Sustainable Food & Agriculture Consultant

Closing Date - Thursday 29 October 2020

Location: Office based (Boxworth, Cambridge or Milton Park, Oxford)

This role is officially office-based out of either Boxworth, Cambridge or Milton Park, Oxford.  However, we have a flexible approach to working, especially during the uncertainty of COVID-19.  At present, the whole team is working from home and currently expects to continue in that vein whilst social distancing measures are in place.  However, the successful candidate should anticipate the need to be able to work flexibly out of one of those offices in the future. 

The role is anticipated to be full time (40 hours per week) with core working hours of 8.30am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

What the job looks like

The ADAS Sustainable Food and Farming team are looking to recruit a Sustainable Food and Agriculture Consultant to support in the delivery of existing contracts, and to work towards developing and winning projects of their own.

The Sustainable Food and Farming team at ADAS work across a diverse range of topics looking to enhance the environmental sustainability of the food that we consume.  Our main focus is on improving practice on-farm, by helping food supply chains connect with their farmer supply base.  We are looking for an individual with a good understanding of agriculture, an understanding of key sustainability issues affecting agriculture, and preferably some understanding of wider agricultural supply chains. 

Key areas of focus for the team going forwards are in supporting the move towards Net Zero, and reducing carbon emissions, carbon storage and sequestration that takes place on-farm to minimize the climate impact of agricultural raw materials.  Other areas of interest include improving productivity, understanding the value of pesticides, reducing water use, responsible sourcing, reducing on-farm food waste and the sustainability of alternative proteins. 

It is anticipated that the successful candidate will be someone with good general knowledge across a broad sphere of agriculture and sustainability issues, and have specific knowledge about one or more agricultural systems.  

The delivery elements of the job will include working with clients to collect, analyse and interpret relevant data sets,  report writing, and developing and delivering presentations. In this role, the consultant will support the senior team to ensure that all project deliverables meet the ADAS and RSK quality requirements.

The sales elements of the job will include supporting the senior sales team in drafting and preparing proposals for clients.  The consultant will be expected to provide written content for new proposals and to learn how to manage ADAS’s electronic systems for entering and managing new projects.  In addition, the consultant will be expected to support wider ideas generation and tendering opportunities to help develop the team’s suite of services. 

Personal Specification

It is expected that the successful candidate will have at least 2-3 years’ experience post-university working in agricultural, sustainability or food supply chain consultancy.

  • Qualifications: Degree in Agriculture, Biology, Geography or similar science-based subject area.  Good GCSE maths, with maths A-level desirable. Further relevant qualifications such as a master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture would be a benefit.
  • Data analysis: Should have a good understanding of how to analyse large data sets in Excel. In particular, we are looking for individuals with excellent attention to detail; who are able to look at datasets and spot odd or unusual values and interpret patterns in data.  We need individuals who are able to enter and process data as well as check data that is entered by others to ensure that it is correct.  It would be a bonus for candidates to be skilled in the use of macros (Excel), R programming language or other similar coding methods (Python) to support in the development of complex data analysis and simple modelling tools.
  • Writing: The majority of our work is in the form of written reports to clients or written proposals to win work.  It is therefore extremely important that the successful candidate is able to present messages in a clear and concise way to a range of different audiences (often non-technical).  Candidates should be comfortable using Word and PowerPoint to create engaging materials for presentation.
  • Communication: Candidates should have excellent communication skills, including the ability to communicate emails in a clear and concise manner, effective presentation skills to present findings back to both technical and non-technical audiences, and strong interpersonal skills to build good working relationships with clients and other members of the team.  Experience working in a commercial environment would be beneficial.
  • Project management: Experience of project management would be a bonus. We anticipate the appointed candidate will develop these skills through on the job training as they take on more responsibility for projects as their consultancy career progresses.
  • Knowledge: The individual must have good knowledge of at least one agricultural production system: arable, horticulture, beef, dairy, pigs or poultry. They should have an understanding of the key sustainability issues affecting the system.  Experience in assessing greenhouse gas emissions from crop or livestock systems using a range of different tools and having an understanding of the key factors influencing the emissions from particular systems would be particularly useful.  

In addition, the candidate will need:

  • Excellent computer and information system skills; in particular Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  • Strong communication, interpersonal and organisational skills, with the ability to work under pressure to client determined deadlines.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team, with the ability to contribute towards a positive team dynamic.
  • A rigorous approach and attention to detail in both quantitative and qualitative research and analysis.
  • A full driving licence will be required as will the need for occasional flexible working with regard to the type of work, timing and location.  
  • Proof of eligibility to work in the UK.

Salary and benefits:

  • Salary will be within the range of £24,000-30,000 depending on experience.
  • Contributory Pension Scheme – RSK will contribute a minimum of 3%.
  • A flexible benefits programme including the option to buy additional holidays, childcare vouchers and private health care.
  • Regular training and career development opportunities through both formal training, including via an e-learning platform and on the job learning.

We recognise that staff are our most valuable asset and that their integrity, commitment and loyalty is vital to how we conduct our business, and to the long-term success of the company.  As a company, ADAS wants to ensure you maintain a healthy work-life balance, with many opportunities for flexible working hours, locality flexibility, social activities, and community involvement projects.  Career progression is important and there are plenty of opportunities within ADAS to develop new skills and progress through the consultant grades.

The company prides itself on providing its staff with a rewarding and challenging career, encouraging Continuous Professional Development, allowing employees to reach their full potential.

How to apply

To apply for this position please visit the RSK Group careers portal and click ‘apply’.  A personal online account will be set up so you can review the progress of your application. Interviews will include a data analysis task, short writing exercise and presentation. It is currently anticipated that interviews will be conducted remotely via a TEAMS call on Thursday 12 November.  Applications must be received by 5 pm on Thursday 29th October.

All candidates applying for positions with RSK Group must be eligible to work in the UK/European Economic Area. 

RSK is committed to our Corporate Responsibility strategy. We seek to minimise our impact on the environment; to engage positively with the community and education groups; to provide a safe and supportive atmosphere in which to work, and to promote Corporate Responsibility throughout our supply chain.

RSK Group is an Equal Opportunities Employer

For more information about SFF, ADAS and the RSK Group visit and

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