12-week nature conservation course


This 12-week immersive course is suitable for anyone with an interest in nature. Whatever field of work you are in this course will be of benefit. Each industry/sector/ job has a role to play in knowing about and making informed decisions with regards to our natural world.

Our experience suggests 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 really benefit from this course.

Whether you are aiming to be the next Director of a wildlife NGO or the Environment Minister; a teacher, support worker, countryside ranger; researcher; inspired artist; tree surgeon, biologist, consultant or historic site manager this experience will set you on your way.

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 organisations from our extensive networkThe course can count toward university credits for students.  If you’re part of European university we can talk more about this at interview.

2020 traineeship dates:

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

More information on Brexit, please follow this link.

Course Content

The exact content of this 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 employment prospects. The course includes 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 Re-Wilding, badger (Meles meles) population/TB vaccination deployment, spatial and temporal use of the farm by bat populations, bird survey data recording or using trail cameras for public engagement.  Data from a 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 Course 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 course 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 who 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 will tackle this issue by providing you with an opportunity to experience various practical tasks as well as a chance to work towards a Europass Certificate 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

This 12-week nature conservation course is eligible for ERASMUS+ funding under the ‘Traineeship’ scheme.

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

Please contact your University ERASMUS+ office and ask about Traineeships. They can contact us directly via jackskuse@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. Ambios itself is over 18 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.


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. 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.

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: try

Sometimes personal circumstances including time pressures or health concerns mean that flying is the only 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

We are now taking applications for our 2020 placements. To receive an application form, please register your interest below.

We may also send you, from time to time, updates on other Ambios courses. You can email us at any time to op-out of this service.


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 this Wildlife Survey and Interpretation Skills course and may be used to make you aware of other similar offers. This data will be deleted after 12 months.


Fees and Making Payment

Once Ambios has accepted your application for the Nature Conservation Training Course, you can make payment using the link below.

2020 cost: £1100/month. This is a full board residential training course, inclusive of accommodation, food, training and field trips.

Payments are taken in three stages: pre-placement deposit, mid-placement and on completion.