Keep reading foor exciting news about our Bat Licence Training Course!!!
How do I get a bat licence? I could answer it simply in three points:
- Hard work
- Long hours
With 17 species of bat to be confident about, as well as survey techniques and mitigation for all species, it’s no wonder bat class licences commonly take 2+ years to get. And that’s generally if you are working in a consultancy and getting plenty of varied experience.
In essence, there is no short cut. Although there is help out there…
What you need:
- Survey experience
- Roost visit experience
- Understanding of the ecology of all species
- Mitigation required in a wide variety of situations
- Two people to act as references to show you know all this.
It’s difficult. Fortunately, Acorn Ecology has a new course designed to help you out!
Our new Bat Licence Training Course is Launching NOW! We know how difficult it can be to get your licence and this course is designed to help. The course is aimed at ecologists who have a bit of experience in bat work, but need to round up their knowledge of ecology, surveys, sound analysis and report writing. This course covers it all. It’s spread over two weeks, one in early summer and one in autumn, along with a couple of assignments to complete in between.
You can find out more about this course on the website here, and find answers to frequently asked questions here. If you are more advanced than this, and you’re simply looking for another signatory, head over to the pages too to find out how we can help.
If you want tips on how to get experience of bat work, keep reading!
Some bat groups are more active than others. Find out about your local bat group and ask them what sort of events and training opportunities they offer. They may offer basic events, such a learning to use a bat detector, to bat box schemes where they take volunteers to help check the boxes. If you’re lucky with your bat group, you may also get the opportunity to hear expert speakers talking about their research or even get the chance to go trapping.
Remember if you are going to do any bat handling you will need to be vaccinated for rabies (needed for a Level 2 licence). Rabies (or BVLB) is very rare in bats, but it does occur and you absolutely need to be vaccinated. You can get a certificate or letter from your doctor to prove this. Many groups will ask for evidence of a vaccination or results of a titre test (this checks the level of the vaccine in your blood and whether you need a booster) within the last year or 2.
Experience at work
This is assuming you work for a consultancy. Smaller consultancies may be easier to get a variety of experiences, as you tend to get the chance to be involved in almost every project. In larger consultancies, you may do endless hours of activity or emergence surveys, but your range of experience is very small.
It’s not just about the hours, it’s about what you spend them on!
Ask your manager for experience opportunities. See if you can join a senior colleague on a roost inspection. You need enough of these to have bats in to count. Dozens of inspections of empty, bat-free lofts won’t cut it.
This is the part where I tell you that you need to volunteer and get out there. If you have read any other blogs here, you will know this is coming. Sadly, it’s a reality that you will need to put in some hours for free. Try and do this for roost inspections. Call around and ask if there are any visits coming up that you can join them on. Be helpful, offer to assist with other tasks too.
Maybe you are getting lots of survey experience at work, but you need to learn the fundamentals of ecology, breeding seasons, identification. Check out the Acorn Ecology short courses for these, if the long course is full/not for you. They will really help and it’s vital information you need to know for your licence.
So, one way or another, get out there. Seize opportunities and seek them out. Always accompany a licensed bat worker. Ask them questions. Go with them to check roosts, trees, caves. Visit monitoring sites, building sites, anywhere!
BCT produce a great document called the Training Standards. It lists the knowledge you are expected to have for each licence level. It’s really useful. The good news is that the Bat Licence Training Course from Acorn Ecology covers everything you will need to know in terms of theory. Have a look at the course and ask us about it. We look forward to hearing from you.