Volunteering on Handa

A unique volunteering experience

With nearly 100,000 breeding seabirds (including puffins), gorgeous white sandy beaches, 120m cliffs and spectacular vistas, Handa really has something for everyone. Enjoying it for a day as a tourist is special, but to stay on Handa is an unforgettable and magical experience.

A superb team of volunteers and researchers means that there is always a friendly face and good banter at the bothy, but there are also many undisturbed, tranquil spots for relaxing amid stunning views and abundant wildlife.

There are plenty of opportunities to help on Handa, either as a volunteer for a week, or on one of up to six long term placements, lasting from two weeks to five months. 

If you’re interested in joining the Handa team, you can find more information by clicking on the tabs below, and we've produced some short videos to give you an insight into life as a volunteer on Handa.


Long-term volunteering on Handa

Placements on Handa are widely recognised as important field experience and provide excellent networking opportunities with Trust and RSPB staff, several seabird researchers and academics. Many former volunteers have gone on to paid employment on Handa and other reserves, and the majority are now employed full-time within the conservation or academic sectors.

If you are 18 or over, have good spoken English plus a good level of health and fitness, then you've passed the first test! 

If you are able to live in a bunk bed in a basic, mixed-sex bothy on a remote Scottish island and feel you have the skills and experience detailed in the role descriptions below, then we'd be keen to hear from you. 

Before you apply, please watch this video about long term volunteering on the island, and carefully read through the documents below. 

Applications are now open for the long-term placements on Handa. Applications close on 27 February 2017.

Essential info for Handa long term volunteers

Code of Conduct for Volunteers

Health and safety info for volunteers

Volunteer application form

Volunteer feedback form


Long-term volunteer role descriptions

Assistant Ranger - Spring Practical

Assistant Ranger - Summer Practical

Assistant Ranger - Skua Fieldwork

Information Assistant


Read our latest Handa newsletter

Handa newsletter

Weekly volunteering on Handa

The Scottish Wildlife Trust relies on two weekly volunteers to meet and greet all day visitors to Handa during the tourist season, providing a safe landing and vital information to the tourists. An enjoyable and fulfilling role, we welcome large numbers of new volunteers each year, and many of our weekly volunteers return every summer to lend a hand. 

Volunteering on Handa is not just for those wanting experience in conservation, either. Every year we welcome over 50 volunteers of all ages and nationalities, from all walks of life.

We ask that all applicants are over 18, have good spoken English, and have a good level of health, fitness and strength. Being able to live in a basic, mixed-sex bothy, sharing a bunk bed in the main communal room is also essential! Applications from couples or friends are welcome.

All our slots are now filled for this season. If you are really keen (and a bit flexible) we can add you to our reserve list.

Before you apply, please watch this video about weekly volunteering on the island, and carefully read through the documents below. 

Essential info for Handa weekly term volunteers

Code of Conduct for Volunteers

Health and safety info for volunteers

Volunteer application form

Volunteer feedback form


Weekly volunteers...

Long-term volunteers...

The bothy...

Memories of a volunteer...


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