A fox snoozing in a chair in the GCER office. Don't worry, it's a stuffed fox!

Working for GCER

We get frequent enquiries about whether we have any vacancies for paid work at GCER. Unfortunately the answer is usually "no". We are a typical Records Centre in that we rely heavily on volunteer help and have few full-time paid members of staff. We do not, therefore, get vacancies for paid jobs very often; permanent posts only tend to come up every few years.

Whilst paid full-time and contract vacancies are rare, we do however have plenty on offer for volunteers.

Volunteering opportunities

We have several types of work for which we are always grateful for extra help:

  • Data entry - all the "casual" species records which get sent in to the Record Centre every week need to be checked and entered into our main database. We also have thousands of historic records, especially of bird sightings, which are gradually being computerised so that long-term trends can be usefully analysed.

  • Data processing - this can include ordinary scanning of documents through to verifying grid references and more complex processing of spreadsheet information so that it can be imported into our main database.

  • GIS - we rely on Geographic Information Systems, i.e. computerised mapping, for many if not most of our outputs. Volunteers help us a lot with the lengthy process of mapping new and historic information. We mostly use QGIS (a free, open source mapping program). We recommend that beginners start with the older habitat maps as they offer a good way to get started with GIS.
A volunteer with a rucksack Most GCER volunteers are office-based, but some may be involved with field survey too

Benefits of volunteering

  • Gain confidence with new computer and mapping skills
  • Find out more about the wildlife in your locality
  • Get valuable experience which will help with future job applications
  • Meet others who share an interest in seeing and recording wildlife
  • Claim travel expenses. GWT can reimburse your travel costs up to a range of 40 miles @ 35p a mile - or your public transport fare.
  • Make a difference to conservation efforts by helping to improve our knowledge base

There's no pressure when you're working as a volunteer: you don't have to come in for a set start time or number of hours. Any help is useful for us, as maintaining our database is a time-consuming business and would be almost impossible to achieve without volunteer help.

GCER benefits from being part of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's volunteer program. Click here for lots more information on volunteering, and for contact details.

We've had many volunteers over the years. They included students and recent graduates looking for work experience, retired volunteers wanting to keep busy, career-changers wanting to get into ecology professions, and a wide range of other wildlife enthusiasts. Click here for a list of past contributors.