Q: How old do I have to be to volunteer?
A: The minimum age for almost all of our volunteer roles is 18, which is set by Zoo Policy and unfortunately has no flexibility. The only roles with a lower age requirement are our Keeper Volunteer roles (with the exception of mammals) which have a minimum age requirement of 16.
Q: Do you have any vacancies at the moment?
A: We cannot provide specific advice as to what vacancies we currently have so please apply for the role/s in which you’re interested.
However, please bear in mind that some roles (e.g. Engagement Volunteer) require many more volunteers than others (e.g. Keeper Volunteers). If you just want to help out, we recommend that you opt for this role as we are more likely to be recruiting. We try and advertise which Engagement Volunteer shifts we are looking to fill to make it as easy as possible for potential volunteers to get involved.
Q: Do I need qualifications to become a volunteer?
A: For most roles, qualifications aren’t necessary. However, we may look for evidence in your application that you have the approach and interests that will make you suited to the role. Please read the role profile carefully to ensure you demonstrate these in your application.
Q: If I volunteer will this lead to a job at the Zoo?
A: Volunteering at Bristol Zoological Society will not guarantee you a job. However, the experience gained through volunteering will help when it comes to applying for jobs and for interviews.
Q: How long do I need to volunteer for?
A: On some sections, particularly animal sections, it can take a while for volunteers to complete the training necessary to feel confident in the role. We therefore ask that volunteers can commit to at least 6 months for Keeper Volunteer roles.
As the organisation is currently experiencing some changes, some volunteering opportunities may be short term (6 months or less).
Q: How will the closure of Bristol Zoo Gardens affect my volunteering?
A: Some volunteering opportunities will be short term (6 months or under) in 2022 for new volunteers. This will be made clear on the role profile, during the recruitment, and in the induction.
Q: Do you pay travel expenses?
Q: Do you have anywhere for me to stay when I volunteer?
A: We cannot provide accommodation or expenses for accommodation.
Q: I work shifts. Can I volunteer on different days each week?
A: For most roles, this isn’t possible as we use a rota system. Some roles are more flexible, however. Please read the role profile to find out which roles will suit you.
Q: I am interested in more than one section; can I volunteer as an (for example) Engagement Volunteer and Mammals Keeper Volunteer?
A: It is possible to volunteer on two sections but you will need to state this on your application form so we know that you would like to commit more than one day a week to the zoo.
Q: Once I start my volunteering with a section, can I then move to another section?
A: We try to keep our application process as fair and unbiased as possible and so we do ask that current volunteers go through the same application process for roles as everyone else. Therefore, it may be possible to change roles but you would have the same chance at getting a new role as anyone else who applies.
Q: I am currently unable to commit to volunteering but I will be available to volunteer in the future, when should I apply?
A: Please only apply for volunteer roles up to one month before you are available to volunteer. Please bear in mind that some of our roles are short term (6 months) and therefore have a fixed end date.
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