Discovery and Learning

Role Description

Discovery & Learning Volunteers are part of our fantastic Discovery & Learning Team who engage and inspire all our visitors to the National Marine Aquarium (NMA).

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 (which makes it pretty exciting for us too)!

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 Marine Conservation and Public Science Communication from an internationally recognised institution. 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 Discovery & Learning 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 artistic in our Creative Centre on weekends and holidays, 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 NMA 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).
  • We ask volunteers to come in at least 1 day a week, shifts are 10am-4pm (6 hours long with a 30-minute lunch break). We can always be flexible for holidays, etc.
  • You should be people person, and like talking about the Ocean
  • The role involves lots of standing and walking (for almost all your time in the NMA) so a basic level of fitness is required.
  • Ideally you should have an interest in the marine environment, but prior knowledge is not essential as training is provided
  • You should also have an interest in marine conservation, because that’s what we’re all about!
  • 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, you will be asked to provide documented evidence of eligibility.
  • The NMA Limited 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

  • You only need to apply a month or two in advance of the time you would like to start volunteering. We recruit year-round for volunteers and cannot guarantee a position too far in advance.
  • Please email a brief outline (no more than 200 words) of why you would like to Volunteer in the Discovery & Learning Team and any skills or experience you have that would make you a strong candidate, if you would like to you can also include a CV but this is not essential.
  • Look out for us at events in the area! We often have sign-up sheets and host recruitment evenings at the Aquarium.

If you are a College Student interested in Voluntary Work Placements, please consider our Work Experience Programme instead.

Contact Details:

Oleta (Volunteer Coordinator)

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