Work Experience with our Ocean Discovery Rangers

Home to the Ocean Conservation Trust, our work experience provides the opportunity to work alongside our Ocean Discovery Rangers to engage with members of the public and help support us in achieving our goal to “Connect people to the Ocean”.

This work experience placement is designed for pupils who have been requested to find a placement by their school and who are between the ages of 14-17.

Please note that unfortunately the National Marine Aquarium is unable to provide financial assistance for any of our volunteering roles.

Position 1 – School Work Experience

Applications are now closed for the 23/24 academic year and so we will no longer be taking any applications for this current school year. If you would like to apply for the 24/25 academic year, please find our new application process down below. Please note that we only offer 5-day work experience placements during term time, we do not accept placements during the holidays or on weekends. 

For applications for the 24/25 school year, please note we are fully booked for the following: 2nd – 6th September 2024, 21st – 25th October 2024, November 2024, January 2025

Who are the Ocean Discovery Rangers

Our Ocean Discovery Rangers are the people who connect, engage, and inspire the public to the wonders of our Ocean here at the National Marine Aquarium. We believe that when people feel an
emotional connection with the Ocean that they will be more likely to protect and support its future, and so it is our job to help the public form these connections. During your work experience with us you will help communicate with members of the public, teaching about a wide variety of marine life, and educate visitors on a range of Ocean conservation issues.

We engage with the public in many ways meaning that you will get to be involved in:

1:1 Discussions with the public: This could be about the animals here at the aquarium, important Ocean habitats, and different conservation issues. Do not worry, our Ocean Discovery Rangers will provide you with plenty of information about all of our wonderful animals!

Busking. Use real Ocean artefacts such as shark eggs, turtle shells and whale ribs to provide a hands on learning experience.

Workshops. These are interactive activities created by our own Ocean Discovery Rangers. For
example, our workshop ‘How to catch a fishfinger’ includes beads, sand, and nets to teach all about sustainable fishing.

Talks and Shows: You will get to watch shows and talks delivered by our Ocean Discovery Rangers
with the opportunity to participate in these, if you would like! This could include sharing some facts about our Octopus or an interaction in one of our Shark Shows.

While not guaranteed, there may be opportunities to shadow some of the following programmes:

Our Ocean Todds programme
Our Schools team
Behind the scenes tours

All of these opportunities will help develop your confidence, science communication skills, and experience working as part of a team. As you can see, this work experience does not involve husbandry or animal care as this would not be suitable for under 18s!

Crest Award

Alongside these activities you are also given the opportunity to earn your Bronze CREST award, part of a nationally recognised scheme. With the support of our Ocean Discovery Rangers, this award is an
opportunity for you to plan and present your very own Ocean conservation project. We hope that working with our public engagement team will inspire you to think creatively when designing your project. Here are some examples of what you could create:

  • A poster and short talk on the effect of sun cream on coral reefs.
  • Snap cards based on different Ocean habitats, describing each one as they appear.
  • An interactive workshop showing how microplastics can travel up the food web.
  • ‘A day in the life’ vlog as a work experience student.

Completing your CREST award will allow you to develop key skills in research, organisation, and science communication.

The Application process

We view the application process as part of your work experience, giving you an insight of what it would be like to apply for a job in the future. The first step is to complete the application form below
which will be reviewed by our Work Experience Team. It is important that you read through all the information on this webpage and application form and please check for any dates we have detailed as unavailable to avoid disappointment.

If your application has been successful, we will then offer you an interview – congratulations! While an interview may seem daunting, this is an opportunity for us to gain a greater insight into yourself, your hobbies, and your interest in the National Marine Aquarium and marine conservation. The interview can be online or in person depending on your availability and usually lasts no longer than 15 minutes.

Due to our popularity, it can take a long time to review everyone’s applications and conduct interviews. Therefore, please do not worry if we do not get back to you immediately regarding your application. Please also ensure that you apply as soon as possible, if your work experience dates are within the next 2-3 months this will most likely be too late!

For any questions/enquiries please email us on:


For parents/guardians/teachers:

We know you may want to help with applications but please let your young marine biologists apply and send in their applications themselves. This is a learning experience and a skill that is very important for their growth as a young professional. We will not accept applications completed and/or sent in on an applicant’s behalf unless 1:1 support is required. There is an option available on the application form for any parents/guardians/teachers to be included in any email communications if this is preferred.

Frequently asked Questions

My preferred dates are unavailable, what can I do? Schools are often accomodating to arrange alternative dates for your work experience. If you are really passionate in applying for work experience here, see if you school is willing to let you apply for an alternative date.

Can this work experience count towards my DofE? Unfortunately our work experience does not count towards your DofE as we cannot provide the number of hours or frequency of hours required.

Do I have to do the Bronze CREST award? Completing your Bronze CREST award is completely optional. However please note that this is a funded opportunity that we provide.

Will I be the only work experience student during my week? We aim to have two work experience students with us in each placement.

Will I be on my own during work experience? You will always be with a member of our Ocean Discovery Ranger team throughout your work experience. Our rangers love all things Ocean so do take this opportunity to ask them as many questions about our aquarium and its animals!

For any questions/enquiries please email us on:

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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