RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) Operator

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

Closing date: 13 Dec 2017

Reference number



£26,805 - £31,103


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area


Type of role

Environment and Sustainability

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time



Number of posts



Lowestoft, Eastern, NR33 0HT

About the job

Job description

Cefas is involved in a range of evidence-gathering and monitoring activities to support government partners and commercial contracts. Clients planning and building new nuclear power stations form an important part of Cefas’ commercial work and this post is to support monitoring programmes involving remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). The successful applicant will be required to carry out survey flights using sub-7kg fixed-wing RPAs, coordinate a field team, plan and deliver RPA surveys following strict safety procedures.


Cefas is seeking a highly motivated and adaptable individual to support our on-going field monitoring activities. The focus of the vacancy will be to work in the field leading and delivering RPA surveys.


Applicants should have experience flying RPAs (ideally sub-7kg fixed-wing) to deliver surveys and organising fieldwork, including the coordination of fieldwork staff. It will be important to demonstrate a track record of following strict safety procedures. Additional skills and experience in RPA data processing and analysis, GIS analysis, the use of GPS survey equipment and environmental scientific fieldwork would be advantageous. The post holder will need to be able to make in situ decisions that will comply with health and safety regulations whilst still maintaining the quality of the data. With that in mind the post holder will be required to have good attention to detail and an understanding of the importance of data quality procedures but also have the confidence to make decisions that may require work to be stopped in cases where it is no longer safe/viable to proceed.

The post will involve regular fieldwork within the UK and the applicant should expect to be involved on more than one fieldwork trip per month. Trips typically last from one to seven days but could be longer on occasion.

The ability to pass nuclear security vetting including a criminal record check is required as well as a full UK/EU driving licence.

This post requires an individual who has a strong work ethic and who can work as part of a successful team. With the varying nature of the work Cefas is looking for an individual who can operate and think flexibly and learn quickly.


The post holder will attend all relevant health and safety training to comply with Cefas safety standards, as well as attending any additional training needs as dictated by our customers and/or partners. The post holder will be trained by Cefas in the operation of its own RPAs and the procedures required at various survey sites. Training in Cefas Standard Operating Procedures will be provided.

Person specification

You must describe how you fulfil the criteria outlined in the Job Description


Successful completion of a theoretical knowledge test and practical flight assessment for the commercial operation of RPAs with a CAA-approved NQE


We'll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:

  • Leading and communicating
  • Making effective decisions
  • Science and Engineering - Securing, Maintaining and Developing Relevant Technical Expertise
  • Science and Engineering - Understanding and Complying with Statutory Requirements and Standards

Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Please note depending on volume of applications an Initial Sift may be conducted on the Lead Competency, candidates must pass this competency for their application to be progressed
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.


Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

Sift/interview dates and location

Interviews will be held at Cefas Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT

Sift and Interview date to be confirmed.

Further information

Reasonable adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

• Contact Government Recruitment Service via DefraRecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs

• Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair or if you have a hearing impairment, a Language Service Professional

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