Head of Programs


Earthwatch Australia


Melbourne, Victoria

Salary etc:

Contract, 3 years full-time.

About Us

Earthwatch Institute is a leading global environmental organisation, committed to conserving the diversity and integrity of life on Earth to meet the needs of current and future generations.

Founded in 1971, and with five offices around the globe, our aim is to empower people to save the natural world. We do this by engaging the community directly in environmental and sustainability experiences through Work (corporate programs), Life (student and teacher programs) and Play (public expeditions). This hands-on experience bridges the gap between science and the community and creates an informed society that can translate scientific knowledge into sustainable action.

Focusing our research on the most critical issues facing our planet (climate change, ocean health, restoring our iconic landscape and protecting our unique wildlife), we have to-date supported thousands of research expeditions across the globe.

The Role

Earthwatch is seeking an experienced, passionate and motivated individual to lead our Programs team as the Head of Programs.

This individual will help to help deliver our portfolio of public, educational, and corporate research programs and expeditions. We are seeking an individual who can learn quickly about the breadth and depth of our programs, and is comfortable taking initiative on business and program development soon after starting. There will be a ~14-18 week handover with the current Head of Programs.

The Head of Programs is a challenging and rewarding leadership position within the organization.  The successful candidate will have the responsibility for line management of the various Program Managers that report to them, ensuring programs are delivered successfully, managing corporate partnerships (including proposals, report writing, budget reviews and acquittals), negotiating corporate and research contracts, liaising with the CDO and CEO in setting organizational strategy, overseeing the OHS of the programs, and liaising with the Scientific Advisory Committee. The Head of Programs will occasionally be required to travel to oversee the delivery of important partnership programs.

While COVID-19 has changed much of the way Earthwatch programs operate for now, we anticipate that as the pandemic comes under control, at various times throughout the year the position will involve travel and leading Earthwatch teams both within Australia and internationally.

Primary Tasks and Responsibilities

Head of Programs

  1. Lead the Programs team in developing and delivery of Earthwatch’s portfolio of citizen science and learning program
  2. Ensure Earthwatch’s portfolio positions the organization as a leader in citizen science experiences and sustainable behaviour change
  3. Manage, maintain and oversee Earthwatch OHS procedures to ensure best practice
  4. Work closely with the CDO and CEO in partnership proposal writing and reporting, relationship building and management, and delivering organizational strategy
  5. Administrative duties

About You

It goes without saying that your passion for environmental sustainability and citizen science engagement, behaviour change and fieldwork safety will be highly regarded. Earthwatch Australia is a small organisation, so your ability to work in a small team, be self-motivated, result-oriented and show initiative is critical.

Essential criteria

  • Must be an Australian citizen/permanent resident or have a valid work visa to work full time in Australia
  • Degree with Honours required in a relevant field (i.e. conservation biology, environmental science, ecology), or Degree in a relevant field and significant experience conducting fieldwork
  • Significant personal experience in conducting or managing field expeditions
  • Knowledge and experience of international best practice in Risk Management and Field Safety
  • Excellent track record in working with diverse teams of people
  • Experience in management of program finances in a prudent manner
  • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal
  • Experience managing small teams (~3-7 staff who are your direct reports)
  • Exemplary people management skills, and knowledge/experience with worker’s rights and legislation
  • Some knowledge of natural capital, marine debris, blue carbon, climate change science and phenology, or environmental markets and/or environmental economics
  • Proficiency with MS Office suite
  • Ability to travel interstate, and to work outside of normal office hours while in the field

Desirable criteria

  • Qualifications/Certification in one or more of the following: off-site safety management, risk management and/or incident management
  • Formal project management training, or knowledge and experience with Jira project management software
  • Knowledge of expedition legal and liability issues
  • 4WD training or equivalent off-road driving experience
  • Experience with conducting recruitment processes
  • Up to date qualifications/certifications in remote area first aid, wilderness first aid or senior first aid or equivalent or willingness to attend appropriate training to obtain certificate
  • Current Working with Children certificate or willingness to obtain
  • PhD in a relevant field (i.e. conservation biology, environmental science, ecology)

Personal Attributes

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Flexible and ability to improvise
  • Detail oriented and hard-working
  • Ability to respond to changing priorities in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to retain composure think clearly and use good judgement during incident management
  • Passion for the cause
  • Results driven

How to apply:

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