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Nov 28, 2011

Zoo and Environment Skills Training (ZEST)


Zoo and Environment Skills Training (ZEST)

The RZSS ZEST programme aims to allow vocational students aged 15-17 to take part in a work experience programme and gain a recognized SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) qualification. They undertake a week of work in October, plus 4-5 additional work experience days throughout the months of November through to March. We offer students placements with the keepers, marketing, development, gardens, education, and visitor services teams at Edinburgh Zoo and the animals and education departments at the Highland Wildlife Park.

Throughout the 8 month course they acquire skills in writing CVs, and handling interviews. They also develop their abilities in task management, team working and problem solving.

The ZEST programme has been created to be more than a work experience scheme. The students learn about the role of modern zoos and about environmental issues such as sustainability of natural resources. They also gain an appreciation for British wildlife by taking part in workshops that promote native fauna.

The course is run in partnership with Scottish schools. Collectively we deliver and assess two SQA qualifications. The schools work with the students to achieve an Employability award and the RZSS assesses two units of the Personal Development award. These qualifications were chosen to specifically to support the aims of the course.

The RZSS ZEST programme aims to allow vocational students aged 15-17 to take part in a work experience programme and gain a recognized SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) qualification. They undertake a week of work in October, plus 4-5 additional work experience days throughout the months of November through to March. We offer students placements with the keepers, marketing, development, gardens, education, and visitor services teams at Edinburgh Zoo and the animals and education departments at the Highland Wildlife Park.

Throughout the 8 month course they acquire skills in writing CVs, and handling interviews. They also develop their abilities in task management, team working and problem solving.

The ZEST programme has been created to be more than a work experience scheme. The students learn about the role of modern zoos and about environmental issues such as sustainability of natural resources. They also gain an appreciation for British wildlife by taking part in workshops that promote native fauna.

The course is run in partnership with Scottish schools. Collectively we deliver and assess two SQA qualifications. The schools work with the students to achieve an Employability award and the RZSS assesses two units of the Personal Development award. These qualifications were chosen to specifically to support the aims of the course.

Overall, ZEST is an innovative initiative which has produced quantifiable benefits to 26 students already and is a project that we will continue and expand in future years.


RZSS - Edinburgh Zoo

COMMENDATION received in BIAZA Awards 2011 for Best education project:  schools and educational institutions



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