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Land & Animal Resource Technician

Employer
Aberystwyth University
Location
Wales
Salary
Competitive
Closing date
5 Oct 2023

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Job Details

The Role
The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) is a world class research, enterprise and education department at Aberystwyth University. The Pwllpeira‌‌n Upland Research‌‌ Centre is a centre for the study of all aspects of upland farmed ecosystems and is located in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains. Just over 50% of utilised UK agricultural land is classified as uplands, and within Wales this figure rises to 80%. Upland regions also play a vital role in delivering a range of ecosystem services; e.g. water management (including provision of drinking water and flood mitigation), carbon management (including soil carbon conservation and sequestration), and landscape and heritage management (including tourism, recreation and educational access). Land at the Centre extends to 550 ha at altitudes from 150 m to 600 m above sea level, and land use includes some cropping plus grassland types ranging from intensively-managed improved swards to mountain pasture. The holding is managed as a research platform and land not required for on-going research is let to summer graziers. Currently the Centre’s own stock runs to 200 sheep, 30 goats and 18 alpacas. On-going research topics include grassland establishment and management, animal behaviour, peatland restoration, methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, conservation grazing, upland oat production, and the feasibility of growing miscanthus. The Centre‘s resources are also used for teaching as part of undergraduate and postgraduate modules run by IBERS, the Department of Life Sciences and the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences.    

The post-holder will work alongside a small team of researchers and field technicians based at the Centre. 

To make an informal enquiry, please contact Proffessor Mariecia Fraser at mdf@aber.ac.uk.  

Appointments are normally made within 4 - 8 weeks of the closing date.

What you’ll do
This job description is subject to review and amendment in the light of the changing needs of the University, to provide appropriate development opportunities and/or the addition of any other reasonable duties.

The position is physically demanding therefore it is essential that you have an appropriate level of health and fitness. Appointment to this position may be subject to a satisfactory fitness assessment. You will be required to work unsocial hours as part of routine duties. You will be expected to live on site so you are available out of hours and at short notice, and subsidised accommodation will be available. 

Main Duties & Responsibilities

  • Manage field and animal resources across the Pwllpeiran Upland Research Centre, making related decisions as to when and how to make interventions as necessary to meet current and future research demands.
  • Maintain records of related activities as an archive of management interventions available to researchers.
  • Take responsibility for the site and its security out of hours, checking buildings and plots and dealing with problems as and when they arise.
  • Work autonomously, making management decisions with minimal line-manager supervision.
  • Carry out stock management and movements plus routine husbandry procedures on sheep, goats and alpacas.
  • Maintain detailed digital health and medicine records for all stock, making data available to researchers as required.
  • Maintain estate records and liaise with Rural Payments Wales as required.
  • Inspect tenant and summer grazier livestock on a regular basis to ensure compliance with very best agricultural practice.
  • Act as point of contact for summer graziers and neighbouring land owners (including Natural Resources Wales) in relation to requests and management of resources.
  • Implement field protocols for the Brignant long-term plots, a unique experimental resource at the Centre.
  • Be responsible for the management and maintenance of areas surrounding experimental plots, cutting and topping as required to minimise contamination of trial areas.
  • Be responsible for the routine safety checks of vehicles and machinery, liaising with central services and outside garages/facilities as required to arrange servicing and repairs.
  • Liaise with colleagues at other sites, negotiating the use and movement of resources as required across the growing season.
  • Maintain field boundaries and amenity areas, replacing and repairing fencing as required.
  • Install experimental infrastructure (fencing, water supplies) as required, according to agreed plans.
  • Contribute to the development of experimental protocols based on knowledge of the estate and related feasibility of proposed actions.
  • To be committed to the University’s Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy, together with an understanding of how it operates within the responsibilities of the post.
  • To be committed to your development through the effective use of the University’s Effective Contribution Scheme.
  • Contribute to the work of the research team.
  • Any other reasonable duties requested commensurate with the grade of this role.
  • The position is physically demanding therefore it is essential that the successful applicant has an appropriate level of health and fitness. Appointment to this position may be subject to a satisfactory fitness assessment.

Who you are – Qualifications, Experience, Knowledge and Skills required

Essential

  • Higher diploma or equivalent experience in relevant subject (e.g. agriculture).
  • Broad and detailed knowledge of grassland-based livestock production systems.
  • Excellent ruminant livestock handling and husbandry skills.
  • Experience of using working sheepdogs.
  • Experienced tractor and ATV driver.
  • Detailed knowledge of effective and correct use of farm equipment and machinery to carry out field operations with standard equipment.
  • Knowledge of regulations, guidelines and laws relating to farming livestock including related health and safety requirements.
  • Ability to enter data, maintain records and complete basic calculations using Microsoft Excel.
  • Knowledge of and ability to use equipment and computer programmes designed to record animal records, e.g., births, deaths, animal treatments, breeding and productivity, field records.
  • Experience of fencing, including use of tractor-mounted machinery
  • Ability to work autonomously and as part of a team, including out of hours working
  • Ability to prioritise workload.
  • Full UK driving license or equivalent right to drive in the UK
  • Oral (spoken) and Written Welsh Level A0. An ability to understand the bilingual nature of the University and an awareness of the procedures in place to support working bilingually.

Desirable

  • Degree in relevant subject.
  • Knowledge of upland farming
  • Familiarity with Home Office regulations relating to scientific procedures with animals.
  • Own working dog(s)
  • Qualifications in other land-based skills, e.g. herbicide spraying, strimming, chainsaw. 
  • Experience of using machinery on challenging terrain, including steep slopes
  • Defra livestock transportation licence
  • Familiarity with using other Microsoft Office software.
  • Experience in use of precision farming technologies
  • Familiar with FAWL regulations
  • Experience of operating diggers
  • Knowledge of working within a university or research environment.
  • Excellent time-keeping
  • Experience of off-road driving.
  • Oral (spoken) and Written Welsh Level A1.*

*More information on Welsh Language Levels can be found at:
https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/hr/policy-and-procedure/welsh-standards/

How to apply
To promote a flexible workforce, the University will consider applications from individuals seeking full time, part time, job share, or term time only working arrangements.

Applications for this role must be made through jobs.aber.ac.uk. You are welcome to apply for any vacancy in Welsh or English and any application submitted will be treated equally.

Benefits

  • Flexible working policy
  • 36.5 – hour week for full-time roles
  • Generous leave entitlements – 27 days annual leave plus bank holidays and university closed days
  • Commitment to Professional Development
  • Enhanced contribution to our workplace pension schemes
  • Staff recognition and reward schemes
  • Opportunity to learn the Welsh language for free
  • Staff relocation bursary
  • Maternity, Paternity, Parental and Adoption Leave
  • Staff discount for gym facilities, hospitality, and retail on campus.

Please keep reading
We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities and, those that are currently underrepresented in our workforce. This includes but is not limited to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates, candidates with disabilities, and female candidates.

We are a Bilingual Institution which complies with the Welsh Language Standards and is committed to Equal Opportunities. You are welcome to apply for any vacancy in Welsh or English and any application submitted will be treated equally.

Employment Visa
Under the UK Government’s points-based system scheme, this role does not meet the criteria to be sponsored by Aberystwyth University (AU) for a Skilled Worker Route (SWR) application.

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