Overview

April to September 2019

Overall purpose of the role

This is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience in delivering a great visitor experience at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, during the spring and summer months (start and end dates can be flexible within reason). You will be provided with comfortable self-catering accommodation on site, with the reserve as your back garden!

You will assist with the day-to-day running of the visitor operation and the promotion of the reserve and its events and activities. There will also be some opportunities to get involved in the wider work of the reserve and help with survey work on this and other sites in the Broads. You will become an integral part of the team working to save nature in this special wetland.

In this role you will gain: 

  • Experience of planning, delivering and promoting an events programme.
  • Specialist experience of delivering the best possible visitor experience on a nature reserve.
  • Appropriate training such as membership recruitment, media work and first aid.
  • Excellent all-round experience of working in a team on a RSPB nature reserve.
  • Experience of supervising other volunteers.
  • Free accommodation in a stunning location on the reserve.
  • Access to our internal vacancies during the period of your volunteering.
  • A mentor who will monitor your progress and help you with personal development

Main duties

Assisting in the reserve visitor centre:

  • Welcoming visitors and providing information about their visit.
  • Talking to visitors about joining the RSPB.

Developing, delivering and promoting an events programme for the reserve;

  • Typical events include pond dipping, guided walks, craft activities, family trails and family days.

Marketing and promotion of the reserve and reserve events;

  • Writing press releases and liaising with the media.
  • Producing posters and publicity material.
  • Keeping social media sites up to date, writing blogs and developing contacts.

Developing and delivering on-site interpretation;

  • Designing and producing a suite of seasonal and short-term site interpretation, in line with RSPB brand guidelines.

In addition to these specialist tasks, you will be expected to be an active member of the reserve team assisting in the upkeep, day to day management and administrative tasks on the reserve. These include:

  • Assisting reception volunteers.
  • Maintaining visitor facilities – including ensuring the refreshments are well stocked, all information and visitor resources are well stocked, and visitor facilities are all in good condition.
  • Assisting with Quality Assurance checks to maintain high standards of facilities.

Skills required

Qualifications 

You need to have:

  • A-level standard education or equivalent.
  • A full driving licence would be desirable.

Skills 

You will need to demonstrate:

  • Excellent people and communication skills.
  • The ability to work in a team and a strong work ethic.
  • Ability to use your initiative and to be flexible
  • Enthusiasm to learn and develop new skills and abilities.
  • Good IT skills
  • Ability to think and work creatively
  • An enthusiasm for wildlife and conservation
  • A confident, friendly and polite manner.
  • An ability to use your initiative.

It is desirable but not essential for applicants to evidence:

  • Good identification skills of UK wildlife.

Experience 

No previous conservation experienced is required, but experience in the following would be an advantage:

  • An understanding of customer service.
  • Volunteering.
  • Planning, promoting and running events.

Other 

You must be at least 18 years of age and willing to commit to the full six month placement.

You will be expected to display dedication to, and enthusiasm for, a career in nature conservation and a passion for engaging people with wildlife and its conservation.

Development

This scheme is designed to provide you with a breadth of skills and experience relevant to a visitor-focussed career in conservation. Our internships have a proven track record of assisting volunteers to enhance personal development and aid their progression towards a career in conservation. It is important that you take advantage of the opportunities that will arise during the placement to learn new skills, gain new experiences and increase your conservation knowledge. Your manager will provide a structure to your development in the form of regular meetings to check your progress and ensure that the experience increasingly fits your individual needs and interests. 

Location – About RSPB Strumpshaw Fen 

In the heart of the Norfolk Broads, situated on the banks of the River Yare, Strumpshaw Fen is part of the Mid Yare reserves complex and includes grazing marshes, wet woodlands, fen and reedbeds.

The RSPB have managed this site for wildlife for 41 years and it is home to many iconic Broadland wildlife species including bitterns, marsh harriers, Norfolk hawker dragonflies, swallowtail butterflies, otters and deer.

The Norfolk Broads attracts over 9 million visitors each year and Strumpshaw Fen is a popular choice for those who come to enjoy the amazing wildlife spectacles, the glorious walking, the stunning Broadland vistas and the peace and tranquillity of this magical wetland.  Local communities and Norwich residents also make good use of the reserve and the team here work hard to attract a wide variety of visitors, particularly through the provision of exciting on site events and activities.

Our school holiday programmes are developing a real following amongst local and visiting families.

You will have many opportunities to get involved at every level with developing, promoting and delivering family events, self-guided activities and day to day visitor operations.  There will also be opportunities to get involved in aspects of our reserve monitoring and conservation work for those who would like to.

Accommodation at Strumpshaw Fen

Staithe Cottage – a historic detached 3-bedroom cottage located on the reserve – is home for our Residential Volunteers and Interns.  Each volunteer has their own bedroom and the cottage has a well equipped kitchen, comfortable lounge, dining room and bathroom.  The cottage is centrally heated, has a utility room with washing machine, and from the front door you can walk straight out onto the reserve and enjoy your picturesque surroundings.

Brundall village is 2 miles (3.2 km) from the reserve and is well serviced with amenities (supermarket and other local shops, post office, pub, cafe and marina).  There is a railway station at Brundall with trains into both Norwich and Great Yarmouth. Buses can also be caught at Brundall.

The historic City of Norwich is approximately 20 minutes away by train or by car. A bicycle and/or car will be useful during this placement, but not essential.

How to apply

You will need to fill in an application form. When short-listing, we are looking for evidence of:

  • People and communication skills
  • Ability to take the initiative
  • Enthusiasm for conservation
  • Being a team player
  • Any relevant studies or experience

Please return the form to:  Jane Shah, Residential Volunteering Development Officer, Residential Volunteering, The Lodge, Potton Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL.

Email: [email protected], Tel: 01767 693409

To get a copy of the application form, or if you would like any more information and have any questions about the internship, please contact Martin Bull, the region’s Volunteering Development Officer, on 01603 697504. Email: [email protected],uk

Closing date for applications and interview dates: see RSPB website advert for details at www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering/internships

Short listed candidates will be invited to interview at; RSPB Eastern England Regional Office, 65 Thorpe Road, Norwich, NR1 1UD. Some travel expenses are available.