Vacancy: Action Oak Programme Leader

10th February, 2023

Woodland Heritage | Job Description

Action Oak Programme Leader


About Us

Woodland Heritage ( is a unique charity (no. 1041611) uniting tree people to “put something back” and to contribute to the proper management of British trees. We are also one of the leading partners in a new, collaborative public-private initiative called Action Oak ( 

Launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018, Action Oak aims to lead research into the growing threats to our native oaks, and work with owners and managers of oak trees and woodlands across the UK to protect their long-term future.  Action Oak has a Steering Committee of eleven high profile, public and private partners, and three sub-committees that bring together the expertise of many more organisations.


The Role

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a confident, driven and inspiring Programme Leader, that will work with our Committees to set the future direction for the Action Oak initiative over the next three years, and lead the work to realise those ambitions. 

Our Programme Leader must be a strategic thinker, with proven experience of leading large programmes and some experience in planning fundraising campaigns and building impactful partnerships, a passion for the environment is clearly desirable. The Programme Leader will also manage the Action Oak Project Manager on a day-to-day basis.
By joining our team, you will be instrumental in ensuring that our nation’s oaks continue to have a prominent place in our landscape, enriching our environment, economy and society.


Job Description

  • To work with the Steering Committee to develop a strategic direction for the initiative for the next three years, and lead the delivery of the resulting programme of work.
  • To design and implement fundraising campaigns and build successful relationships with philanthropic organisations and businesses
  • To act as an advocate for Action Oak, developing the profile and reach of the initiative and explaining how research can translate into real-world outcomes for our nation’s oaks
  • To review the existing research portfolio, identify research priorities and pursue opportunities to secure further investment in oak related research.
  • To monitor and report progress and financial outcomes to the Action Oak Steering Committee and Chief Executive of Woodland Heritage
  • As Action Oak’s senior staff member, the Programme Leader will also provide support and direction for the Project Manager


Line Management

The Programme Leader will report to the Chief Executive of Woodland Heritage on employment matters and will be required to comply with the working policies and procedures of Woodland Heritage; The work programme for Action Oak and hence the Programme Leader will be agreed with its Steering Committee and Chair.



Personal Specification

Essential Criteria:

  • Experienced programme leader with a track record of setting a strategic direction and delivering large initiatives or projects, involving multiple partners and stakeholders
  • Experience in fundraising, philanthropic giving, driving successful funding outcomes
  • Managing budgets and programme finances
  • Confident oral communicator and influencer, who can drive and develop impactful relationships with stakeholders, research partners and funders
  • An experienced team leader with strong organisational skills who can work proactively and inspire a team.
  • IT literate (Google Workspace, MS Office Word, PowerPoint and Excel).


Desirable Criteria:

  • Awareness of policy challenges in the tree sector e.g. government tree planting ambitions and threats from climate change and pests and diseases
  • Demonstrable interest and passion in the natural environment, particularly trees, gained from previous roles in this sector
  • Experience of working within a related charity, government or private sector
  • Understanding of the UK research environment and researcher funders
  • Educated to HND level or above in an environmental/biological discipline.
  • Full UK Driving Licence.



£40,000 for 28 hours per week, a pension contribution in accordance with the Pensions Regulations, plus reasonable expenses.






The post will be for an initial period from 01 April 2023 to 31st March 2026, with a six-month probation period and annual performance appraisal. The post is part-time with 24 days’ annual leave plus eight days of Public Holiday.



CV and letter to

Deadline: Midnight Sunday 26th February 2023



Supporting Information


A UK where our native oak trees are protected and flourish, both now and in the future.



Our mission is to lead the vital work and research to protect our native oak trees and safeguard their future.



– Protect our native oaks for future generations.

– Be collaborative, innovative and committed in our research.

– Share findings with practitioners to grow healthier, stronger trees.

– Raise public awareness and appreciation of our native oaks and the important role they play in our landscapes as a habitat for wildlife.



Without doubt, oaks are the UK’s most iconic trees. They are a fundamental part of our landscape and cultural heritage and remain crucial to this day, supporting both biodiversity and livelihoods. 
But our oak trees are under considerable – and growing – threat from pests, diseases, human intervention and the increasing climate emergency.
Action Oak is committed to protecting these incredible trees.
Action Oak is a national partnership made up of charities, government and private landowners who have come together to protect our oaks for future generations.
Through carrying out vital research and monitoring, we can better understand the threats and devise real solutions, so that we can safeguard the survival of our oaks for generations to come.


Goals and Objectives – Action Oak

  • To mobilise a multi-disciplinary research consortium of UK and international experts including pathologists, taxonomists, entomologists, biogeochemists, tree physiologists, dendrochronologists, silviculturists, phenologists, geneticists, ecologists, modellers and social scientists.
  • To conduct fundamental research on a range of reported and cumulative threats to the oak ecosystem and their impact on the distribution and age structure of the nation’s oak trees. Including insect defoliators, powdery mildews, armillaria, known declines and other emerging syndromes and risk such as ‘shake’, and management of these risks. 
  • To liaise with related initiatives which although beyond the core scope of this initiative, are still recognised as important.  For example, groups leading work on mammalian pests such as deer or squirrels, and tree breeding or improvement programmes which focus on oak.
  • To create a new monitoring scheme and database, to baseline and observe the changes in distribution, age classes and health status of our oaks nationwide and into the future.
  • To use established professional and citizen science networks such as the Royal Forestry Society, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, Tree Wardens, Nature’s Calendar and Observatree to feed the database and provide a focus for wider public engagement activities.
  • To engage the public and raise awareness of threats to oak in the context of wider work to build the resilience of the nation’s treescape.