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Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is cared for by Forestry England. As well as ensuring Westonbirt’s long-term future, its mission is to connect people with trees to improve the quality of life ...
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SummaryVolunteer guides are key to enabling visitors to explore Westonbirt National Arboretum, sharing their passion, knowledge and experience to engage visitors.
Volunteer guides are key to enabling visitors to explore Westonbirt National Arboretum. By sharing their passion and knowledge / experience they support people to understand and connect with the significance of the tree collection and its seasonal delights.
- Guided walks run throughout the year, generally from March-October, with a more limited programme throughout the winter
- Walks last about 1½ hour, however, to allow for preparation time on/ before the day, shifts take a minimum of 3 hours, and often a full day during your first season
- We ask for a minimum of 2 onsite shifts per month
- A period of mandatory training, mentorship and walk preparation, involving up to 4 research/learning sessions a month in first season. Our next training course runs from end January through early April 2023 – more details in ‘how we support you’ section
- Leading parties of visitors safely around the arboretum
- Providing a thought-provoking multi-sensory walk focusing on our key messages.
- Tailoring the walk to suit the specific preferences and needs of different people.
- Answering visitor questions or advising where they may obtain the information.
- Promoting Westonbirt and its events; the Friends’ Charity and membership.
- Working as part of a team, with the existing guide team and support network including supporting walks as a co/guest presenter as well as leading walks
- Engaging in ongoing training and personal development
Who are we looking for…
We are excited to hear from people with a range of experiences and perspectives to bring to the role and can discuss opportunities to ensure access adjustments are made to support people to feel safe and comfortable in their training as a guide. Full training will be provided, so you don’t have to be a tree expert! The most essential attributes are passion for trees/the environment and an interest in people.
This role is all about engaging with visitors so ideally you will be
- Confident in engaging with all kinds of visitors.
- Able to speak effectively to groups of people in an outdoor setting
- Reliable, positive, patient, and keen to share your enthusiasm for the arboretum with others
- Have good attention to detail, and a willingness to learn and promote our key messages.
- Able to make sufficient time available during the period of formal training, mentoring and assessment to undertake ‘homework’, get to know the arboretum and keep up to date with a continuously changing environment
- Comfortable walking on and off paths in ALL weathers through the seasons
How we will support you…
Becoming a guide takes time. However, we will be with you every step of the way through out tailored training programme
- Initial orientation visit to explore your individual adjustment, access and support requirements with you prior to your first training session
- A full 5-day initial training programme onsite from 10am-4pm and 2 virtual sessions of 2-3 hours.
- A period of personal mentoring, development and shadowing experienced guides following the initial training to give you confidence to lead groups
Please note, initial onsite training is mandatory for this position, and we do require trainees to attend all training sessions followed by a period of development and mentoring.
- Onsite Saturdays: 28th January; 11th February; 4th and 18th March; 1st April
- Virtual Sessions: Monday 27th February 5.30-7.30pm, Monday 27th March 5.30 – 8pm
- Access to Westonbirt’s library and archive resources for further research.
- A contribution to the cost of volunteering travel, details on enquiry
- A volunteer card to enable access to the arboretum
- Duty Manager support and an on-site radio for communication
- Ongoing guide team meetings and CPD development sessions (you are expected to attend a minimum of 2 of these sessions)
What to do now?
Please visit our website to sign up to attend the recruitment morning on 19th November to find out more and how to apply.