12 Week Nature Conservation Training Course


This 12 week nature conservation traineeship is suitable for anyone who has an interest in nature. Whether you are on a conservation pathway or are looking to broaden your horizons, this immersive programme offers practical wildlife and personal development experiences based in the gorgeous Dart valley, South Devon. There are eight places available for each cohort (three cohorts per year – Spring, Summer and Autumn). UK and International residents welcome.

2023 traineeship dates:

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

Course Content

The programme is diverse in its delivery and rich in opportunities. Our conservation farm and rewilding project is a unique chance to gain hands-on conservation experience supported by our team of wildlife professionals. Biodiversity monitoring and applied land management are central elements of the programme, building your field skills and your confidence in understanding the ecology of the countryside and the work required to secure its future. We have identified the most common key skills that conservation employers need, with regular short courses and workshops throughout the 12 weeks focusing on these important areas. Plant identification, Quantum GIS, and a range of industry standard wildlife survey protocols such as Phase1 habitat survey are some examples. We will give you a solid understanding of UK conservation approaches and emphasise forward looking strategies including landscape scale ecological restoration (rewidling) and integrated land management. In addition, we will support you in your development of important transferable skills, such as project management and effective public communication throughout your time. You will also have the chance to connect with our network of organisations, which will be invaluable as you develop your career into the future.

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


Whether you’re looking to broaden your horizons, or you are focused on your career path and you need specific experience, this training is for you. Conservation employers have identified a ‘skills gap’ where students coming out of university lack the skills needed by prospective employees. These include key areas of expertise such as competent wildlife id and survey skills, and broader transferable abilities such as effective team working and project management. The course not only bridges these gaps by providing trainees with the experience they need, but it is also a refreshing antidote to university academia. You will be joining an inspired team of people who are practically engaged in improving their local environment and are having an outward positive social effect. Through their time here many past trainees have reported a sense of renewal, inspiration, hope, confidence and direction in what is an uncertain future for all of us. These are perhaps the most important qualities of any prospective employee.

Who is the training for?

We operate an open recruitment and welcome applications from anyone. The benefits to those already on a conservation career path are clear. Our experience also however tells us that career changers who are looking for a way into the nature conservation sector, or those who are inspired by the natural world and want to broaden their horizons also benefit greatly from these placements. Whether you are aiming to be the next director of a wildlife NGO, a teacher, support worker, countryside ranger or researcher, tree surgeon, biologist, consultant or historic site manager, this experience will set you on your way.


“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”

Who is delivering the work-based training?

Ambios are a team of professional conservationists and nature conservation educators with a track record dating back to the 1980s. Ambios itself is over 20 years old.  We have extensive experience of working alongside volunteers and trainees and sharing knowledge and enthusiasm for conservation and the farm itself.  Our range of skills will support you on this course, train you and enable shared learning experiences. You will spend most of your time at the farm with timetabled days for specific field trips 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 bunkhouse where you will share your living space and eat food from the local area, creating an absorbing placement where your time will be full.


“I woke to the sound of birdsong and sunshine. My bedroom was in a large barn and was cosy warm to welcome me, a lovely fire burned in the large bright communal room and book shelves laden with books on everything from birds to anthropology made me feel very pleased to have arrived in this idyllic spot”

Our ‘bunkhouse’ 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 made from local produce (direct from our farm where possible) with special dietary requirements catered for on request.


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

How to apply

We are now taking applications for our 2023 placements.

To apply:

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

2. We will get in touch to schedule an informal phone call.

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

If you have any further questions, please fill out the contact form below. We may also send you updates from time to time about our other Ambios courses. You can opt out of this service at any time by emailing info@ambios.net.


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

    Ambios Ltd are committed to protecting your personal data and working in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation. Will will never sell your data to anyone. Your data will be used for contacting you about Ambios courses and training opportunities. You may opt out at any time with an email to info@ambios.net with Opt Out in the subject line.

    Fees and Making Payment

    The 2023 cost of the course is £3450. This is a full board residential training course, inclusive of accommodation, food, training and field trips.

    Once Ambios has accepted your application for the Nature Conservation Training Course, you will need to make a small, non-refundable deposit payment of £150 to secure your space.

    Payment is taken in three stages: non-refundable pre-placement deposit to secure your place(£150), mid-placement (£1650) and on completion (£1650).


    Funding and Placements

    UK Residents

    We are delighted to be able to offer a limited number of fully-funded bursary places on our 12 week training course each year. The bursary placements are eligible to UK residents with significant barriers to attending the course – this may relate to, but is not limited to; financial hardship (eg unemployed, in receipt of benefits, low wage etc), health and wellbeing barriers, ethnic background barriers etc.  This bursary is available thanks to National Lottery Heritage funding, as part of Sharpham Trust’s Wild For People project.

    Bursary applications for 2022 courses are now closed.

    For more information on our bursary places click here.