Head of Civil Engineering

Scotland (GB)
£53,543 - £59,286
25 May 2021
20 Jun 2021
Civil Engineer
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job


Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is an executive agency of Scottish Government. We manage the Scotland’s national forests and land on behalf of Scottish Ministers and serve as part of the Environment and Forestry directorate of Scottish Government.

FLS operates a regional business structure for the delivery of our work. There are five regions, each of which has operational responsibility civil engineering delivery activities that look after Scotland’s forests and land for the benefit for all, now and for the future.

Civil engineering plays an important role in supporting the sustainability and success of operational activity across on Scotland’s national forests and land. The range of the undertaking is broad including planning, building and maintaining of business critical roads and bridges for timber haulage, quarry operations, the planning and construction of recreational projects (visitor facilities like walking and cycle trails), planning and maintenance of other estate infrastructure (sewage systems, dams and reservoirs) and reactive mitigation of high risk land management issues, such as landslips.

The national civil engineering team sits within the wider Technical Services Group. The group has a number of teams responsible for providing strategic direction and practical support to colleagues across FLS in relation to the following business areas:

  • Plant and seed supply.
  • Forest management.
  • Wildlife management.
  • Timber harvesting.
  • Civil engineering.

The Head of Civil Engineering will report to the Head of Technical Services Group.

The team is principally based in Inverness and Edinburgh however the location for this post is flexible and all locations in Scotland will be considered with the option of working from home.

For further information on the work of the teams within the group please see: https://fls.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=99f9c67afc39454aad522c426a0ba029

For more information on the role and Forestry and Land Scotland more widely please see https://forestryandland.gov.scot/jobs/current-opportunities/head-of-civil-engineering

Candidates invited for interview will be required to undergo psychometric testing.

This is a full time post (37 hours per week), however applications from people wishing to work an alternative working pattern will be considered.

Applicants claiming a guaranteed interview will be invited for further assessment should they meet the minimum essential criteria listed below.

Job description

The primary purpose of the role is to lead the civil engineering profession within Forestry and Land Scotland setting strategy and direction at a national level. This involves driving strategic change in order to grasp opportunities, ensure consistency of approach, develop civil engineering professionalism, contribute to the financial sustainability of the agency and meet overall FLS objectives.

You will lead a small national team and ensure that leadership, direction, standard setting and support is provided to the five regional civil engineering teams and other teams. This must enable the delivery of high quality civil engineering work across Scotland to ensure that FLS is able to deliver its annual timber sales plan.


  • Shape and communicate a strategy for the future for civil engineering in FLS that will help deliver FLS objectives and which reflects the needs of key internal stakeholders e.g. colleagues in timber marketing and sales, planning & environment, visitor services. Inspire and motivate the whole civil engineering function to deliver this vison and strategy.
  • Drive with positive impact the management of health and safety within civil engineering, overseeing management systems and processes to ensure that the portfolio of all FLS assets is well managed.
  • Show positive leadership in minimising the impact of civil engineering on biodiversity and the environment including meeting sustainability standards, reducing climate impacts and promoting innovation and opportunities to ensure value for money while maintaining standards.
  • Working collaboratively provide a high quality support service to regional Delivery Managers, Civil Engineers and others through ensuring that you and your team provide timely strategic direction and practical support.
  • Develop the FLS approach to road asset management planning, including; driving greater use of technology; improving data capture; and increasing the use of data to improve value for money outcomes and keep assets in a fit for purpose condition (e.g. in relation to planning and building of roads, inspections of bridges and culverts as well as undertaking condition surveys etc.).
  • In pursuit of financial sustainability lead work with Procurement colleagues to develop an ambitious procurement category strategy for civil engineering which will deliver a step change in planning long term procurement needs, performance and best value.
  • Broker adjustments in programme delivery across regions to meet strategic challenges around delivering large timber harvesting programmes in a changing climate, while maintaining the ability to react to the impacts of significant weather events or outbreaks of pests and disease e.g. Phytophthora ramorum.
  • Represent FLS externally at industry forums and with key external stakeholders such as timber customers, CONFOR, Forestry Industry Safety Accord (FISA) and the Forestry Contracting Association (FCA).
  • Lead the development of staff skills in civil engineering by ensuring learning opportunities and resources are available as appropriate to enable continuous improvement and staff development.
  • Using excellent communication skills write clear and concise papers and briefings for senior staff and ministers as well as answer freedom of information requests and responding to official complaints.
  • Horizon scan through engagement with industry forums and other national and international organisations to understand of how innovative and beneficial approaches to civil engineering can be deployed in FLS inc. required shifts in machinery used to minimise environmental impacts and deliver better outputs.

