Job | Full Time

Project Officer

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland is seeking Project Officers to join their dynamic team leading the strategic direction of outdoor recreation development across Northern Ireland.

The Opportunity 

Due to an increasing demand for our services we are looking for driven and enthusiastic team players to join our dynamic team leading the strategic direction of outdoor recreation development across Northern Ireland.

We are seeking up to 2 Project Officers to join a busy Projects Team working to increase opportunities to improve the nation’s health and well-being and drive activity tourism.  There’s never been a better time to join Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (ORNI)!

A passion for the outdoors will help, but first and foremost we need you to have excellent skills in project delivery and be able to apply a visitor focus in order to add value to our team and deliver a first-rate service to our external stakeholders and clients.

Who We Are

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland is a vibrant not-for-profit organisation with the emerging[1] vision to ‘Create a happier, healthier society where enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoors improves wellbeing.’

We deliver projects for a wide range of partners and clients, including Sport NI, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Tourism NI, local councils, environmental non-government organisations e.g. National Trust, private estates and community groups the length and breadth of Northern Ireland and increasingly the Republic of Ireland. In addition, ORNI provides secretariat services to the Visitor Safety Group and Outdoor Recreation Network, both United Kingdom and Ireland wide networks which champion good practice and knowledge sharing in our industry.

We pride ourselves in keeping abreast of international best practice to provide innovative, visitor focused and high quality solutions for our partners and clients. Our key areas of activity include:

  • Feasibility and Scoping Studies
  • Holistic Site Planning and Development
  • Innovative Product Planning and Development
  • Marketing Strategy, Planning and Delivery
  • Delivering Training and Sharing Best Practice
  • Event Management

In terms of the Projects Team, the key focus is the planning and development of quality outdoor recreation experiences through the delivery of strategies, masterplans, feasibility studies, scoping studies and trail designs.

Each project is different but key tasks include:

  • Identifying project vision, objectives, constraints
  • Identifying and understanding the audience / market
  • Benchmarking international best practice
  • Experience design – matching to visitor profile
  • Funding identification / application
  • Project delivery

A brief snapshot of our recent projects includes:

  • Preparation of a Tourism Masterplan for the Beara Breifne Way (500 km walking trail from West Cork to Cavan)
  • Preparation of a Spatial Masterplan for Downhill Demesne
  • Development of a Community Trail Plan for Newry, Mourne and Down – connecting communities to each other and their green space.
  • Development of a multi-use trail network and Ireland’s greatest adventure play trail in Gosford Forest Park
  • Preparation of a Play Strategy for Mid Ulster
  • Preparation of an Outdoor Recreation Strategy for Mid & East Antrim

To gain further details of our vision, projects and your potential colleagues see

What will you help us do?

Based in Belfast, you’ll join an ever-expanding Projects Team to work on a wide range of outdoor recreation projects across the whole of Ireland.

As a Project Officer you’ll will apply a visitor focus to all of our projects to ensure they meet the needs of the end-user whether this be a tourist or someone from the local community.

In addition, you’ll bring a commitment to helping more people enjoy the outdoors through the scoping, planning, design and delivery of a range of outdoor recreation projects.

As part of a flexible and dynamic team you will be involved in carrying out desk research, visiting sites to carry out site assessments and audits, working with specialists e.g. trail designers, ecologists, engineers, graphics designers, creatives etc, preparing a range of written reports and presenting your work through presentations to our clients.

You’ll already have plenty of partnership working and consultation experience, including leading on public consultation events and successfully negotiating and influencing difficult situations.

Your wide range of skills will allow you to prepare Outdoor Recreation Strategies, Community Trail Plans, Scoping Studies, Feasibility Studies and Master Plans for outdoor recreation sites ranging from a site e.g. forest, through to an area e.g. Council or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As well as planning for outdoor recreation you’ll be responsible for taking projects from concept stage through to delivery on the ground e.g. the development of walking, cycling and mountain biking trails and bespoke play.  These are rewarding but often challenging projects and will involve you getting sign-off on concept and final designs, securing the necessary funding, project managing external consultants and ensuring the outputs meet the expectation of the client.

You’ll also look after, when necessary, a project’s budget with regular monitoring and reporting back to Senior Management, funders and clients.

Given the nature of the organisation you will be expected, providing you have the necessary skills, to help your colleagues, on other projects as and when required.  The nature of our work inevitably means you will be required to do some evening work and overnight stays.

Who we’re looking for?

We’re looking for Project Officers who reflect the ambition, drive and dedication to producing a first-rate service for our clients.  Competitive candidates will be able to demonstrate the following knowledge, skills and experience:

Education and Experience

  • Educated to degree level or demonstrable track record of equivalent applied knowledge.
  • Between 3 to 5 years paid practical experience in successfully managing and delivering complex projects.

Behaviour and Competencies

  • Aptitude to think strategically, analytically, problem solve and make decisions.
  • Aptitude to apply a visitor focus to all projects
  • Excellent project management skills including ability to:
    • manage project budgets
    • manage and prioritise a range of projects and tasks
    • manage and liaise with external suppliers and associates
    • deliver against tight timelines with minimal supervision
    • work effectively on your own and as part of a dispersed team
  • Excellent written communicator with ability to prepare detail orientated reports.
  • Strong verbal communicator to confidently:
    • advise, communicate and influence at all levels in a sensitive manner
    • deliver presentations to key stakeholders and clients
    • lead one-to-one and public consultations
  • Highly self-motivated with the ability to act on personal initiative.
  • Valuable team player with a desire to share learning and ideas.
  • Driven to improve personal professional development through a willingness to learn and update knowledge and skills.
  • Attitude and values are in line with ORNI’s core vision, strategic objectives and values.
  • Knowledge of key trends and issues in outdoor recreation across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  • IT competency in the use of applications including at a minimum Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Has a full current driving licence and use of a car, or access to a form of transport that allows the post holder to meet the requirements of the post in full.

What we offer

We offer the opportunity to work 37 hours a week in a small, flexible and dynamic organisation on a permanent contract (subject to a 6-month probation period). Your starting salary will be £29,636 this is the start point of a pay scale bracket of £29,636 – £31,371.

In addition, we will give you a contribution towards a NILGOSC pension – currently 18% of pensionable salary (increasing to 21.6% in April 2020.  Your contribution will be 6.5% of pensionable salary.

You will initially receive 22 days annual leave plus public holidays, your annual leave increasing with years’ service.  You will also be able to work “flexi” as set out in the Company’s flexible working hours policy.

Applying for the post

All applications must be completed on the application form and monitoring form provided (available via NIJobs) and be uploaded via Applications will not be accepted by any other method.

The NIJobs website has a compulsory requirement to provide a CV.  For the avoidance of doubt, whilst a document must be uploaded into this section it will not be shared with Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland. Anything other than the application form submitted will not be considered.

Closing date for applications is 3pm on Friday 31st January 2020.  Applications received after this time and date will not be accepted.

If called for interview this will take place on either Wednesday 12th or Thursday 13th February 2020. The initial interview will be a short interview after which the number of applicants will be significantly reduced.  Those successful at initial interview will be invited to the final interview and practical assessment on Thursday 20th February 2020.

[1] ORNI’s new Strategy for 2020-2025 is in the final stages of development.

Closing Date

Friday / 31 January 2020 3:00pm

Contact Details

Chris Scott

Head of Operations


The Stableyard, Barnett Demesne
Malone Road
United Kingdom