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Volunteer Opportunities

Please note that everyone involved with Shieldhall is a volunteer.

These are volunteer positions, there is no salary.

All volunteers are encouraged to become full subscribing members of the Society with the additional benefits associated with membership.

The following summarises current opportunities. We are always keen to hear from new volunteers and even if the following do not play to your particular skills, contact us to discuss how you can help.

Deck and Engine Room Maintenance Volunteers

A variety of roles from bridge team to deckhand, engineer to boiler attendant, working on the hull and rigging, in the engine room and on deck machinery. Tasks include scaling and painting, washing down and buffing up the paint and brass-work; servicing a unique assembly of classic boilers and steam engines. Working conditions can be hot, cold, dirty and in sometimes cramped surroundings but always satisfying.

Deckhand Volunteer

Name of Role: Deckhand Volunteer

Description of Role:  Shieldhall is a historic steamship whose rigging, steelwork and deck machinery need to be constantly maintained to ensure her ability to carry passengers and achieve an income to support her preservation. Deckhand Volunteers will be expected to carry out a range of tasks under the direction and supervision of the Bosun and within a team environment.

Reporting to:    Bosun and/or Designated Team Leader.

Work Environment:  You must expect to work in the sometimes harsh environment which is the open deck or hold spaces of a cargo/passenger carrying coastal vessel built more than 50 years ago. Fighting rust and delivering a ship which is attractive to passengers takes many hours of hard work mainly during the winter months in order to prepare the ship for her sailing season. When not “in steam” the ship reflects seasonal temperature variations.

Physical Demands:  Work place access can involve some climbing of ladders and stages, kneeling on the steel deck and use of relatively heavy and noisy machinery. Awareness of risk and the ability to work with only minimal supervision is essential.

Sample Tasks:
To scale, paint and clean according to a regular maintenance programme.
To work on rigging and deck machinery under supervision.
To keep up to date with any relevant training.
To keep the Bosun informed of any issues that arise, especially Health and Safety issues.
Other tasks as agreed with the Designated Team Leader

Health and Safety: Your own safety and that of those around you is paramount. Safety equipment is provided according to the task in hand (hard hats, goggles, hearing protection etc.). However, you are responsible for providing your own working gear (boiler suits, protective footwear, gloves etc).

Engine Room Volunteer

Name of Role: Engine Room Volunteer

Description of Role:  Shieldhall is a historic steamship whose engines and deck machinery need to be constantly maintained to ensure her ability to carry passengers and achieve an income to support her preservation. Engine Room Volunteers will be expected to carry out a range of tasks under the direction and supervision of the Chief Engineer and within a team environment.

Reporting to:    Chief Engineer and/or Designated Team Leader. 

Work Environment:  You must expect to work in the busy and sometimes cramped environment of a working engine room. Work with steam engines is very different to modern day diesel machinery and can be dirty and heavy. When not “in steam” the ship reflects seasonal temperature variations.

Physical Demands:  Work place access involves the climbing of ladders and sometimes the need to enter cramped machinery spaces. As with any heavy machinery environment awareness of risk and the ability to work with only minimal supervision is essential.

Sample Tasks:
To dismantle, repair and rebuild machinery according to a regular maintenance programme.
To undertake cleaning, painting and polishing! of historic machinery.
To keep up to date with any relevant training.
To keep the Chief Engineer informed of any issues that arise, especially Health and Safety issues.
Other tasks as agreed with the Designated Team Leader

Health and Safety: Your own safety and that of those around you is paramount. Safety equipment is provided according to the task in hand (hard hats, goggles, hearing protection etc.). However, you are responsible for providing your own working gear (boiler suits, protective footwear, gloves etc).

Passenger Care and Hospitality Volunteer

The role of the Passenger Care and Hospitality volunteer is to help with safety, security and all of the tasks involved in providing (mainly) alongside events whilst the ship is in port. During the summer months the PC&H volunteers have the opportunity to train and sail as Pursers, looking after the passengers as they board, during the sailing and in the case of an emergency. 

Passenger Care and Hospitality Volunteer

Name of Role:   Passenger Care and Hospitality Volunteer

Description of Role:  Shieldhall is a historic steamship maintained entirely by volunteer effort. During the summer months the ship cruises the Solent and South Coast where passenger management is primarily the responsibility of the Purser team. However, throughout the year the ship is open for visits and functions alongside the quay in Southampton. The role of the Passenger Care and Hospitality volunteer is to help with safety, security and all of the tasks involved in providing (mainly) alongside events so that passengers/visitors have an enjoyable experience of the ship whilst their safety and the security of the vessel are maintained.

