Residential Volunteer - Long term placement - Visitor Experience - Loch Garten Nature Centre

Thursday 28 November 2019
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation, Residential volunteering, Helping visitors at our reserves
Abernethy, Operation Osprey Project

What we're looking for

We are looking for an enthusiastic and committed residential volunteer to join our team. Visitors have had incredible wildlife moments for 60 years, and the centre at Loch Garten has a strong reputation for an exceptional experience and great customer care. Recently the centre has been redeveloped funded by European Structural Funds and we want to build on this to give visitors an enhanced and memorable experience. Our visitor experience team is crucial - chatting to visitors, answering questions and sharing their passion for the amazing wildlife of Abernethy reserve. We want them to be inspired and enthused becoming lifelong supporters of our work through RSPB membership. You will be part of the team meeting and greeting all our visitors using the RSPB's GREAT Welcome framework, offering inspiring communications about the Caledonian pine forest which around the centre, including our breeding ospreys, and the conservation work we undertake as part of the Cairngorms Connect partnership. We run activities for children and families, as well as special events, and your help in planning and delivering these will be encouraged. RSPB Abernethy is one of the most heavily designated areas in the UK, with international and domestic legal protection. We need to monitor the reserve and in particular the forest trails near the centre, assisting our visitors respect the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and you will be asked to help with this along with the rest of the team. We have a Facebook page and a reserve blog and we need contributions to build our online audience. Loch Garten has a long history of volunteering and many people give up their time to help us as residential volunteers. You will take an active role in managing them. Finally, our visitor centre and its environs must be kept in excellent working order; being vigilant about litter, restocking leaflets, undertaking daily checks on activities and signage, as well as working with the team to keep the facilities clean.

The skills you need

The confidence to strike up conversations with people from all walks of life and to listen and respond appropriately; an enthusiasm for wildlife and conservation; a friendly personality and a ready smile! A positive 'can-do' membership attitude, so that more membership conversations take place, with a high number resulting in memberships, providing income for the RSPB. A driving licence is desirable (to allow you to drive the RSPB vehicle) though not essential. Bringing your own vehicle or bike will allow you more freedom on days off and a bike can be made available if needed. Interviews will be conducted for this opportunity, dates to be confirmed. Please send your CV in the first instance to Fergus Cumberland (

Your time

6 months
March - End Oct 2020
March - End Oct 2020



Application form (PDF)
To be completed and returned to us before a booking can be made

Brochure about residential volunteering (PDF)
Find out more about residential volunteering on this, and our other reserves within this scheme. Also included are answers to the most frequently asked questions

What's in it for you?

You'll be volunteering in one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Europe, among scarce and endangered wildlife and critically rare habitats. You'll be part of a vibrant and dynamic team of staff and volunteers, some who have been part of Loch Garten for decades and some who are brand new. You'll be able to share in their knowledge and build strong and significant relationships, many of which will last for life. By making RSPB members, you'll be making a real and tangible difference to nature conservation. Your help will directly allow the RSPB to carry out meaningful change, both on Abernethy and across the UK. You'll receive a full induction and training and will be supported by a dedicated line manager throughout your time in this role. You will be given training opportunities in many areas of visitor experience, including membership, managing volunteers, First Aid, Safeguarding, event planning and more. Our aim is to help you improve your skill-set and to significantly improve your CV and enhance your employability. We also offer job application advice and coaching. You will get the chance to learn about and explore the incredible place that is RSPB Abernethy, meeting reserve staff and receiving insight into the wider work that goes on here. There will be opportunities to get involved in some of the conservation work on the wider reserve on your days off, should you desire to do so. This role comes with free, shared accommodation (though you get your own room) just 1.5 miles from the Nature Centre.

How to apply


Fergus Cumberland, Abernethy Reserve
Tel: 01479 821409
Email: Fergus.Cumberland@RSPB.ORG.UK


Appropriate training will be provided and expenses will be re-imbursed where necessary. RSPB Scotland is part of the RSPB, the UK charity working to secure a healthy environment for birds and wildlife, helping to create a better world for all of us. We belong to BirdLife International, the global partnership of bird conservation organisations. Your time and skills could make a real difference to the work of the RSPB and it would be great if you could join us. Nature is amazing – help us keep it that way. 'The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654

Reference number 514