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About Us

Volunteer with us

Share our passion for protecting, researching and celebrating Scotland’s historic environment.

A group of volunteers pose with some lettering saying “volunteering” at Caerlaverock Castle.

1 Overview

Through volunteering, individuals and groups play an important part in supporting our values and contribute to our strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time. We recruit volunteers who share our passion for Scotland’s historic environment to help across our estate.

We’re committed to offering a programme that matches a range of motivations, helping volunteers to learn new skills, meet new people, gain confidence or simply have fun.

As part of our team, volunteers can participate in a variety of roles, including:

  • engaging with visitors
  • studying biodiversity
  • cataloguing our collections
  • playing the piano

Here's what one of our volunteers, Charlene Forbes, had to say: 

Each event is different in scale and content so volunteering is a fresh experience every time.  The staff and public couldn’t be nicer towards the volunteers and at the end of the day, it’s that reception that keeps me coming back for more.”

2 Our commitment to volunteers

What our volunteers can expect:

  • We provide volunteers with opportunities to get involved in our projects, while offering full support and supervision.
  • We respect volunteers’ personal decisions around their level of engagement, and understand their time is given freely and without obligation.
  • We make every reasonable effort to ensure volunteer activities are risk assessed, and all levels of risk are as controlled as reasonably practicable. Volunteers are covered by our insurance while performing in the role.
  • We provide all relevant training to volunteers for their roles.
  • We aim to be as inclusive as we can and will consider any adjustments we can reasonably make to accommodate individual health and well-being requirements.

3 How to volunteer with us

We recruit volunteers across our estate at various times throughout the year.

See our individual volunteering opportunities for information on how to get in touch.

You don’t need a background in history to volunteer with us, but an appreciation and enthusiasm towards our work is essential.

We recruit volunteers who:

  • are approachable, friendly and enthusiastic
  • can work in a team
  • can take and act on instructions, including health and safety procedures
  • have excellent communication skills, are comfortable speaking to different age groups, and are confident and happy to start conversations with visitors
  • can provide directions and guidance as required

For other volunteering opportunities in our historic environment, see the Volunteer Scotland website.

4 Where you can volunteer

At our monuments

We’ve recently introduced tour guide, visitor activities and gardener roles at several of our properties. Our volunteering opportunities are designed to complement the unique aspects of a site – for example, Duff House has a volunteer pianist.

We are currently recruiting volunteers at the following monuments:

We will be recruiting tour guides at the following sites:

To find out more and express your interest please email communityevents@hes.scot or phone 0131 550 7603.

At our events

At a selection of our summer events we recruit volunteers to provide support who can deliver to our excellent customer care standards.

Individuals will be willing to assist with crowd marshalling, meeting & greeting, answering questions, giving directions, time-checking to keep the event to schedule, and providing information about the event and Historic Environment Scotland. This may be on a roving basis or at an information stand.

Volunteers may also have the opportunity to assist with informal learning activities, such as showing visitors replica objects from medieval life and assisting with craft sessions.

Our 2017 event volunteer programme has now ended but please check back in early 2018 for next year’s programme.

With our Ranger Service

We have a range of volunteering opportunities with our Ranger Service at Holyrood Park, Linlithgow Peel and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. We work with conservation volunteers, volunteer rangers and practical conservation groups.

Find out more about volunteering with our Ranger Service.

Within collections, data and recording

We welcome volunteers who are keen to assist with the care and cataloguing of our collections. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with original archive material, identifying and cataloguing items ranging from archaeological excavations to architects’ drawings. Volunteers can also help with the rehousing of collections to ensure that they are preserved for the future.
People with an interest in geographical information systems and data can volunteer with our Data Team, helping to create and update information in our map layers which we present through Canmore mapping and PastMap.

We expect volunteers to be proficient in a variety of computer packages such Microsoft Office.

We unfortunately do not have any vacant volunteer positions at this time. Positions will be advertised here when they become available.

At the Engine Shed

In Autumn 2017 we will be looking for volunteers at the Engine Shed in Stirling. Our volunteers will be able to support school visits, help out at events and talk to visitors about Scotland’s inspirational built heritage. Anyone interested should register their interest to the Engine Shed team by emailing technicaleducation@hes.scot.

With our community projects

Volunteers are at the heart of several of our community projects.

Our Scotland’s Urban Past project helps people to become ‘urban detectives’ who investigate the hidden histories of Scotland’s towns and cities. We provide free training to our volunteers, who explore the stories of buildings, streets and parks, and present them in exciting and creative ways.

Visit the Scotland’s Urban Past website to see how you can volunteer.

5 Volunteering with our Ranger Service

There is a variety of volunteering opportunities with our rangers at Holyrood Park, Linlithgow Peel and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.

Practical conservation groups

Many groups approach us wanting to become more actively involved in our parks throughout the year. Groups may come from private businesses or local communities, and can volunteer for just a day or on longer-term projects. These can include projects to clear litter, create or maintain paths, or manage a variety of habitats.

Conservation volunteers

Our surveys provide a great opportunity for anyone interested in gaining survey and ecological experience or wanting to contribute to protecting local biodiversity. Anyone is welcome to join in, though some surveys involve steep slopes or water. We do most of our surveying work in summer, but some work takes place at other times of the year.

Volunteer rangers

We seek volunteer rangers from across the community, ideally aged 16 or over. We want volunteers with a love and understanding of the locations in which they work, and who want to help others to enjoy these places too.

Volunteer ranger roles include:

  • organised patrols encouraging good behaviour, promoting safety and reporting any damage
  • helping with community or school groups, guided walks or events
  • helping with surveys to monitor species or habitats
  • getting involved in work parties, including clean-ups and conservation projects

To volunteer with our rangers, email rangers@hes.scot.