David Mould is a senior hydrologist with our water management team in Hatton. He leads his team’s volunteer engagement, encouraging and assisting colleagues as well as managing volunteers himself.
Our water-management team are a vital link in all that we do to breathe new life in waterways. They are able to achieve even more with the help of their well-trained and highly valued volunteers. Read more from David:
"We always need to be open to new ideas and suggestions. This allows our volunteers to have some ownership of their work too." David Mould
Our volunteers get involved with a wide range of tasks and work closely with the hydrology team in all aspects of our work. Volunteers have produced maps to explain water supply at different locations, they’ve built water resource management models, assessed our infrastructure and helped out in the field. One of our volunteers has been working on some very detailed data-processing for a complex data migration project. This uses information that underpins all of our decision-making, so it’s a great way to learn about what we do.
I volunteer myself outside of work. I’m a Scouting leader and have two sons currently in the Cubs. The positive impact that Scouting makes on young people’s lives is massive. I also volunteer organising a local beer festival which is great fun.
I currently have one volunteer reporting directly to me, he’s well-established in the role and can work autonomously most of the time. I have a great friendship with John, and I’ve learned a lot from him technically too. Thanks to my oversight role I get to know all of the team’s volunteers pretty well, which is a privilege. I also track the hourly contribution that volunteers make to our team. This adds up to a substantial figure every year.
Flexibility is key. We never know who is going to volunteer to get involved with a project, what additional skills they may bring and which direction the project may go in. We always need to be open to new ideas and suggestions. This allows the volunteers to have some ownership of their work too.
My primary piece of advice would be to have confidence in making difficult decisions during recruitment. Getting the right volunteer for the role is really important, so be prepared to say ‘no’ if that person might be better suited to another role or a different team. That’s not easy when people are offering their time for free, but it’s not going to benefit anyone if the match isn’t right.
Working with volunteers requires an up-front investment of time, but in most instances our experience is that this cost is outweighed many times over by the benefits and contribution that volunteers make. I recruited our first volunteer in September 2013, and volunteers have supplemented our team’s resources ever since.
Last date edited: 5 October 2017