Lower Sharpham Farm

12 Week Nature Conservation Traineeship

A 12 week nature conservation traineeship at Lower Sharpham Farm in South Devon, ideal for final year undergraduates, Masters students or recent graduates interested in a career in nature conservation.

The Ambios nature conservation traineeship provides the foundation skills required for a career in nature conservation along with a comprehensive insight into working in the conservation sector. Trainees are based at Lower Sharpham Farm in the picturesque Dart River Valley, South Devon, where they will live and work with a team of fellow trainees as well as working with a range of conservation organizations from our extensive network.  The traineeship can count toward university credits for students. (Affiliated to a non-UK, European university? Take a look at our Erasmus+ traineeship page!

2019 traineeship dates:

  • Autumn: 1st October – 20th December

2020 traineeship dates:

  • Spring: 31st March – 19th June
  • Summer: 30th June – 18th September
  • Autumn: 29th September – 18th December

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Course Content

The exact content of the 12 week training course can vary depending on the season, however we aim to provide a solid introduction to the UK conservation sector to boost your subject knowledge and employability prospects. Placements include field trips to local conservation sites; biodiversity assessments, including practical skills in wildlife survey; techniques for the management of rural landscapes; and employability skills.  Alongside the practical work, trainees also focus on one of our applied research projects, with the option to look at either Badger (Meles meles) population/TB Vaccination Deployment, Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) foraging, spatial and temporal use of the farm by bat populations, bird survey data recording and analysis or using trail cameras for public engagement.  Data from these project can contribute to your degree modules. You’ll also get access to our rich network which will be invaluable as you start and continue your career in the nature conservation sector.

Read more about our 12 week Nature Conservation Experience and the full course content  which includes our wildlife survey and survey skills curriculum


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).

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.

ERASMUS+ Funding and Placements

The 12 week nature conservation traineeship is eligible for ERASMUS+ students. We aim to provide an introduction to the UK conservation sector.

English language skills required: basic/intermediate level. We provide excellent language support to help those who need more confidence with their language skills.

Up to 50% of ERASMUS+ funding is available.

Please contact your University ERASMUS+ office and ask about Traineeships. They can contact us at jack@ambios.net


“Things I’ve learnt here and the people I’ve met have really changed how I see things”

“It was the best 3 months of my life”

“With this placement I feel I have practical knowledge and experience which is not just a piece of paper and will help me achieve my goals”

“This traineeship was even better than I could imagine, so I only can recommend it”

“I gained a lifelong experience and lasting knowledge about the scientific part and the personal side of life too.”

“The experience will help me in my future work”

“An experience for a lifetime”

Who is delivering your work-based training?

Ambios are a team of professional scientists and nature conservation educators with a track record dating back to the 1980s. They have extensive experience of working alongside volunteers and trainees and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for conservation and the farm itself. Their range of skills will support you in your placement, train you and enable shared learning experiences. You will spend most your time at the farm with timetabled days for specific fieldtrips in Devon.

Live and Work

Whilst training at Lower Sharpham Farm you will live with a team of motivated fellow trainees all of whom will share a keen interest in nature and wildlife, have a good level of English language skills and have personal experiences and skills to share. You will be based in the cabin where you will share your living space and eat food from the local area, creating an absorbing placement where your time will be full.


Our ‘cabin’ has 8 single bedrooms with 2 toilet/shower rooms and a kitchen with a large comfortable lounge and wood stove.  This accommodation is part of our working farm, managed for biodiversity and learning.  It is comfortable and sits amongst the trees, hedgerows and spectacular views of the River Dart and is surrounded by idyllic countryside.  This is a secure and tranquil place for relaxing between learning sessions. All meals are provided from local produce (direct from our farm where possible) with special dietary requirements catered for on request. We have a Yurt and an open plan office (with free Wi-Fi) which we use as training spaces.


With an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of travel (especially by air), we are encouraging all our trainees to consider overland travel.

Take your time and plan your travel to us overland.  There are good train and bus connections within the UK from London down to Totnes.  We can pick you up from the railway station in Totnes or coach stop on the main road (A38).

In our experience, travelling long distances overland takes time. Please plan you journey to us with this in mind.  You might need to leave your home country a day or more earlier to arrive with us on the start date of our programme.

Websites for overland travel

 Sometimes personal circumstances including time pressures or health concerns means that flying is the best way to come to us.  That is fine.  We feel we need to consider our overall travel impact and so if some people can come overland we will start to reduce the overall environmental impact. Once you arrive, you’ll see we continue to actively explore, at every opportunity, different ways to reduce our environmental impact and we are making progression.  You can join in and contribute to our exploration, helping us live, learn and work for wildlife at #LowerSharphamFarm.

How to Apply

Application Process:

1. Please complete this application form  and email jackskuse@ambios.net to let him know you have applied.

2. We’ll get in touch to schedule a Skype chat.

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 below.

Please note that we allocate traineeships on a non-competitive, ‘first come first served’ basis, rather than merit. If the programme you wish to apply for is full, we’ll offer you a space on the next programme.

Application Deadlines 2019

  • Autumn programme (1st Oct – 20th Dec, 2019):  Apply by 20th August 2019

Now taking bookings for Autumn 2019 and programmes in 2020 

Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page to find more details about how you will spend your time during the traineeship.

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 info@ambios.net


Fees and Making Payment

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