Would you like to become a part of the Ocean Conservation Trust’s passionate and knowledgeable team of Ocean experts and educators?
If you’re an Ocean Optimist, like us, then find out about how to work with our charity by choosing from the list below to find out more information.
Our generous Public Engagement Team Volunteers are part of our enthusiastic Discovery & Learning Team who engage and inspire all visitors to the National Marine Aquarium (NMA), the Ocean Conservation Trust’s centre of excellence.
You’ll join a formidable team of dedicated conservationists who inspire the public to save our Ocean! We do this in a variety of ways, all focusing on fun and participation.
These interactions take many forms, from informal chats with families, to marine focused games and even scheduled talks to the public. You’ll receive on the job training in both Ocean Conservation and Public Science Communication from an internationally recognised team. We’ll provide all the training you need, so this opportunity is available to all, from yellow-bellied land-lubbers to certified mermaids, all you need is a passion for the Ocean! Hosting is great for improving communication skills and gaining confidence, as well as having fun in the UK’s biggest Aquarium.
The team is dynamic and fast paced, taking on lots of extra projects, meaning the volunteering role is always varied. There are loads of extra opportunities to broaden your skills. These could be getting stuck into birthday parties and VIP Behind the Scenes Tours, or even assisting in one off events such as rock-pooling, beach cleans and representing the OCT at shows and events around Plymouth. We welcome 30,000 school pupils to the NMA each year too so you’ll have the chance to get involved with formal education including school tours, art and science workshops if you wish.
To get the most out of our Volunteer Programme we recommend long term volunteering (6 months plus) as there is lots to learn, and lots to get involved with! We recommend that people looking for shorter term opportunities consider our Work Experience Programme, Dive Volunteering, or the Husbandry Internship.
To volunteer, you must be aged 17 or over (If you are 17 you must have a letter of consent from a parent or guardian).
Volunteers are requested to come in at least 1 day a week, with shifts from 10am-4pm (6 hours long with a 30-minute lunch break). We can always be flexible for holidays, etc.
The role involves lots of standing and walking (for almost all your time in the NMA) so a basic level of fitness is required.
If you have great people skills and a passion for the Ocean, then we’d like to hear from you. Prior knowledge is not essential as training is provided, but an enthusiasm for the marine environment and a willingness to learn will get you a long way!
In line with the requirements of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, all applicants must be eligible to live and work in the UK. As part of the recruitment process, applicants will be asked to provide documented evidence of eligibility.
The Ocean Conservation Trust welcomes applications from all sections of the community and is an Equal Opportunities employer.
Note: We are unable to offer expenses for travel or sustenance as part of regular volunteering.
How to Apply
If you’d like to volunteer for the Ocean Conservation Trust, then please apply a month or two in advance of the time you’d like to start. We recruit year-round for volunteers and as such, are unable to guarantee volunteer positions any further in advance.
Please email us with a brief outline (no more than 200 words) of why you would like to Volunteer with the Ocean Conservation Trust and any skills or experience you have that you feel make you a strong candidate. You may also include a CV, though this is not essential.
Look out for us at events in the area! We often have sign-up sheets and host recruitment evenings at our Aquarium.
If you are a College Student interested in Voluntary Work Placements, please consider our Work Experience Programme instead.
Oleta (Volunteer Coordinator)
At the Ocean Conservation Trust, we pride ourselves on providing the opportunity for young people to experience working in our Discovery and Learning Team, supporting us in achieving our aim of “Connecting Us With Our Oceans”.
Pupils are given the opportunity to communicate with members of the public, teach them about a wide variety of marine life and to educate visitors on a range of Ocean conservation issues. They are also, if possible, provided with the opportunity to shadow the teaching of school groups and to contribute to our independent work experience projects, designed to benefit the education work we do. Through such activities, students are given the opportunity to improve their communication skills, gain confidence in and experience working as part of a team. The placement also allows pupils to become more aware of the variety of careers open to someone wanting to work in the Marine Biology field.
Please note: The work experience placements we have on offer are only designed for pupils who have been requested to find a placement by their school and who are between the ages of 14-17.
To enable us to dedicate our time to ensuring they get the most out of their time with us, we only accept one student per placement. Placements take place during term time and last one week only.
To apply, please send a CV and covering letter explaining why you are interested in a placement with the Ocean Conservation Trust to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Postal applications are also accepted via the following address:
Work Experience Coordinator
The Ocean Conservation Trust runs the National Marine Aquarium, the largest Aquarium in the UK, as its centre of Ocean excellence.
Based in Plymouth, Devon, the National Marine Aquarium has a dedicated and experienced world-class Husbandry team who deal with the day to day running and development of the exhibits, as well as the management of all our off-display back of house areas. Our Husbandry volunteer programme allows students to gain first-hand experience of this interesting and unique role and get the chance to help take care of the health and wellbeing of over 4,000 Ocean animals, too.
Our volunteers work directly with the Husbandry team and assist in the day to day running and development of all aspects of the Husbandry department. The positions are designed to introduce basic animal care and husbandry skills, and volunteers receive invaluable experience of working in a large and dynamic aquarium, helping us to achieve our aim to make the National Marine Aquarium the very best in Europe.
Day to day husbandry tasks include but are not limited to:
- Maintenance of display tanks
- Preparation of food for livestock
- Feeding livestock
- Maintenance of plankton cultures
- Maintenance of off display tanks
- Maintenance of life support systems
- Operant conditioning of individual animals
- There are currently two different volunteering opportunities within the husbandry team.
Husbandry internships allow volunteers to immerse themselves within the husbandry team for a period of 3 months. The intern will assist a particular biologist in the day to day running and development of their area. This role is based on rota shifts and includes weekends.
Industrial placement roles are for students whose degree course requires an industrial placement year. The student will gain an overall view of all the husbandry areas and will assist the husbandry team with the development of the aquarium. This role is rota’d and includes some weekends.
If you are interested in either of these roles, please complete this Expression of Interest Form – Husbandry 2019 Dec-Feb and send to email@example.com
Neither of these roles are paid and to work with our Husbandry Team you need to be over 18.
The Ocean Conservation Trust runs the National Marine Aquarium, the largest Aquarium in the UK.
Our larger exhibits require maintenance and the fish need feeding. To do this our Biologists must dive into the tank.
We have developed a programme that allows volunteers to experience this unique role. The volunteer diver’s role is based predominantly in Eddystone Reef exhibit helping us look after the large array of native fish such as conger eels, sharks, rays and lobsters. These dives usually take place on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm but do also occur on other days.
In order to become part of the dive team you will need to be qualified to a minimum level of HSE Part IV or PADI Dive Master, have an in date HSE medical and have a current 1st Aid at Work qualification with oxygen administration.
If you are interested in any of this role please complete this Expression of Interest Form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org