Learning and Engagement Volunteer

Durham City

Inspired by our saints, Cuthbert and Bede, the mission of Durham Cathedral is to offer everyone the opportunity to encounter God and know God’s love in Jesus Christ. We welcome volunteers from any background, of all faiths and none, and those who in turn show respect and sensitivity towards all nationalities, religions, beliefs, cultures, backgrounds, and the ethos of the Cathedral as a working church.

The purpose of this role is to deliver a range of guided visits, workshops and other sessions devised and coordinated by Cathedral Learning and Engagement staff, as part of our busy, vibrant and creative Learning & Engagement Team. We deliver sessions to school, college and uniformed groups of up to around 30 at time.

You would assist in delivering engaging and hands-on family activities during school holidays and/or weekends.


In this role you can expect to:

• Provide a friendly, lively, enthusiastic and skilled delivery of set sessions which engage learners.
• Inform and inspire children and young people through a number of teaching methods that can include tours, storytelling and object handling.
• Use open-ended questions and problem solving to encourage children and young people to engage with the building or the natural environment.
• Support the safety and wellbeing of those in the session.
• Use your skills, experience and reflective practice with the team to help ensure consistent high quality delivery of the Learning & Engagement Programme.

Skills & Qualities

For this role, we are seeking volunteers aged 16 or over offering the following:

• A lively, enthusiastic and skilled individual who can engage learners of all ages and has a willingness to work with different age groups.
• Articulate with excellent communication skills including a strong, clear speaking voice.
• Respect and sensitivity towards all religions, beliefs, cultures and backgrounds and an empathy with the mission and values of the Cathedral.
• Creative approach to be able to adapt to suit the needs of learners.
• A general understanding of the National Curriculum is useful.
• Reflective practitioner, both flexible and adaptable.
• Reliable and conscientious.
• The ability to deal with difficult situations safely and efficiently and with tact and diplomacy.
• Teaching and/or volunteering experience in a learning environment is desirable.
• Experience of working with learners with special educational needs (SEN) is an added bonus.
• Knowledge of other languages including BSL would also be very much appreciated.

When & Where?

In this role you will usually be based in the Cathedral, Education Centre next door, the College are behind the Cathedral, and the Woodlands and Riverbanks surrounding the Cathedral including our outdoor classrooms.

Learning & Engagement delivery usually takes place between 09:30 and 14:00 Monday to Friday during term time. Family activities usually take place during school holidays, Monday to Friday 10:00 to 16:00 and some weekends.

Our volunteers typically gift up to 4 days of their time a month, either as 8 half days or 4 full days. In busy periods we might offer additional opportunities, but we appreciate any gift of your time and you will set your own time commitment.

Training and Support Offered/Expenses

• Your main training will be through induction, shadowing and an introductory period. The duration of this training before you deliver any sessions independently will vary depending on your prior experience, skills and aptitudes.
• We shall provide you with access to information about Learning & Engagement, as well as some background material about the Cathedral itself.
• You will receive ongoing support, feedback and further development, and we would appreciate you making every effort to attend additional training sessions.
• National Church of England Safeguarding training: Basic and Foundations Awareness online safeguarding modules must be completed before you start your volunteer role.
• The Association of English Cathedrals national online training module, which welcomes you as part of a unique cathedral community of volunteers.
• As a volunteer you will be encouraged to undertake other organisational training, for example health and safety and counter terrorism.

Unfortunately we are not able to offer expenses.

Volunteer Benefits

• Fantastic opportunity to volunteer alongside the Learning and Engagement Team at the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• References available on request
• Opportunity to join the Cathedral’s Community Roll (https://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/get-involved/community-roll)
• Cloister Card offering 10% discount in the Cathedral Shop and Undercroft Restaurant (conditions apply)
• Refreshments
• Various optional volunteer training as available

Other Information

• Recruitment is through an application form and two referees we shall ask to comment on your suitability for the role.
• Following application, we will invite you for a discussion with the Team Leader, Learning and Engagement and another member of Cathedral staff.
• If your application is successful, we shall ask you to sign your commitment to the behaviours and expectations outlined in our Volunteer Agreement.
• You will be expected to attend all required safeguarding training before your start date and at all times work within the policy and procedures of the relevant safeguarding policies.

This role involves Regulated Activity and is subject to completion of a confidential declaration form and an Enhanced DBS Check with a Children’s Barred List Check.

In compliance with Church of England Safer Recruitment, all pre-appointment checks including referencing and DBS checking must be complete before your start date.

Due to severely limited space we are sorry but there is no parking available to volunteers in the Cathedral grounds unless agreed in advance.

It is important to wear appropriate clothing while carrying out your duties as a Learning and Engagement volunteer. The Cathedral, as is typical of an ancient building, can be cold and the floors are hard and uneven. We shall provide you with a Cathedral branded over-garment (e.g. fleece, gilet, tabard or similar) to wear for visibility and identification while on duty. If you are volunteering on the Heritage Woodlands and Riverbanks you should ensure you have warm, waterproof clothing, suitable footwear such as walking boots or wellingtons.

Durham Cathedral Logo
Durham Cathedral More information
Hours: Typically up to 4 days per month, either as 8 half days or 4 full days. Type: Museums/Heritage, Employment/Education/Training, Faith/Religion, Children/Young People

Apply now

Please sign in or register to apply for this opportunity.