Reporting to:   Chief Steward   

Work Environment:  This role will be undertaken in the unique environment of a passenger carrying coastal vessel built more than 50 years ago. The safety and comfort of passengers is paramount to our operation. The role is not dissimilar to that of a hotel or restaurant customer security/steward but with the added complexity and risk awareness of providing the service on a ship moored alongside the quay.

Physical Demands:  Work place access will involve some climbing of gangway and companionways, work on an open deck, in the galley or shop. Awareness of risk and the ability to work with only minimal supervision is essential.

Sample Tasks:
To assist with setting up for functions.
To ensure safe access to the ship and gangway management of “invited” guests only.
To assist with passenger/visitor management on board.
To support and assist catering and bar staff and help with clearing up and tidiness of the vessel.
To keep up to date with any relevant training.
To keep the Department Head informed of any issues that arise, especially Health and Safety issues.
Other tasks as agreed with the Designated Team Leader

Health and Safety: Your own safety and that of those around you is paramount. Safety equipment is provided according to the task in hand, however, you are responsible for providing your own working gear. 

Purser

 The role of the Purser is to ensure the safety and security of passengers on board to respond to passenger queries and ensure that our passengers have an enjoyable experience.

Purser

Name of Role:   Purser

Description of Role:  Shieldhall is a historic steamship maintained entirely by volunteer effort. During the summer months the ship cruises the Solent and South Coast where passenger management is primarily the responsibility of the Purser team. The role of the Purser is to ensure the safety and security of passengers on board to respond to passenger queries and ensure that our passengers have an enjoyable experience.

Reporting to:   Chief Purser       

Work Environment:  This role will be undertaken in the unique setting of a passenger carrying coastal vessel built more than 50 years ago. The safety and comfort of passengers is paramount to our operation. The Purser is the customer facing representative of the Society and must be able to deal with the challenges presented when managing large groups of people in an enclosed environment.

Physical Demands:  Work place access will involve some climbing of gangway and companionways, work in both the Pursers Office and on an open deck. Good customer focussed skills, an awareness of risk and the ability to work with only minimal supervision is essential.

Sample Tasks:
To assist with the preparation of the ship for sailings with particular emphasis on a tidy and well stocked reception area and clean sanitary facilities in advance of passenger boarding
To check availability of lifejackets to meet passenger numbers and assist in safety equipment demonstrations where required.
To ensure safe access to the ship and gangway management, reporting numbers boarded to the bridge prior to sailing
To assist with passenger/visitor management on board.
To take a lead role in passenger management and evacuation in case of emergency.
To keep up to date with any relevant training.
To keep the Department Head informed of any issues that arise, especially Health and Safety issues.
Other tasks as agreed with the Designated Team Leader

Health and Safety: Your own safety and that of those around you is paramount. Safety equipment is provided according to the task in hand, however, you are responsible for providing your own working gear. 

Sailing Crew Volunteer

Sailing crew are generally drawn from our regular deck and engine room maintenance volunteers. There are a variety of roles, including helmsman, deckhand, engine room team, pursers and caterers.
We even have The Shieldhall Shop on board requiring helpers during the season

Sailing Crew Volunteer

Name of Role: Sailing Crew Volunteer

Description of Role:  Shieldhall is a historic steamship maintained entirely by volunteer effort. During the winter months the ship is laid up at her berth in Southampton where maintenance work is undertaken to prepare the ship for her sailing season. Sailing crew members are drawn primarily from those who have maintained the ship throughout the winter but may be supplemented by additional crew, provided they have attended appropriate training and/or hold certificates of competence relevant to the role they are undertaking.

Reporting to:  Department Head (Master, Chief Engineer, Bosun, Chief Purser, Catering Manager, Shop Manager)    

Work Environment:  You must expect to work in the busy but disciplined environment of a passenger carrying coastal vessel built more than 50 years ago. The safety and comfort of passengers is paramount to our operation. Most sailings are at the weekend although some weekday sailings and time away from the home port of Southampton do feature in the sailing programme.

Physical Demands:  Work place access will involve some climbing of gangway and companionways, work on an open deck or within engine rooms, galley or shop. Awareness of risk and the ability to work with only minimal supervision is essential.

Sample Tasks:
To work with mooring ropes and deck machinery.
To stand a watch as lookout or helmsman under direction as part of the deck crew.

To work in the engine room and boiler room as engineer or fireman.
To assist the Chief Purser with passenger management, offering guidance and support that will enable our passengers to benefit fully from the “Shieldhall Experience”.
To take a lead role in passenger safety with a full awareness of emergency procedures.

