Countryside Officer

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A career as a Countryside Officer

Countryside Officers manage, protect and improve the local environment. They also organise and supervise activities with volunteers and community groups.

Countryside Officers ensure that the countryside is as accessible to people as possible for mutual benefit, through conservation management and making improvements to the environment. They encourage visitors to the countryside, promote awareness of the natural environment and protect and preserve the countryside for future enjoyment. This can include woodland and forests, coastal areas, mountains and rivers. Depending on the region, Countryside Officers might also work in marine habitats.

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You’ll need:

  • excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • to work well in a team or on your own initiative

  • analytical and reasoning skills

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail

  • project management skills

  • customer service skills

  • IT skills, keeping accurate records

A driving licence is often an essential requirement for many positions - depending on the area covered, there may be a significant amount of travelling between different sites, for meetings and to co-ordinate projects. A full DBS, Disclosure Scotland or Garda Vetting check may be required if the role involves working with children or vulnerable people.

Typical salaries
range from
Typical Hours

Around 37-40 hours a week - this will vary depending on the season with early starts common in the summer months. Weekend and bank holiday work, late evenings and overtime is often required. There are part-time, voluntary, and flexible opportunities available.

Day to Day
  • Manage habitats to maintain favourable conditions for wildlife and take surveys to monitor.

  • Manage exhibitions and visitor centres, raising awareness of environmental conservation

  • Action environmental and conservation projects, education activities, working partnerships and policy development

  • Ensure footpaths, bridleways and other public access areas are safe, making minor repairs when needed

  • Conduct environmental assessments and field surveys

  • Prepare applications for funding or assessing planning applications

  • Recruit and supervise staff and volunteers

Working Environment

Regardless of the season, work can physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers. Officers are likely to be provided with protective clothing (PPE), tools and equipment required to undertake the job.

Training Available

Training is an essential part of any job, giving you the skills and knowledge you need to do your job safely and correctly. It also helps to strengthen your current skill set and prepares you for the next stage in your career.


Apprenticeships help you build the experience and skills that employers want to see. No matter what stage you’re at, they’ll help set you up for a bright future. There are lots of ways to get involved.

Countryside Officer opportunities and careers paths

With experience and relevant qualifications, it is possible to progress to management positions, such Countryside Manager. It may be necessary to seek opportunities with an alternative employer to progress.

There is also the possibility of specialising in conservation or moving into environmental policy or management roles.


Countryside Officer will usually work in one of the following industries. Click below to find out more about possible career paths.

Environmental Conservation

Want to help protect our natural environment? Passionate about helping others understand the beauty around them? Then a career in environmental conservation may be for you.

People working in environmental conservation help look after the landscapes, habitats and species of the UK and Ireland’s hugely varied rural, costal, marine and urban areas. As well as offering spaces for rest and relaxation, our landscapes and habitats are important ways we can all find out more about our environment. They help people learn about sustainable land use, biodiversity and climate change, inspiring us to work together to solve the challenges our environment faces by reinstating woodlands, conserving habitats and protecting our coastline.

Environmental conservation offers a host of exciting career options for people who want to protect the environment and help other people enjoy it in a sustainable way. Whether you want to work in your local park, a nature reserve, our beautiful countryside or work on conservation around the world, if you’re interested in science, like working outdoors or want to help find answers to the big environmental questions we face, this diverse industry may the place for you.

  • Over 60,000 people are employed in conservation and environmental roles in the UK, with a further 190,000 engaged as volunteers

  • Between 2000 and 2019, the amount of time volunteers contributed to conservation activities in the UK increased by 61%

  • The UK Government has committed to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030 to support biodiversity

  • The report 'Ireland’s Environment: An Integrated Assessment 2020' outlines the state of Ireland’s environment at a strategic and national level, and planned responses to current and emerging environmental issues

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Qualifications for a Countryside Officer

These courses are perfect if you are starting out on your career but they are also great for people already in jobs who want to improve their skills.

To find out more about qualification levels in the Republic of Ireland, please visit National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland (NFQIE)

To find out more about qualification levels in Scotland please visit Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

Select level
Title Level
Training for a Countryside Officer

These courses are perfect if you are starting out on your career but they are also great for people already in jobs who want to improve their skills.

