What the job involves
As a countryside officer you should be passionate about improving and conserving the environment around us. You would ensure that the countryside is as accessible to people as possible for mutual benefit, through conservation management and making improvements to the environment.
As well as this, you will advise owners on the management of land and planning applications, alongside other tasks such as:
- Performing research and conducting surveys
- Writing reports
- Supporting environmental events and projects
- Dealing with complaints
- Maintaining the footpaths and other facilities such as car parks and litter bins
This role is ideal for those who are passionate about nature and the great outdoors and are happy working outside at all times of the year.
You should have good communication skills, be organised and able to plan effectively. You should work well as part of a team and be confident in leading a team as your work is likely to involve managing volunteers and other members of staff.
You will usually work around 37 hours a week. This could include unconventional hours in the evenings and at weekends.
The work is physically demanding and will usually require you working outside for large parts of the day. This means you will need to adapt to working in all weather conditions.
Qualifications and training
There are a variety of qualifications at differing levels available to those wishing to work in the countryside. Entry into such jobs is often competitive so a formal qualification which reflects your knowledge and skills, alongside practical experience, will help strengthen your application.
For those looking for their first qualification to give them a solid grounding in countryside practices and principles may wish to consider a qualification such as the City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Countryside and Environment online, distance learning course.
In addition to qualifications and experience, you will need a full driving licence.
Getting into the profession
Relevant work experience and qualifications will help you a great deal as job positions are often limited and competitive. You could look for opportunities to volunteer at local parks or conservation charities for additional experience.
There are several places to look for jobs, including:
Salary and benefits
On average, the starting salary for a countryside officer is around £18,000. More experienced officers can earn as much as £30,000 – £50,000 a year.
As you gain experience you could become a senior countryside officer or manager or look at branching out into a specialist area such as forestry.