Voluntary Engagement Officer

The Voluntary Engagement Officer will be given a bespoke training package in the environmental field with a view to developing their future career.
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This is an exciting and rewarding opportunity which aims to develop environmental, practical and engagement skills within a small team over a wide range of activities.

Working alongside other VEO’s and members of staff to deliver the Discover Brightwater Landscape Partnership project by undertaking practical habitat management, access management, historical & heritage activities and events, and public engagement events.

Reports To

Voluntary Engagement Officer Opportunity (VEO) will report to our very own NEAPO aka The Natural Environment & Access Projects Coordinator.

Discover Brightwater Landscape Partnership

Voluntantry Engagement Officer's fixing-up the river Skerne
Our VEO’s fixing-up the river Skerne

Discover Brightwater is a National Lottery Heritage Fund Landscape Partnership led by Durham Wildlife Trust 

Working in south County Durham to deliver landscape-scale wetland recreation and improvement projects, heritage and historical projects and relink local communities with the history and countryside of the Discover Brightwater area.

The partnership includes organizations such as Darlington Borough CouncilDurham County CouncilGroundwork North EastEnvironment AgencyNatural EnglandNorthumbrian WaterTees Rivers Trust and Highways England.


Volunteering on sites will resume in limited group sizes, in line with Covid-19 guidelines.

Due to the current circumstances, the VEO role will begin mid-late Summer.

Candidates should have access to their own vehicle for travel. As restrictions are lifted we may be able to accommodate some travel needs.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Be part of a small team and undertake a training scheme that will develop skills towards a future career or aid in a change of career.
  • Support the Discover Brightwater members of staff, in particular, the Natural Environmental & Access Projects Coordinator, in the delivery of practical environmental and access projects.
  • Work in the countryside throughout the year, carrying out physically demanding tasks in woodland and wetlands and along public rights of way.
  • Support Partnership Manager and Communication Officer at publicity events and during filming and interviews.
  • Support Community and Training Manager with historical and heritage projects such as archaeological digs.
  • Take part and contribute to regular team meetings, attend progress meetings with partners and attend occasional meetings with the Discover Brightwater Board of Trustees and National Lottery Heritage Fund advisors.
  • Engage with partners, volunteers and members of the public to further the goals of the Partnership.
  • Be responsible for the maintenance of tools, equipment, vehicles and office spaces.


  • Based at Discover Brightwater office at Flexspace Unit 28, Durham, Way South, Newton Aycliffe Business Park, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6ZF.
  • Opportunities to work alongside other staff at Durham Wildlife Trust Head Office and Nature Reserve at Rainton Meadows and Low Barns Nature Reserve, along with possibilities with other Partnership organisations.


This is a voluntary post with a substantial training budget for the development of a future career.

The trainee will be able to claim their travel expenses at a rate of 45p per mile.


18 hours per week over 3 days (Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays) for a period of 12 months. Some evening and weekend working will be required.

Due to ongoing Covid-19, these hours and days will be limited to fall into line with government restrictions and will be updated upon restrictions being lifted or tightened.


15 days inclusive of bank holidays.


Training for the VEO will progress through the duration of the post. Some elements and courses will be mandatory, such as First Aid at Work and Health & Safety, but training will be highly flexible to suit the VEO upon agreement by the Discover Brightwater Programme Manager and Natural Environment & Access Projects Coordinator in order for the VEO to begin or progress a career in the environmental sector.


To apply for this post please send a full, up to date CV and Covering Letter to Dafydd Jones, Natural Environment & Access Projects Coordinator to djones@durhamwt.co.uk no later than 12 pm on Friday 11th June.

Prospective candidates are welcome to contact us for an informal discussion about the role on 01325 327 341.

Please note due to Covid-19 restriction our office is not continually staffed throughout the week. Please leave a message on our answerphone and we will respond as soon as possible.

Would you like to find out more? Janette who has worked as VEO dishes-the-dirt on Brightwater. Click here

Person Specification

Criteria Essential Desirable Assessment Method


Education and Training Min GCSE (A–C) or equivalent in Mathematics and English. Relevant vocational qualifications.

A Level or degree level (or equivalent) education.

Experience Experience of working or volunteering in a similar role.

Experience engaging with members of the public

Knowledge Knowledge of the Discover Brightwater area.

Basic knowledge of common UK species associated with the Discover Brightwater landscape.

Skills and Abilities Ability and willingness to work in an outdoor environment and wetland landscape, carrying out practical projects in all weathers.

Willingness to work as part of a team and develop skills to lead teams of volunteers.

Willingness to undertaking a bespoke training package.

Professional attitude and approachable manner.

Good interpersonal skills.

Basic knowledge and experience of Microsoft packages such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Countryside skills such as fencing, coppicing, hedge laying, dry stone walling, footpath creation.

Use and maintenance of hand tools.

Use of GIS mapping.

Other A clean driving licence and access to own vehicle for business use is essential as this post will require frequent regional travel

A good sense of humour

Trailer towing licence (BE class)

A = application/CV

I = interview

Q = qualifications & certificates

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