Freshwater Pearl Mussels Assistant

Closing date: 9 October 2022 | Salary: £23,926-£26,677 (Grade 3)Location: Cynrig Hatchery, near Brecon and Clywedog facilities (Clywedog reservoir)

Contract type: Fixed Term Appointment until 31 December 2026

Work pattern: 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday

Post number: 203347

As an organisation we support flexible working. This role allows hybrid working (a mix of home and office working) and a working pattern suitable for you can be discussed on appointment if you are successful.

You will be contracted to the NRW location stated in this advert, of which you will be required to attend for regular meetings, training and for one-to-one meetings with your manager. These will be planned in advance.

Job Description

This is an exciting new post to support NRW’s captive breeding of the critically endangered Freshwater Pearl Mussels. NRW has been collecting adult mussels and rearing juveniles for a number of years and with support from two EU-funded LIFE programmes are hoping to re-establish viable populations of Freshwater Pearl Mussels (FWPM) in north and south Wales. You will assist the captive breeding team at the Cynrig and Clywedog hatchery sites in all aspects of aquaculture husbandry to support this work and other captive breeding (water voles and white-clawed crayfish). The role will also contribute to international best practice knowledge on breeding and re-introducing Freshwater Pearl Mussels into the wild.

Specific duties will include:

  1. Assisting with collection of adult mussels to form broodstock.
  2. Recording of data relating to the FWPM programme.
  3. Husbandry activities relating fish hosts such as tank cleaning, feed management, chemical treatments, movement and handling.
  4. Support in maintaining fish rearing systems, checking fish gills and assessing encystment levels.
  5. Assisting in setting up and maintaining systems for collecting juvenile mussels.
  6. Collecting and counting juvenile mussels from different origins using low power microscope and micropipette.
  7. All aspects of FWPM juvenile mussel husbandry and culture including preparation of diet, cleaning of juvenile mussel culture tubs and mussels using fine filters, removal of all mortalities, counting and growth measurement.
  8. Assist with the operation of FWPM living gene bank at Clywedog hatchery including the husbandry of adult mussels, older juveniles and fish hosts.

The post is part-funded by the new 4 Rivers for LIFE programme, an ambitious £9m river restoration programme funded by the EU LIFE programme, Welsh Government and a number of partners to transform Southern Wales’ 4 rivers Usk, Tywi, Teifi & Cleddau Special Areas of Conservation and their catchments in order to restore populations of declining habitats and species notably salmon, shad, lamprey and freshwater pearl mussels. You will have the opportunity to work with the rest of the project team on other aspects of the project where time allows and may seasonally assist the Senior Officer, Monitoring, to ensure the monitoring objectives of the project are realised, for example carrying out in-river surveys.


Your responsibilities will include:

  • Using initiative and knowledge of aquaculture to support the day to day running of the hatchery.
  • Support technical staff in rearing of freshwater pearl mussels and all aspects on the captive breeding programme, (handling and monitoring species health, maintaining equipment and aquatic systems)
  • Manage all data requests received and responding within agreed timescales.
  • Managing critical business systems for the team.
  • Manage document storage requirements to ensure compliance with current legislation.
  • Required to take part in incident response activities

Qualifications, experience and knowledge

You will be able to demonstrate knowledge and experience of the following:

  1. Previous experience of working in the environmental/aquaculture industry.
  2. Previous experience in an Administration type role.
  3. Strong interpersonal and networking skills to develop good working relationships between partner teams within NRW.
  4. Strong and effective self-management and organisational skills.
  5. Able to work well as part of a team.
  6. Excellent customer care skills.

Welsh language requirements:

Essential Level 1 – Able to pronounce Welsh and use basic phrases

Please note if you do not meet the level 1 requirement i.e., ability to understand basic phrases and ability to pronounce Welsh names correctly, then NRW offers a variety of learning options and staff support to help you meet these minimal requirements during the course of your employment with us.


Applications to this role will be assessed based on the following competencies, both at shortlisting and interview. Please give examples of how you demonstrate these competencies when completing your application form.

Essential Knowledge and Skills





  • The post holder will experience, knowledge and skills from working in previous organisations, with a good grasp and understanding of administrative and organisational principles, procedures and policy.
  • The role will require good numeracy, literacy, IT and communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • The post holder will have a high level of understanding of NRW. They will have some specific technical knowledge of the work, developed in previous environments, which will be enhanced and developed through the  role.
  • The post holder will have excellent knowledge of business systems that support their area, including national databases.

Evaluation of Information




  • The post holder will deal with day to day documentation, emails, correspondence, schedules, recording events, etc, seeking or giving information. Non complex information will be gathered from multiple sources, without the need for any detailed research.
  • The post holder will be able to use business systems and national databases, and able to use and manipulative such systems in order to provide information that others will use.

Communication and Relationships with Others




  • The post holder will have good communication skills with the ability to adapt style and content. Relationships will be with internal and external parties.
  • Communication will include giving and sharing information, dealing with standard work related queries.

Responsibility for Resources




  • Post holders will be responsible for the safe use and operation of equipment supplied with, in order to fulfil their role.
  • Ability to process financial information or records with a low level budgetary responsibility.

Benefits of working for us

This role will offer a range of benefits, including:

  • agile and flexible working (role dependent) 
  • Civil Service Pension Scheme offering employer contributions of 26.6% to 30.3%
  • 28 days annual leave, rising to 33 days
  • generous leave entitlements for all your life needs
  • health and wellbeing benefits and support
  • weekly well-being hour to use at your choice

See full details for all the employee benefits you will receive.

How to apply

Please send a completed Application form to

Before completing your application, please read our Guidance on completing a job application form

Application closing date 9th October 2022

Interviews will take place in person at the Cynrig hatchery near Brecon or through Microsoft Teams.

If you have any queries about the role, please contact John Taylor at or 07917 072574.

Natural Resources Wales embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunity. We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition.

We welcome and encourage applications from groups currently underrepresented, including women, black and ethnic minority groups and people with a disability. We have a guaranteed interview scheme for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

We put the principles of human rights, equality, fairness, dignity and respect at the heart of our values.

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