Glastonbury Abbey

12 Week Nature Conservation Experience

The Ambios 12-week nature conservation experience at Glastonbury Abbey provides you with the foundation skills required for a career in nature conservation along with a comprehensive insight into working in the sector.

Glastonbury Abbey is Grade 1 listed* and a scheduled ancient monument.  This means that it is recognized as being of national importance and is therefore protected against unauthorized change.  The Abbey’s history dates to the 7th century and is linked to the tradition of King Arthur. Your time at Glastonbury will be a unique opportunity to learn about the relationship between the conservation of both wildlife and historic buildings and practice the public communication and team-working skills which are highly valued by employers.

You will work towards an Europass Certificate Supplement based on a Unit from the UK Diploma in Work-based Environmental Conservation, gaining practical skills in managing land for, and surveying, wildlife, as well as management of the historic built environment. This 12 -week placement provides you with training based at the Abbey in the middle of the historic town of Glastonbury.  From here, you have access to the landscape or the county of Somerset and can begin to better understand the unique habitats and conservation pressures facing both our native flora and fauna and historic sites.  Alongside practical site work, trainees also focus on one of our projects, with the option to look at either; spatial and temporal use of the abbey grounds by bat populations or wildlife surveys using trail cameras for public engagement.


2nd April – 21st June 2019 (Apply by 19th February 2019)

Live and Work

Whilst training with Glastonbury Abbey you will live with a team of motivated fellow trainees all of whom will share a keen interest in nature and wildlife and historic sites, have a good level of English language skills and have personal experiences and skills to share. You will be based in Abbey House, which is part of the Glastonbury Abbey estate. This will offer you a unique and inspirational learning environment from which to begin your career in the sector. You will share your living space and eat food from the local area, creating an absorbing placement where your time will be full.


Whether you’re looking for a learning experience to broaden your horizons, or focused on the career path you want and you need experience to get you there, this training is for you. The aim of the placement is to help you gain the skills needed for a career in the nature conservation sector. Employers have identified the skills gap in students coming out of university. They lack necessary practical management and species identification and survey skills as well as vital employability skills such as team work, project planning and negotiation skills. This training aims to tackle this issue by providing an opportunity to experience various practical tasks as well as a chance to work towards a Europass Cerrtificate Supplement (by producing a portfolio of evidence proving your competence at practical nature conservation tasks). There may be additional opportunities to gain other qualifications depending on the time of year of your placement and other resource considerations.

Community Engagement

There is a strong community element to our live-in placements. Alongside fellow trainees you will be joining a local team of volunteers tackling practical tasks at the abbey. You will be working alongside these volunteers, gaining important skills in team work, community engagement and social interactions. We recognise that education and inspiration are crucial elements of work in the nature conservation sector, and provide training and experience of working with the community throughout the placement. This work will manifest in several ways; actively supporting public engagement events; leading educational visits and (potentially) classes with local schools and groups and leading guided walks and talks around the abbey grounds.

Who is the training for?

We operate an open recruitment and welcome applications from anyone.  Our experiences suggest that graduates looking for crucial experience, career changers who are looking for a way into working in the nature conservation sector or those who are inspired by the natural world and want to broaden their horizons benefit from these placements; whether you are aiming to be the next Director of a wildlife NGO or the Environment Minister; a teacher, support worker, countryside ranger or researcher; tree surgeon, biologist, consultant or historic site manager this experience will set you on your way.

Trainee Feedback

‘These 12-weeks have been wonderful; I gained a lifelong experience and lasting knowledge about the scientific world and the personal side of life too.’

‘I learnt a lot about UK practical conservation techniques, about different and interesting species, and I also grew as a person.’

‘The language courses were FANTASTIC … Things I’ve learnt here and the people I’ve met have really changed the way I see things.’

I spent wonderful time as a participant, learnt a lot and these experiences will help me in my future work’

‘THANK YOU for the opportunity; great company, beautiful place and atmosphere.’

How does it work?

If your application is successful, you will start your placement alongside other trainees from UK and Europe at the Ambios farm. Your initial days will involve getting to know your fellow trainees. You will then relocate to Glastonbury and be fully inducted into the role, be shown the site and we will share our expectations of you and visa versa, as well as running through the important health and safety aspects of your placement. You will meet the Ambios and Glastonbury Abbey teams so that everyone is clear about the set up and your role. Your food will be sourced locally/from sustainable sources as far as possible, with day to day tasks shared amongst all trainees (cooking, washing up, drying up, cleaning, etc).  You will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment – PPE (steel toe-cap boots and gloves) for the duration of your placement.

Places Available: There are only 4 places available.

Who is delivering your work-based training?

The staff at Glastonbury Abbey have extensive experience of working alongside volunteers and trainees and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for the site.  In addition, Ambios are a team of professional scientists and nature conservation educators with a track record dating back to the 1980s. Both teams have a range of skills that will support your placement, train you and enable shared learning experiences.  You will spend most your time at the Abbey with timetabled days for specific training both at the Ambios base at Lower Sharpham Farm and at site local to Glastonbury.


Your accommodation will be on the upper floor of Abbey House which is within the grounds of the Abbey estate.  Four single bedrooms each with a hand basin are available along with a communal toilet, a bath/toilet room and a small communal living space.  Your accommodation is linked to the rest of the house by a corridor but access will be limited due to considerations around office space and events.  The accommodation is compact, comfortable and basic with its own staircase access and the House has spectacular views of the abbey ruins.  This is a secure and tranquil place for relaxing between learning sessions.  We are still working out the detail around how your meals will be provided and specific dietary requirements can be accommodated.  Meal times will be organised with shared responsibilities for collection and presentation between you and your fellow trainees and there is an expectation that you will contribute your time to any cooking and clear-up tasks.  Alcohol can only be consumed off-site and the abbey operates a responsible ‘quiet time’ policy. Free Wi-Fi is available within your accommodation space although its reliability reflects the nature of the infrastructure.

Location: Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, BA6 9EL.  The name Glastonbury is strongly associated with the festival and the abbey.  It is market town of approximately 8,000 residents with a main shopping area that reflects the mystical legends of King Arthur.

Travel and Logistics

To begin your placement you should travel to the Ambios base at Lower Sharpham Farm, Totnes, Devon TQ9 7DX.    We can collect you from Totnes Railway Station (4 miles from the farm) on your day of arrival. Alternatively, you can make your own way from the station or direct by car to TQ9 7DX. The course content and example 12-week placement can be found on the Ambios website.

Fees & How to Apply

Fees: £3000 for the 12 week placement including accommodation and food.

Application Process:

1. Please complete this application form  and return to before the 19th February 2019.

2. We’ll get in touch to schedule a Skype chat with Ambios and Glastonbury Abbey Staff.

3. If we think we’ll be a good fit for your needs, we’ll offer you a place on the traineeship and you can then pay the deposit.

If you have any other questions regarding this 12 week placement, please don’t hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)1803 732747 or email

Making Payment

Once Ambios has accepted your application for the Nature Conservation Traineeship, you can make payment using the link below. The cost of £3000 includes food and accommodation. Payments are taken in three stages – pre placement deposit, mid placement and on completion.

2019 Payment