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Vacancy for an Outreach and Interpretation Officer - Post Now Filled

Please note that this postion has now been filled. Job details are as follows:

We are currently seeking an Outreach and Interpretation Officer to work on our Canadian Pacific locomotive project for a 4 year Fixed Term Contract.

The Mid-Hants Railway (MHR) is embarking on a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).  This project entitled, CanPac – Engineering a Future from the Past involves the restoration of the oldest surviving Merchant Navy Class steam engine ‘Canadian Pacific’ and two rare wooden framed carriages of the same era. The project will provide opportunities for training young engineers, invest in volunteer skills and in product developments to enhance the MHR visitor experience. We are seeking an experienced Outreach and Interpretation Officer (OITO) to join the project team.

Overall Purpose of Post:

Reporting to the Project Supervisor (PS), the OITO is a key post in the Canadian Pacific project. The post holder will be responsible for the refinement and delivery (within budget and on time) of the outreach and interpretation elements of the project plan.

A successful candidate will be able to demonstrate that they can engage a wide cross section of groups and individuals, many of whom may not usually visit or volunteer on the Watercress Line and to enthuse them and so creating greater participation and engagement in this heritage railway.  The OITO will create new networks and partnerships with a variety of organisations and communities to deliver the project goals.  The project looks to pass on the traditional skills, engineering expertise and an appreciation of heritage traction to new audiences and the OITO will be working on the ground to make that happen.


Canadian Pacific is a large, powerful steam locomotive built to haul heavy loads at high speeds.  It would have hauled heavy express trains from London to the south coast, including holiday destinations or to onward routes by sea.  Built and rebuilt in Eastleigh, it comes from an age of remarkable engineering skill and ingenuity, two things that are still required to both operate this machine and restore it and the two carriages to working order.  Many of these stories are yet to be told and come from a wide diversity of men and women including those who would have travelled behind the locomotive and those who drove and maintained it.  Not only this, but the story of this project that will involve a large number of volunteers, apprentices and young people will need to be told.

Key attributes:

The OITO’s task will be to make the stories come to life by use of interpretation materials, through the website, social media links etc. and by a series of PR and marketing initiatives.  The stories will be brought to people to increase engagement, create new interest and generate greater visitor numbers to the Watercress Line.

The OITO must be an enthusiastic and creative person who is an excellent communicator and can work to deadlines.  They must be a “people” person with excellent communication skills and be capable of creating new networks.  A lateral thinker, the OITO will be able to find, record and draw upon a wide range of media and present it in engaging ways through various means of interpretation.  Increasingly over the course of the job contract, the OITO will both attend and run events with the wider team.

Interpretation outputs include:

  • Managing an oral history project to capture railway memories of Canadian Pacific period to provide resources to support interpretation and learning.
  • Setting up new volunteer interpreters including guides and young explainers.
  • Organising and implementing a series of talks and tours at a variety of locations including Alresford, Ropley and Eastleigh.
  • Creating a range of interactive learning resources to be used in various mediums, likely to include video, audio, photographs and display boards.

We expect the OITO to be:

  • Educated to either degree Level or have equivalent workplace experience.
  • Experienced in working on projects in a related field or associated environment.
  • Understanding of the importance of STEM subjects in education contexts today.
  • Experienced in implementing interpretative, communications or associated development projects.
  • Experienced in developing interpretative media from concept to installation.
  • Well organised, able to multi-task and to maintain progress on a range of activities, potentially in different locations at any one time.
  • A self-starter able to develop their own networks and contacts.
  • An effective communicator with verbal and written skills – including copywriting.
  • Strong and confident in their presentational skills and be able to present to a variety of formal and informal audiences.
  • An  active user of social media with knowledge of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Confident in the use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access.

Terms and Conditions:

Type of Employment: 4 year Fixed Term Contract.

Start Date: 1st October 2015 (earlier if possible).

Hours of Work: 40 hrs per week.

Salary: £18,000 - £20,000 (depending on experience).

Reports to: Project Supervisor.

Based at: Ropley.

Interviews: 8th September 2015.

Applications, enclosing a CV, should be made in writing to Mr Dave Deane at Mid Hants Railway Ltd, Alresford Station, Alresford SO24 9JG, to arrive by 26th August 2015 or send by e-mail to canpac@watercressline.co.uk. The full job description can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.