In the My Kind of Job spotlight this week is Anthony McAuley, visitor experience officer at the Giant’s Causeway
What’s your job?
I am one of the visitor experience officers at the Giant’s Causeway, working as part of the team who are responsible for ensuring that our visitors have the best experience possible and make the most of everything this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer.
How did you get there?
I started working in the car park as seasonal staff. I then transferred to the visitor experience team, gaining a full-time contract and was promoted to my current roll in 2018.
Do you have a typical working day?
One of the best things about working at the Giant’s Causeway is that every day is different. My day will depend on the season, the weather, the day of the week and any events or activities happening at the site. Part of my role involves checking the paths every morning for rockfalls and landslides, leading daily walking tours, conducting litter picks so that the site is always clean and tidy, and generally maintaining the public areas. I am also always on the look out for any interesting wildlife that I can point out to visitors – there are so many amazing species that live here.
What qualifications do you have?
5 GCSE from 30 years ago.
What other skills do you need in your role?
The National Trust is Ireland’s leading conservation charity, so the most important part of our role here is protecting and promoting the environment and the diverse wildlife that call the Causeway home. We have to learn about these species, how to look after them and how we can manage the site responsibly. We use this knowledge to educate the younger generation and school pupils that visit us about the ways in which they can play a part in looking after these special places and engage with the incredible nature on our doorstep.
What’s the best thing about your job?
It is a privilege to be a part of our visitors’ adventures, family days out, and the special memories that people make at the Giant’s Causeway. People come here to enjoy the award-winning visitor centre, the unique landscape, stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, and it is amazing to be able to enhance and play a part in their experience. I love meeting visitors from all over the world and having the opportunity to show them around the site, learn something about them or hear a story they have to share!
What do you think are the greatest challenges of the job?
The site has changed a lot over the last number of years, with over a million visitors last year, and we are constantly trying to think of new and innovative ways to promote our conservation message, whilst also supporting the local community. We must always be proactive in thinking of ways we can fulfil our duty to maintain and protect these sites so that they can be enjoyed for years to come.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in your profession?
If you have a passion for wildlife and conservation and want to work somewhere truly unique and inspiring the National Trust provides a range of opportunities, not just here at the North Coast but across Northern Ireland. One thing I would say, is that there are more roles than people think. Whatever your skills and qualities are there is likely to be a position at the National Trust that is suited to you. We are currently recruiting for seasonal positions at the Giant’s Causeway so now is the perfect time to take the first step.
How do you like to relax outside work?
I love walking and exploring the countryside and coastline. There are brilliant walking trails at the Giant’s Causeway, and along the Causeway Coast. Many people simply walk down to the stones and walk back up again. They don’t make the most of the different viewpoints and stunning scenery that the site has to offer. I also work as a coastguard volunteer. It’s a tough job but an important one, and I enjoy giving something back to my local community. I am also a member of Ballycastle McQuilans hurling club. I am on the committee, and love watching my two sons play hurling.