Work for us

Exciting and flexible employment opportunities, excellent employee benefits, a rich creative heritage and beautiful surroundings make West Dean an inspiring place to work. If you feel you meet the person specification for any of our vacancies, we would love to hear from you.

Please note that we always endeavour to contact each candidate directly. Occasionally, due to volume of applicants, we are unable to respond to each unsuccessful candidate before the interview date. Speculative applications will be held for six months and candidates notified of any suitable vacancies.

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Current Vacancies

To apply for any of the roles below, please download the pdf job pack at the end of this page. Contact details for each role are included in the pack.

The Edward James Foundation is committed to treating all employees and job applicants fairly and equally, regardless of any characteristic, but particularly any deemed a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

Current vacancies:


As an employee you can expect to enjoy a wide range of benefits:

  • Annual leave - 25 days plus 8 bank holidays per annum, 28 days plus 8 bank holidays per annum for managers and above.
  • Generous contributory pension scheme, matching from 1% to 7.5%
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Childcare Vouchers (save up to £933 per year on the cost of childcare)
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Free entry to West Dean Gardens
  • Complimentary staff access to events
  • Discounts on retail goods in our two shops
  • Free and discounted places on short courses at West Dean College
  • Free use of West Dean College facilities including swimming pool, library and tennis courts
  • Subsidised meals
  • Subsidised bed and breakfast rates
  • Discounts on event hire and food and beverage charges


West Dean works closely with the University of Chichester to provide paid internships to their degree students through the Graduate On Scheme. Occasionally we may also offer paid internships outside this scheme and these vacancies will be advertised on our website when available. If you have skills you feel would be beneficial to West Dean and you would like to gain experience with us we have many volunteer opportunities as described below.

Volunteer for us

Join our committed and diverse team of volunteers, meet new people, use your expertise and make a difference. You can volunteer in the Gardens, Conservation, Visual Arts, HR, IT, Marketing, Fundraising teams and more. If you feel your skills could be put to good use at West Dean, please get in touch.

Volunteers usually work between 3 and 8 hours a week and take on a variety of activities.

  • A dedicated gardens volunteering team help ensure all the gardening tasks are completed on time.
  • Administrative volunteers help with a range of activities including getting involved with communication work or helping the development office with Friends membership.
  • House volunteers help care for our collection of historic objects.

If you are interested in volunteering at West Dean, please detail your experiences and skills in a note to:

Alternatively you can write us at The Edward James Foundation, West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QZ.

"It is immensely satisfying to realise that I have had an input, however small, into the beauty of the garden, and I am very proud of that. It is great, too, to be a part of the friendly team, and I look forward to coming each week." Lesley Aylwin, Volunteer

Thank you to our many Volunteers from NADFAS.

Benefits of being a volunteer

As a volunteer you will learn new skills, enhance your cv and make a real difference to our work.

A day in the life


Rob Weidner, Gardens Volunteer

What do you love about volunteering at West Dean?

I really love being able to work on one of the finest gardens in the UK. West Dean is so beautiful, it's simply a joy to be here. Sometimes I look up from my work and out across the South Downs and have to pinch myself to believe that I am actually working in such a beautiful place. Helping to keep the gardens looking this way is a most rewarding experience. Volunteers play an essential role, undertaking much of the detailed work that ensures the highest standard of presentation is maintained. Visitors often provide us with compliments on the standard of presentation.

One day you might be weeding in the Spring Garden, the next day planting seedlings or harvesting produce in the Kitchen Garden. I was lucky enough to be involved in a couple of major planting programs - the chillies and the annual bedding. I was able to follow through from tiny seedlings to final display, which was very satisfying.

All the West Dean gardeners are friendly and supportive. They provide clear instruction and demonstration on how to do each job and clearly value your contribution. I also liked the fact that staff are always ready to share their horticultural knowledge, which means volunteering is an excellent learning opportunity.

As a volunteer you also get to meet lots of other 'vols' all with a common interest in gardening and gardens. It makes the work fun!

What would a typical day look like for a gardens volunteer?

I'm a full-time volunteer. My day starts at 7:30am with a short team meeting with the Gardens Manager and allocation of tasks by the Gardens Supervisor. I take the glasshouse temperatures and weather readings and tidy up the plant sales area.

I am then allocated one of a number of jobs ranging from sowing seeds to pricking out seedlings and potting up. Lunch is at 12 and usually involves interesting chat among staff about what we have been doing - another learning opportunity!

Later, I might be paired up with one of the gardeners to do weeding, trimming, edge clipping, mulch spreading, lifting and dividing, or tying in. Because the gardens are so large the afternoon tasks could mean working in the glasshouses, walled kitchen garden, herbaceous borders, the spring gardens or wild gardens. You never get bored at West Dean, that's for sure!

What would you say to someone considering coming to West Dean to Volunteer?

Do it! It's an extremely rewarding experience. You will learn heaps about plants and gardening in a supportive and friendly atmosphere. And, best of all, you will enjoy being in one of England's most beautiful gardens with the satisfaction of knowing you helped make it that way.


Rachel Pandya, Conference and events co-ordinator (weddings)

What do you love about working at West Dean?

It's a beautiful and friendly environment and I work with great people. I enjoy interacting with clients and making sure that service is delivered to the very highest standard.

My job is challenging and it is really satisfying when clients give good feedback after an event. I like the feeling that I have made a difference.

What would a typical day look like for you?

I answer enquiries and, with the rest of the team, ensure the smooth operation of all of our private events. I meet and greet guests and make sure they have everything they need. I also liaise with other departments to make sure that all goes to plan on the day.

What would you say to someone considering applying to West Dean?

It's a great place to work, with a good mix of people and potential for progression. It's especially appealing to anyone interested in the arts or with a background in working in a heritage environment.

Help preserve our future

West Dean is part of a registered charity and relies on the support of generous donors, friends, legacies to help us deliver world-class education in conservation and the creative arts and maintain our award-winning gardens.

Find out how you can help support us