12-week nature conservation traineeship

Living, Learning, Working for Wildlife

Spend 12 weeks with us and leave with the skills you need for a career working in nature.

Accessing employment in conservation is tough. Higher education often struggles to provide the practical skills that employers demand. Our mission is to fill this skills gap.

Ambios offers a comprehensive residential training programme based on 130 acres of conservation farmland on the banks of South Devon’s River Dart. Over three months you’ll be immersed in education and learning experiences that will allow you to build the skills you need to move ahead with your career in nature conservation. We do this living and working as a community, farming the land while being committed to its ecological recovery.

This unique formula really works – as proven by our alumni who have a successful track record of moving into jobs within the conservation sector in the UK.

Key Facts

Lower Sharpham Farm, Ashprington, Totnes. TQ9 7DX.

We run 3 residentials a year in Spring, Summer and Autumn. Eight places are available in each cohort. All accommodation, food and tuition is provided throughout the 12-week course.

Ambios are a team of professional scientists, land managers and nature conservation educators with a 30 year track record. We have a range of skills that will support your placement, train you and enhance your learning experience by working alongside you to run the farm and share our knowledge.

Spring 2023: 20th March – 9th June
Summer 2023: 26th June – 15th September
Autumn 2023: 2nd October – 22nd December

Residential training is perfect for:

Recent graduates needing practical skills to kick start their career
Someone considering a change of career into the conservation sector
Anyone looking for a unique experience immersed in the natural world

We operate an open recruitment policy and welcome applications from all.

Course content

Our immersive programme is rich and diverse.  

Here among the stunning Sharpham Estate and right across the South Devon landscape, you’ll discover a rare chance to gain hands-on conservation experience through immersive, experiential learning.  

You’ll be gaining practical experience and teaching from our team of wildlife professionals who have years of expertise.  By the end you’ll have the foundation required for a career in nature conservation – and an insight into the reality of working in our sector.

During the 12 weeks we’ll cover a huge range of topics which include:

which cover personal development skills as well as wildlife observation and identification, land management techniques and career advice

from bats, butterflies and birds to mammals, earthworms, and reptiles – not forgetting soil, grasslands, hedgerows, scrub and vegetation

including hedge laying, fencing, livestock and woodland management and woodworking

 connecting you with charities, schools, events and rewilding projects

put you in new environments to learn specific techniques

bring in other experts to share knowledge and skills

The residential experience

An important part of Ambios residential training is the community we forge together.  You will be living and working alongside our 12-week nature conservation trainees, staff, and volunteers.

The residential aspect of our course is integral to the experience you’ll gain.  Through their time with us, many past trainees have reported a sense of renewal, inspiration, hope and confidence.  Working with Ambios is more than an education – this extended period away from day-to-day life allows clarity of mind and trainees often find a new confidence in their direction.

The farm lends itself well to providing both privacy – through individual rooms and 130 acres of countryside – and community.  The first week is dedicated to activities which help foster a sense of teamwork and rotas are established early on to divide up tasks and provide opportunities to get to know people better.

You’ll be staying in our Bunkhouse, which has 12 single bedrooms, three bathrooms and enjoying use of our new dayroom which has a shared kitchen with a large, comfortable living area and woodburner.  It’s part of our working farm, and sits among the trees with spectacular views to the River Dart and idyllic surrounding countryside.

Meals are prepared communally with all ingredients provided, using local, organic produce where possible, some directly from the farm.  Free wifi is available within the training spaces.

You’ll be living with a motivated and enthusiastic small team of volunteers who help with the running of the farm and who also have personal experience and skills to share.

How to apply

We look forward to receiving your application for one of our up-coming residential courses.  If you’re ready to go, follow the four steps below.  If you have further questions please contact us using the form below.

  1. Complete the application form by clicking the button below.
  2. Email farm@ambios.net to let us know you have applied.
  3. We will get in touch to schedule an informal phone call.
  4. If we feel the course is a good fit for you, we’ll offer you a place and you then secure your place by paying a £150 non-refundable deposit.

*If you are applying for the limited-time summer graduate offer please complete the application form below and include a response to question 8. 

Fees and making payment

The cost of the course is £3450 (minus the £150 non-refundable deposit). This is a full-board, residential training course, inclusive of accommodation, food, training, and field trips.

Payment is taken in 3 instalments:

  • A pre-placement PayPal deposit payment of £150 to secure your place on the course (non-refundable)
  • A pre-placement payment of £1650 invoiced 6 weeks prior to the course start date *
  • A second payment of £1650 invoiced 6 weeks into the course

*Total remaining balance can be paid in full if preferred

Find our Cancellation Policy here


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