itself depends on, provide income and employment for famers and other workers in rural areas and contribute to a diverse rural economy.

To deliver our vision we need to work with others to change our food and farming system so that it provides farmers with the right balance of support to allow them to deliver for nature in addition to food and other services and engages wider society to support these changes and make nature and environmentally friendly choices in the way they eat and live.

The Policy Officer - Sustainable Agriculture will develop RSPB policy positions and proposals on food and farming, and advocate for the creation of a sustainable and integrated agriculture policy.  It involves working with a range of stakeholders, advocates, particularly farmers, but also farming representatives/unions, agri-businesses, food groups etc. to build, shape and advocate to the NI Assembly and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, to change the food and farming system to help save nature in Northern Ireland.

Key deliverables include:

  • Developing policy positions in relation to, future agriculture and sustainable land management in Northern Ireland.
  • Contributing to the development of other RSPBNI positions and advocacy on related land use policy issues including climate change, forestry, peatlands and water.
  • Working with colleagues across the RSPB, and where appropriate, with other NGOs, to ensure key messages and policy positions are aligned.
  • Working closely with staff delivering communications and public engagement to build public and political support for our food and farming and land use policy priorities.
  • Working closely with farmer advocates, such as the Nature Friendly Farming Network, to develop a strong movement for change
  • Working closely with staff delivering ‘on the ground’ activities, such as farm advisors, to help showcase best practice and develop learnings for future policy and advocacy.
  • Increasing public awareness about the connection between farming, food and the nature and climate emergencies.

Essential Skills and Abilities

We are looking for a professional, persuasive and engaging individual with an excellent understanding of current agricultural policy, and credibility within the farming community. They should have the skills and personality to be able to bring together a dynamic coalition, particularly farmers, but also farming representatives/unions, agri-businesses and food groups, to build, shape and advocate for new policies for food and farming in NI that are good for people and good for nature.

  • Experience of working in a policy or advocacy role to influence the development of government policy
  • Experience of advocating policy effectively to external audiences (including government, relevant businesses, NGOs) to further specific policy and advocacy objectives.
  • Knowledge of biodiversity and climate policy at international, EU, UK and NI level
  • Knowledge of EU, UK and NI Institutions relevant to the role 
  • Ability to monitor external policy developments and horizon scan for relevant issues and opportunities
  • Excellent understanding of agriculture, food and related land use and climate policy in a European, UK and specifically Northern Ireland context.
  • Ability to write reports, consultation responses and concise policy briefings to support advocacy efforts.
  • Excellent communication, writing and negotiation skills.
  • Ability to develop policy positions and to communicate effectively to a range of audiences, including politicians, farmers and the public.
  • Ability to work as part of a team to deliver a project and achieve shared objectives and outcomes.
  • Experience of working with others to develop and deliver a shared vision or set of proposals
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas and proposals to a variety of audiences in a concise and clear way
  • Proven ability to build and maintain effective relationships with external stakeholders


This is a full-time fixed term position until the end of May 2022 working 37.5 hours per week and we would be willing to consider a secondment.

As part of this application process you will be asked to provide a copy of your CV and complete a short form with some standard details.  We are actively recruiting to this role and will be reviewing CV's as they are received with a view to inviting to interview as soon as possible.

We therefore reserve the right to close this vacancy early if we receive sufficient interest.

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.

The post holder will be working within the RSPBNI Policy and Advocacy team, which is based at RSPBNI Headquarters in Belvoir Forest Park, Belfast.  There is an option to work remotely.

Any questions please contact Jonathan Bell

This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

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