We do run a work experience programme at the zoo aimed at providing students with an idea of zoo keeping as a career.
Please be aware, we have a very high demand for placements and book up well in advance. For this reason we unfortunately have to limit the criteria for those we take on. We take students studying at Level 3 (National Diploma, A levels) or higher for an animal-related career course. We offer block placements on week days (Mon-Fri for a minimum of two weeks) or day-release placements on a weekend day (either Sat or Sun for a minimum of 10 placement days up to a maximum of 30 placement days).
We are unable to offer any travel/accommodation or payment and the working day starts at 8am and goes through to 4/5pm depending on the season.
Do I really want this placement?
Due to the high demand for placements, we ask, out of respect for others, that you approach us for placements only if you are certain it is something you would like to experience. We realise work experience is also about finding out whether this is the career path for you. The zoo industry communicates very well and your work experience placement can play an important part in your CV – a lot of students pass through our doors during the year – we tend to remember the very good…and the very bad! If you are interested in a placement with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can check availability and send you our application form.
Is this the career for me?
The job of a zoo animal keeper is hard, physical work, in all weathers, with relatively low pay. However, for the right person with the right passion, it is a very rewarding job and an important contribution to the conservation of our natural world. There is very little contact with the animals, particularly at the start of your career and the main tasks of an animal keeper are sweeping, cleaning and preparing diets. Common sense and awareness are key both for monitoring the health and well-being of the animals in your care, and for an awareness of your surroundings for the safety of the animals, yourself and our guests.
It is important to be able to work both as a supportive team member as well as independently, to understand instructions and communicate effectively. You will benefit from a good knowledge of animals and a will to listen and learn from others with more experience. And finally, the ability to interact and engage with our guests is a very important skill to develop. To find out more about a career in zoos, there is some very good advice on the following websites: BIAZA and ABWAK.
If you are interested in a placement with our Education Department and are studying a B.Ed. or a PGCE, please email our Head of Education: Sara Goatcher at email@example.com