To assist in the galley, saloon or shop on sailing days or other times when the ship is open to the public.
To keep up to date with any relevant training.
To keep the Department Head informed of any issues that arise, especially Health and Safety issues.
Other tasks as agreed with the Designated Team Leader

Health and Safety: Your own safety and that of those around you is paramount. Safety equipment is provided according to the task in hand (hard hats, goggles, hearing protection etc.). However, you are responsible for providing your own working gear (boiler suits, protective footwear, gloves etc).

Learning Volunteer/Ship’s Guide

The aim is to develop activities that capture the imagination of visitors on board the ship and via the website. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to help families have fun aboard and learn about maritime matters - and a good way of getting involved with maritime and heritage education. Some L&P volunteers will be trained to provide guided tours of the ship.

Learning Volunteer/Ship’s Guide

Name of Role: Learning Volunteer/Ship’s Guide

Description of Role:  Shieldhall is a historic steamship open to members of the public.  Learning volunteers will help increase visitors’ knowledge and understanding  by supporting the project team to deliver and evaluate a broad range of learning activities to capture the imagination of visitors on board the ship and via the organisations’ websites. The activities will help to add to visitors’ learning and enjoyment. Those interested in becoming  ship guides will host visitors singly or in groups on conducted tours of the ship.

Reporting to:                    Volunteer Coordinator for SS Shieldhall,  Rosie Jacob   
Learning and Participation Consultants (Helen Horler, Bryony Miles & Julia Hill)

Work Environment:  You must expect to work in the busy and sometimes cramped environment of a working steam ship. When not “in steam” the ship reflects seasonal temperature variations.

Physical Demands:  Work place access involves the climbing of gangway and companionways  and sometimes the need to enter cramped spaces.

Sample Tasks:
Some volunteers may prefer to focus on either supporting activities or on developing resources.  It is not expected that all learning volunteers will cover both areas.  This will be discussed and agreed in advance.

Supporting activities

Deliver and /or support learning activities on board or off site in a variety of settings.
Undertake the physical setting up or packing down of sessions and help with housekeeping duties.
Help prepare materials and learning resources for sessions.
Engage positively with visitors and provide informed guided tours of the ship.
Help with the publicity of learning events.
Support evaluation work, including data collection.

Developing Resources

Support the development of learning resources, including those designed for online access.
Undertake relevant research to enable the development of accurate and engaging resources.
Source resources and materials for activities where appropriate e.g. materials for a workshop or web-links for online resources.

Keep up to date with developments through newsletters and other communications.

Health and Safety: Your own safety and that of those around you is paramount. Safety equipment is provided according to the task in hand (hard hats, goggles, hearing protection etc.). However, you are responsible for providing your own working gear (boiler suits, protective footwear, gloves etc).

Shore Crew/Rope Handler

Not everyone has sea legs and there is plenty to be done on shore from shore gang rope handling to parking assistance and passenger reception.

Shore Crew/Rope Handler

Name of Role: Shore Crew/Rope Handler

Description of Role:  Shieldhall is a historic steamship maintained entirely by volunteer effort. During the winter months the ship is laid up at her berth in Southampton where maintenance work (skilled and unskilled) is undertaken to prepare the ship for her sailing season. Sailing crew, shore crew and rope handlers are drawn primarily from those who have maintained the ship throughout the winter but during a busy sailing season there is often a need to find volunteers willing to stay ashore and assist with unmooring and mooring the vessel and to help with passenger logistics.

Reporting to:  Ship’s Bosun.

Work Environment:  You will be part of the support team helping to ensure the smooth operation of this historic passenger carrying coastal vessel. The safety and comfort of passengers is paramount to our operation. Most sailings are at the weekend although some weekday sailings and sailings away from the home port of Southampton do feature in the sailing programme.

Physical Demands:  This is a shore based role so no need for “sea legs”. However, mooring ropes are heavy and the weather can be changeable even during a British summer. Awareness of risk and the ability to work with only minimal supervision is essential.

Sample Tasks:
To assist with passenger logistics, directing safe parking, guiding passengers on the quayside and assisting with check in procedures.
To help with the unmooring and mooring of Shieldhall at the beginning and end of each sailing.
To keep up to date with any relevant training.
To keep the Department Head informed of any issues that arise, especially Health and Safety issues.
Other tasks as agreed with the Designated Team Leader

Health and Safety: Your own safety and that of those around you is paramount. Safety equipment is provided including lifejackets which must be worn whenever you are working quayside. You are responsible for providing your own all weather working gear.

Volunteer Enquiry Form

For further detail on all of the above opportunities, we invite you to contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator. To make contact and express an interest, please complete the Volunteer Enquiry Form online by clicking below.

Click here to enquire online

Alternatively you can download a copy of the "Volunteer Enquiry Form" and email/post it to the address on the form.

Rosie Jacob, our volunteer co-ordinator can be contacted on 07784 735975.