About Us

Volunteer with us

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

One of our Sewing class volunteers, in the Community Room at Stanley Mills

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 Past, Our Future. We recruit volunteers who share our passion for Scotland’s historic environment to help across our estate.

Read our latest newsletter

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.

Read our Volunteer Policy [PDF, 2.75MB]

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

  • engaging with visitors
  • studying biodiversity
  • cataloguing our collections
  • playing a musical instrument

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

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.”

To find out more about volunteering with Historic Environment Scotland, please get in touch via email: volunteering@hes.scot.

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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.
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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 and enthusiastic
  • can take, and act on instructions, including health and safety procedures
  • maintain attention to detail and accuracy
  • for public-facing roles, are comfortable communicating with our diverse audiences and are confident and happy to initiate conversations and provide directions and guidance as required

Historic Environment Scotland is a partner in Make Your Mark, part of Our Place in Time, Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment. The Make Your Mark campaign aims to increase the number and diversity of heritage volunteers in Scotland. Over 70 organisations around Scotland have joined Make Your Mark, and you can find volunteering opportunities for member organisations around Scotland via the recruitment portal. Visit www.makeyourmark.scot to learn more and view current volunteering opportunities.

To find out more about volunteering with Historic Environment Scotland, please get in touch via email: volunteering@hes.scot.

For other volunteering opportunities around Scotland, see the Volunteer Scotland website.

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4 Where you can volunteer

At our monuments

Our Visitor Connectors are volunteers who have one thing in common: a love of being around people as part of an excellent visitor experience in the settings of the unique castles, abbeys, cathedrals, forts and much more that we have in our care.

This is a flexible role that has potential to be varied or focused, depending on the interests of the individual, the visitors on the day, and what would provide added value to the site and its team. At the heart of the role is helping visitors and education and community groups to have a valuable and fun experience. There are opportunities to deliver tours, lead activities such as crafts and handling collections, help out on event days, meet & greet, and chat to visitors as they move around the site. Volunteers are encouraged to engage with visitors in a way that will help them to explore and discover more about the site, area, and communities’ rich heritage. We are currently keen to hear from interested people at Melrose Abbey.

Please download the Visitor Connector Role Description to find out more and then complete and return the Expression of Interest Form using the contact details on the form.

At our events

We recruit volunteers to provide support at a selection of our award-winning events, at locations around Scotland such as Linlithgow Palace & Peel and Fort George.

This is a flexible and varied role with helping visitors to have a valuable and fun experience at its heart. Volunteers will assist with crowd marshalling, meeting & greeting, answering questions, giving directions, 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.

Event volunteer recruitment is now closed for our summer 2023 events. As new event volunteering opportunities may become available throughout the year, we encourage you to check our website regularly or email volunteering@hes.scot.

Monument Monitor

We have over 300 properties in our care and, whilst our conservation teams undertake routine maintenance visits, we can’t be at all of them at once. However, historic properties are popular tourist attractions and visitors are frequently snapping and sharing pictures of their visit. This is where Monument Monitor steps in and you can help!

At several different sites around the country, we have put signs up that ask visitors to send in their images of our sites, enabling our team to keep tabs on them remotely. At the participating sites, specific signs will illustrate what we are monitoring and what we would like photos of. Our sites including a healthy mix of castles, Neolithic monuments, churches and Iron Age forts.

To learn which sites we are monitoring and how to get involved, visit our Monument Monitor page 

Beach Clean & Litter Pick

Micro-volunteer to help us keep our beaches and green spaces free from litter.

In partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful and The 2 Minute Foundation, at several of our Properties in Care around the country our Climate Change team have put A-boards with litter pickers and rubbish bags for visitors to use to do a quick beach clean or litter pick. To get involved, simply collect a litter picker and bag from the board and collect some litter. Then, return the litter picker to the board and hand in the rubbish bag to a member of staff. Anyone can take part, so look out for the beach clean boards at Blackness Castle, Broch of Gurness, Inchcolm Abbey, Iona Abbey, and St Andrews Castle and litter pick boards at Dundonald Castle, Holyrood Park, Linlithgow Peel, Newark Castle, and Stanley Mills.

To learn more visit The 2 Minute Foundation website, where you can also search for all beach clean, litter pick, and street clean locations across the UK. For general information about litter prevention in Scotland, visit the Keep Scotland Beautiful website.

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5 Volunteering with our Ranger Service

Our Ranger Service, based at Holyrood Park, Linlithgow Peel and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site provides a number of opportunities to volunteer.

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 during summer, but some projects take place at other times of the year.

Volunteering opportunities with our Ranger Service are currently fully subscribed and we are not recruiting at this time. Please check the Where you can volunteer page regularly as we update information as opportunities become available throughout the year.

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