About Apprenticeships

Work, earn and learn

Whether you’re just starting out in the workplace, want to upskill or are considering changing direction, Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to build your career. Apprenticeships combine work with on-the-job training, so if you want to earn as you learn, there’s an apprenticeship out there for you – you can even start an apprenticeship if you already have a degree.

Apprenticeships for a career as an Countryside Officer

All about Apprenticeships

Work, earn and learn – no matter where you are in your career, an apprenticeship can set you up for a bright future.

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Want to take on an apprentice? Employers start here.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a unique blend of work experience and study to help build the skills and knowledge you need for your career. Apprentices are employees – they have a contract, are paid and get the same benefits as everyone else. But the difference between an apprenticeship and a normal job is that apprentices are regularly released from work for training. Sometimes that’s a day a week, sometimes it’s for a longer block – it all depends on the job and the apprenticeship.

Apprentices work for all kinds of people at all kinds of stages in their lives. Most apprentices fall into one of three categories:

  • someone who is just starting their career
  • someone who already has a job and wants to move forward in their company
  • someone who already has a job and wants to retrain to make a career change.

Previously restricted to school leavers and young people, apprenticeships are now a dynamic way of retraining people of all ages - there’s no upper age limit. The minimum age to become an apprentice is 16 and candidates can’t be in full-time education.

Benefits of an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships offer a unique combination of paid work and study. They’re an exciting option for anyone who wants to gain experience, upskill or change career while working.

They offer a chance to work, learn and earn:

  • workplace experience and skills development
  • a nationally recognised qualification
  • employee benefits and a wage
  • no student loans or tuition fees
  • contact with industry professionals.


Interested in becoming an apprentice? Search for current opportunities and apply here.

Find your apprenticeship

You can also check vacancies on employer websites or get in touch with your local careers service.

Apprenticeship Stories

What’s it like to work, earn and learn? Find out what apprentice life is really like.

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Alternatives to Apprenticeships

Useful Information

Useful Links

Discover Green Jobs for Nature (CIEEM)
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Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
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Natural Resources Wales
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Natural England
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Countryside Management Association
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Historic England
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National Trust
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Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
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Historic Environment Scotland (HES)
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National Trust for Scotland (NTS)
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Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
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National Parks UK
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The Wildlife Trusts
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Funding Options

Thinking about your finances is important when you're looking at courses and training - different types of funding support is available depending on what type of course you're interested in and where you are located. We recommend you contact the training provider for more information on course costs and financing, but here are some links to connect you to support available:

Skills Hub Scotland

Skills Hub Scotland is an online skill sharing marketplace creating new opportunities to learn and share skills. Wherever you are located - if you have a skill to share, or a skill to learn, Skills Hub Scotland can help.

Initially founded as a response to the Scottish Government’s CivTech 5 programme in 2020 and aiming to offer a platform for those in rural or remote locations, Skills Hub Scotland has been developed into an important sectoral resource. If you have a skill to share with others or are a training provider, list your workshop or course (all skills from all sectors are welcome). If you are a learner, use Skills Hub Scotland to search for and book a course!


STEM is an approach to learning and development that incorporates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Learning in STEM connects to Education for Sustainable Development/Learning for Sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals – this helps learners to understand that STEM plays a vital role in finding solutions to real world issues or challenges such as protecting biodiversity and tackling climate change. There are multiple pathways into a land-based STEM career including apprenticeships, further and higher education. This means that a career in STEM is open to everyone!

STEM Learning is the largest provider of STEM education and careers support in the UK. Their STEM Ambassadors programme sees volunteers representing a vast range of STEM-related jobs work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences. They help to open the doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from pursuing STEM subjects and careers. To become a STEM Ambassador, you can register via the STEM Learning website:

Lantra have worked in collaboration with STEM Ambassadors in Scotland to create two specific UK-wide Ambassadors schemes - Forestry and Aquaculture. Through these schemes, we want to make sure that those working in forestry and aquaculture have the support materials they need to take part in STEM activities. To find out more and register for the schemes, please follow the links below:

Smart Futures helps young people in Ireland discover the STEM subjects and careers that might be right for them. Co-ordinated and managed by Science Foundation Ireland, their programme allows young people to connect with people that are working in STEM, the organisations they’re working in and what their interests and skills are.

Not sure what you want to do?

Why not take a look at the Industries Explorer as an introduction to the different areas you could work in.

If we can support you with any specific information, please click the button below to get in touch.