Lead business plan preparation and financial monitoring for the civil engineering function across FLS. Set key performance indicators and associated delivery plans and monitoring to move FLS to towards having a fully roaded estate.

Person Specification



  • A proven ability to operate strategically, practice collaborative leadership and deliver civil engineering activities through teams of engineers and suppliers.
  • Strong commercial and business experience and skills including; significant experience of managing staff, financial and business plan preparation / monitoring / review, civil engineering project management, procurement, NEC contract management, construction and design management (CDM) regulations.
  • Experience of driving innovation and managing projects to introduce new delivery models giving engineers ‘tools in the box’ to support business change and outcomes required.
  • Experience of shaping, communicating and delivering an organisational vison and strategy for Civil Engineering to support delivery of wider business objectives.
  • Experience of inspiring and motivating staff as part of a drive to build organisational capacity and professionalism in Civil Engineering.


Experience of the forestry and rural sectors

Technical Skills


  • Membership of The Institution of Civil Engineers or other professional engineering body.
  • Chartered Civil Engineer (or able to clearly demonstrate, through experience and other means, equivalent knowledge to that which would be gained through having such qualifications plus a commitment to become chartered within two years).


  • A HND or degree in Civil Engineering.
  • Able to provide evidence of Continued Professional Development in the Civil Engineering sector.
  • CAD and GIS competence.


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

  • Changing and Improving.
  • Leadership.
  • Developing Self and Others.
  • Managing a Quality Service.

Technical skills

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

Please refer to the technical skills section of the job advert and detail how you meet the criteria in your CV and cover letter.


If successful you will be entitled to a large range of benefits.

This includes:

  • An annual leave allowance of 25 days, rising to 30 days per year after 5 years’ service. In addition, there are currently 11.5 days of public and privilege holidays, dates of which are set annually.
  • A competitive contributory pension scheme you can enter as soon as you join where we will make a significant contribution to the cost of your pension.
  • We recognise the importance of enabling employees to achieve a healthy work / life balance by offering flexi-time arrangements in areas of the business where it is appropriate to do so.
  • Reimbursement of professional membership fees directly relevant to your job.
  • Generous paid maternity and paternity leave which is notably more than the statutory minimum offered by many other employers.
  • Occupational sick pay.

Happy to talk flexible working

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

In the event of a high number of applicants, candidates will be selected for interview based on the lead criteria which is Experience and the Lead Behaviour "Changing and Improving".

The sift is due to take place on the 21st June 2021. Interviews are expected to take place on the 28th and 29th June 2021 via Microsoft Teams. These are the planned dates but they may be subject to some change. We will ensure candidates have at least 1 weeks’ notice of any change.

For more information about applying for a role and working at Forestry and Land Scotland, please visit https://forestryandland.gov.scot/jobs

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals.
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK.
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland.
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with (or eligible for) status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service.
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service.
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals.
  • Further information on nationality requirements.
  • 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 equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Please click 'Apply' for more information and to apply. Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

A recruitment and retention allowance of up to £5000 per annum may be payable to the successful candidate.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact:

Name: HR, email: hr@forestryandland.gov.scot

Recruitment team: email, hr@forestryandland.gov.scot