Residential on Reserve (More than 4 weeks) (Conservation Skills - Long Term Placement – Orkney Native Wildlife Project)

Opportunity image

Available from 11 March 2024 to 13 September 2024

Where: Orkney Native Wildlife Project, Orkney

When: 11th March – 6th September 2024

Duration: 6 Months

Deadline We will be closing the application process on the 4th January.

Why We Want You:

The Orkney Native Wildlife Project is a partnership project between NatureScot, RSPB, Orkney Island Council, made possible by generous funding from EULife the National Lottery Heritage Fund and donations. Our purpose is to remove the non-native invasive stoat from Orkney and protect its native wildlife. You can find more information about who we are and what we do at

We are offering the chance for enthusiastic volunteers to come to Orkney and live for six months to join the field teams. There are two residential volunteer placements available March until September. The successful pair will assist with the survey, monitoring and trapping work that we undertake. These placements are for a fixed period of time and it is expected that the successful applicants will be available for the full six month period. We would like you to help with supporting all aspects of work on this internationally important eradication project. More information can be found in the supplementary information provided.

Please be aware that this role will include the handling of dead animal remains that have been captured as part of the eradication.

What’s In It For You:

In this role you will gain valuable experience in conservation including wildlife surveying and monitoring skills, practical management, fieldwork and data management.

The knowledge and skills gained from these placements will be of benefit for anyone wishing to pursue a career in conservation in a variety of areas, including monitoring work, habitat work, wildlife surveys and research, as well as giving you a practical insight and experience in to which areas you prefer working in.

We will provide in-house training in the various elements of the placements, to enable you to learn and develop in the role and help us protect Orkney’s native wildlife.

Your main duties, will be divided between a variety of areas, subject to operational requirements, these can be grouped as:

• Assisting with the project’s survey and monitoring programme, to include bird surveys, such as monitoring rare and vulnerable seabird species, farmland wader counts and birds of prey watches.

• Wildlife and habitat surveys.

• Experience in the removal of invasive non native species.

• Data management and use of GIS



• You must be 18 years or over.

• Available for full six months.

• The ability to undertake strenuous manual labour outside in all weathers and to walk up to 14km a day on rough terrain.

• Full clean driving licence.

• An understanding of the importance of working to methodologies and instructions, as well as keeping accurate and clear field notes.

• A keen and broad interest in natural history and conservation.

• An understanding of the importance of maintaining equipment and kit.

• Effective communicator with the ability to motivate, inspire and enthuse others, as well as form productive internal and external relationships.

• Good organisational skills, with familiarity with standard office software, especially Excel and a good standard of reading and writing.

• Keen and willing to learn and undertake various ecological survey techniques.

• An understanding of the importance of following health and safety protocols.

• The ability to work alone as well as part of a team.

• A willingness to engage with the team.


• An interest and some knowledge of the challenges of invasive species.

• Ability to navigate by map, compass and GPS

• Experience in a people facing role

• Ability and desire to live in shared accommodation


If you have any further questions please contact Tom Hadley ( or phone the office on 01856 881449. Please apply directly through the apply button on this page.

Shortlisting and interviews will take place in early January.

There is no charge to take part in the scheme. It is your responsibility to cover the cost of your transport to and from the reserve, and to provide and cover the cost of your food during your stay. The RSPB will provide accommodation, together with basic services, free of charge for the period you are volunteering, and cover any expenses incurred as a necessary part of your work on the reserve.