Friday, May 29, 2015

Floating Keeper

About Wildwood
Opened in 1999 as a centre of excellence for the conservation of British wildlife and established as a registered charity in 2002, the Wildwood Trust is one of the South East’s leading specialists in native species conservation.

At the heart of our work is our British wildlife park, which is home to over 200 native and once native animals set in 40 acres of stunning ancient woodland. Every year we attract over 130,000 visitors who enjoy a fun day out as well as learning about the importance of our wildlife and woodlands.

As well as being a busy visitor attraction, Wildwood is also a respected conservation charity which is dedicated to saving British wildlife, and strives to protect our native species through captive breeding and reintroduction projects and to educate and inspire future generations as to the importance of protecting our British wildlife and wild spaces. Our range of pioneering conservation programmes includes  water voles, pine martens, hazel dormice, red squirrels, Konik horses, European beavers, harvest mice, and water shrews.

Wildwood has developed 3 unique skills which we will develop over the coming years.

•        The careful husbandry of Wildwood’s extensive collection of British native and once native wildlife.

•        Engaging the wider public and educating people about our relationship with wildlife, its historical context and its future conservation.

•        Develop our wildlife husbandry skills and knowledge to pioneer conservation projects that need such skills to produce balanced, semi natural ecological systems. Leading ecologists believe this to be key to the long term survival of our natural heritage.

Floating Keeper

This post is for an experienced keeper with two years employment history in a zoo or wildlife park.  

This role will suit a highly motivated, practical person who can work outdoors during all weathers doing a physically demanding job.


•        Care for our collection of British native and once native wildlife
•        Build and maintain our natural woodland animal enclosures
•        Help educate the public through talks and demonstrations about our animals
•        Help our conservation projects to promote wildlife conservation


Job Title:                Floating Keeper
Function:        Looking after the Wildwood collection and conservation projects.

Responsible to:        Head keeper and assistant head keeper

1                Principal Duties
1.1        Looking after the Wildwood collection

Your primary focus will be the care of wildwood’s unique collection of British wildlife. This will encompass food preparation, feeding and cleaning. As a Floating Keeper you will cover sections that are the primary responsibility of other Keepers on their days off.

You will be responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of these animals, monitoring health issues and improving their enclosures to provide behavioural enrichment.

You will take instruction from the Senior Keepers, working to priorities to achieve the best animal welfare within the resources we have.

1.2        Exhibit design and maintenance
You will be required to assist in the day to day maintenance of exhibits so you will use small tools and perform general DIY functions.

You will have a substantial input into exhibit design and building to provide the highest standards on animal care and efficiency of operations.

1.3        Meeting zoo legislation
You will help to keep animal records to meet all zoo legislation. You will follow all procedures on safe practice and hygiene regulations.

1.4        Internal communications
You will play a key role in the Keeper team and as such attend all staff meetings and produce any required reports. You will be expected to play a positive and helpful role in developing a happy, productive team working towards common objectives as laid out by your line manager.

1.5        Cost control
You will be required to play a role in cost control and making financial systems effective e.g. help investigate and acquire animal food from local sources who donate them.

1.6        Health and safety
You will be required to support your line manager to ensure that Wildwood’s Health and Safety arrangements are effective, consistent and well documented.

1.7        Customer care and animal talks
As a charity Wildwood’s ultimate success will depend on the value we can deliver to our members, donors and visitors. ‘Making every visitor a friend’ will be a key role for the post holder. This will include giving public animal feeds, helping organise themed weekends, helping run membership events and giving guidance for effective signage and interpretation.  Above all this will be fostering a customer focused attitude within the keeper team.

As a membership organisation Wildwood’s success will depend on our ability to recruit and retain members. This will involve instilling in your self a ‘customer focused ethos’ to actively engage visitors and recruit members through membership forms and giving advice on membership at every available opportunity.

1.8        Conservation Projects
You will be required to look after animals in our captive breeding programme and to play an active role in our conservation and contract work.

1.9        Special Projects
From time to time, with direction from the Park Manager, you will support the activities of other departments when it’s ‘all hands to the pump’.

2        Skills, Knowledge & Experience
2.1        Essential
The post-holder will be mature in outlook, confident, hard working and practical. Common sense and the ability to concentrate and prioritise on the essentials of a task will be key elements of your personality. You will need to be prepared to work through peak times in what is a seasonal business.

•        A minimum work history of two years of paid employment working with a range of relevant species, such as large hoofstock and carnivores, in a zoo or wildlife park.
•        Demonstrable understanding of animal management.
•        Experience of captive animal husbandry.
•        The ability and desire to enhance and develop your knowledge.
•        Ability to communicate effectively at all levels.
•        Must be a team player with the ability to multi-task.
•        A genuine love of British wildlife.

2.2        Desirable
Experience in these areas is desirable; you must be able to demonstrate recent practical experience in at least one:

•        Experience of captive breeding and animal care
•        Experience of practical building work and construction
•        Experience in giving public talks and demonstrations
•        Experience of conservation reintroduction projects
•        Experience of health and safety systems
•        A relevant animal qualification such as the DMZAA qualification

3        Other Considerations
1.        The post is advertised as full time.

2.        Appointment will be subject to a six month probationary period.

3.        Understanding of and sympathy with Wildwood’s role as a conservation body would be helpful.

 4.        No person shall be treated less favourably than another on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, age or disability.  As an equal opportunities employer, applicants for staff vacancies shall be short listed for interview and appointed purely on the grounds of their suitability for the post as laid out in the advertised job description.

5.        Wildwood operates a no smoking policy in the park and in its offices.

4        Employment Package
The salary band for keepers is £14,271.08 per annum. Finances permitting, salaries are updated once a year to allow for the rate of inflation.

Normal working hours are a 37.5 hour week average over the year. Normal working hours will be from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm in winter and 8.00 am to 5.00 pm in summer with a lunch break of half an hour each day. 

Due to the nature of the work you will be required to work bank holidays, weekends and some evenings. Overtime is not usually paid, but time may be taken off in lieu. The holiday allowance is 30 days a year, this includes statutory holidays.

Appointments are subject to confirmation after a six month probation period.

5        Procedure for Applicants
5.1        Applications
Application is by C.V. and must contain the following information:

•        Name, address, contact phone numbers at home and work (for discreet calls only)
•        Employment history
•        Educational history

You should include a statement of the relevant skills and experience that you believe you will bring to the job, paying careful attention to the requirements of the job outlined above.

You should give two referees to whom we can turn for a confidential reference, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer.  References will only be taken up for those candidates chosen for interview or, with regard to current employer, on offer of contract.

Applications should be sent for the attention of Jon May:

By post: Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7LQ. 

The vacancy will continue to be advertised until a sufficient number of suitable applications have been received.

5.2        Interview and Selection Procedure

Interviews and selection tests (if applicable) will be held at Wildwood Trust at Wealden Forest Park, Herne Common by arrangement during the following two weeks after the closing date for applications. The interview may involve at least two hours working alongside our keepers.

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