Volunteer Information Assistant

Placement from 9th June – 18th August (10 weeks)

Please make sure you read the “Essential Information for all Long-term Handa Volunteers”, “Volunteer Code of Conduct” and “Safety for Volunteers” documents carefully.

Duties (with estimate of work time occupied as a %)

Welcoming visitors, recruiting members, providing wildlife and reserve information (75%)

  • Generate financial support for the Trust by recruiting members;
  • Improve visitors’ experience by providing a welcome, and information about the Scottish Wildlife Trust;
  • Provide interpretation of natural history of Handa (particularly seabirds);
  • 5 days/week, for an average of 80 people/day;
  • Based at cliffs, or Visitor Shelter, depending on weather conditions  and recent sightings;
  • Responsible for Visitor Shelter and shop (promoting items for sale) in afternoons;
  • Assist with disembarking and embarking of ferry passengers if required.

Biological monitoring (15%)

  • In late June there is the chance to assist the Ranger with intensive monitoring of seabirds including established population and productivity on Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar and Kittiwake.

Path maintenance (5%)

  • Repairing boardwalk, path inspections, clearing vegetation and footpath drainage.

Practical assistance (5%)

  • General practical tasks including: Beach cleaning; firewood collection maintaining the bothy and its water system, sign maintenance and any other duties as and when they arise.

The Information Assistant MUST have:

  • A passion for wildlife and the outdoors, and the ability to communicate this passion and inspire others;
  • The ability to encourage visitors to consider membership of the trust without being overbearing;
  • A flexible attitude to working hours and communal living;
  • A good level of health and fitness;
  • Self motivation and the ability to work independently and as part of a tight team;
  • A love of being outside- whatever the weather!

It would be good for the Information Assistant to have:

  • Good all round wildlife knowledge;
  • A desire to pursue career in conservation;
  • Prior UK seabird and or marine biology experience;
  • Previous experience in sales or information provision.

Role is responsible to Handa Ranger, Reserve Manager, Public Affairs Department of the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Hours and days of work:

35 hours per week over 5 days (but not necessarily 9am-5pm) with some early morning or late evening work required for which you will be given time off in lieu. Days off will be taken dependent on weather and progress of fieldwork. You’re welcome to leave the island on your weekday off if you wish, providing you catch the last boat back and communicate with the Ranger and Boatmen. The boatmen provide one free return trip for every 2 weeks of your stay, so if you wish to go off more frequently than this, you will have to pay the concessionary fare of £10 each trip.

Responsible to:  Handa Ranger; and Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserves Manager.

Health and safety

It is crucial the successful candidate adheres to strict health and safety guidelines and lone worker procedures both when working and relaxing on the island. With extreme weather, difficult terrain and precipitous cliffs coupled with limited phone signal Handa is an extreme living and working environment which the Ranger is responsible for at all times. Failure to adhere to the Handa Code of Conduct will see the placement terminated.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust will provide:

Basic, bunkhouse-style accommodation is provided free of charge in the Handa Bothy. Limited assistance with travel expenses and subsistence (£20/week for food and up to £40 for travel on provision of receipts), full training necessary to carry out surveys & monitoring; all equipment and support throughout the season.

How to Apply

How to apply:

The placements on Handa are widely recognised as important field experience and provide the successful applicant with valuable experience and networking opportunities with the Trust, the RSPB and with several seabird researchers and academics. Many former volunteers have gone on to paid employment with the Trust and other organisations, and the majority are now employed fulltime within the conservation or academic sectors. As there are multiple placements being advertised, please indicate clearly which one(s) you are interested in, and indicate your first, second and third choices.

Send us the following:

  • Completed Handa Volunteering Application form. NB: make sure you specify which role(s) you’re applying for and order of preference;
  • CV tailored to the specific role(s) you’re applying for;
  • Covering letter stating why you want the post and why you think you’re suitable;
  • The full contact details of 2 referees and how they know you should also be included on a separate sheet.

By email to volunteerhanda@swt.org.uk or by post to Handa Volunteering, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Harbourside House, 110 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6NF.

Closing date for applications: 09:00 Monday 5th February 2018.

Incomplete applications or those that do not closely match the specified dates will not be considered.

Candidate selection

If shortlisted for the position, you will be invited to take part in an interview with the Handa Ranger and/or Reserve Manager. Depending on your location, this will be in person, via Skype, or by telephone. We aim to interview and appoint candidates by mid February 2018. We regret that due to limited resources, we are unable to contact unsuccessful candidates.  If you have not heard from us within 2 weeks of the closing date for applications, please assume that you have been unsuccessful.  Good luck!

For full details please see https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/how-to-help/become-a-volunteer/volunteering-on-handa/

Please mention ConservationJobs.co.uk when applying for this job!

Key Information


Scottish Wildlife Trust




Full Time


Entry Level


Communication, Fundraising, Marketing, Nature & Wildlife


Handa Island, United Kingdom

Application Deadline:

Not specified, apply soon.