1. Who is this course designed for?  
  2. When does the course start?  
  3. How much is it and are there easy payment options?
  4. What are the entry requirements?  
  5. What will I get from this course?    
  6. What if I don’t pass, or I can’t finish the course?  
  7. What if I have already completed some courses with Acorn Ecology?  
  8. Where will the course be held?  
  9. What equipment will I need?  
  10. How do I book onto the course?  
  11. What will I receive before the course starts?  
  12. What will I be expected to do in my own time?  
  13. Do you have a cancellation policy?  
  14. Are there any hidden or additional costs?  
  15. What will the time commitment be?  
  16. I understand that there are marked assignments. What are they and how are they marked?  
  17. What happens about accommodation and meals when I am on a course?  
  18. Who will be teaching the course?  
  19. What learning support will I get during the course?  
  20. Who will I contact if I have a problem during the course?  
  21. Why choose Acorn Ecology for my training?  
  22. Have you got any testimonials?  
  23. How will you be processing my data?

Answer: 1. Who is this course designed for?

This course offers comprehensive training and revision for people with some experience of bat work who are working towards their Level 1 Bat Licence. It is primarily aimed at people wanting to work in ecological consultancy but could be for people working in conservation too. 

We require you to have at least 50 hours of varied bat survey experience. If this sounds like you, read on!

If you don’t think you’re ready for this step yet, why not take a look at our short courses? We run a two-day bat ecology and surveying course to help get you started.

Likewise, if you have more than enough experience, but you are struggling to find a second signatory for your licence, get in touch with us to find out what other options we have to help you gain your licence.

Answer: 2. When does the course start?

There will be an initial course of 5 days which will be held on 10th to 14th June 2019 and will include the three compulsory courses – Bat Ecology, Bat Survey Techniques and Bat Sound Analysis. During this week you will also attend evening surveys and complete quizzes on each topic.

There are 3 days to attend in the autumn too, from 21st October to 23rd October. The topics covered here will include Bat and Trees, Hibernation Roosts, Mitigation and Licensing and Report Writing and Data Presentation. The exam will take place at the end of the 3 days.

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Answer: 3. How much is it and are there easy payment options?

The cost of the course is £2376. This includes the intensive courses held over 8 days, support throughout the course and support when you are completing your assignments and your viva.

Easy payment options:
If you would rather spread the payments, you can pay an initial deposit followed by 7 monthly instalments. The initial deposit is £480.00, followed by 8 monthly installments of £240.00. This totals £2400. In order to take this easy payment option a contract will need to be signed and a guarantor will be required.

If your company is paying we can arrange for a VAT invoice to be issued.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss alternative payment arrangements other than those outlined above.

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Answer: 4. What are the entry requirements?

This course is aimed at those who have already been undertaking bat work. Typically this will be while working at an ecological consultancy. There are a number of prerequisites to enrol on the course:

  • Bat Log – we will check your experience on your bat log. We want to see a range of experience and a minimum of 50 hours of bat work. This will need to increase to 100-200 hours to complete the training.
  • Personal Statement – Outlining why you want to do the course and where you currently are with your bat work.
  • Phone Interview – This will be a short conversation so the tutors can assess whether you are ready to attend the course. If not we will advise you of what to do next.

Please note that ecology work can be quite physical and a fair level of fitness is required. You should be able to walk for around 5 km on rough terrain for the field courses and also be able to carry equipment around sites. We will also be visiting sites in the evenings.

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Answer: 5. What will I get from this course?

This course is designed to get you ready for your Level 1 Bat Licence. There is an option to take an additional handling course (see below) which will give you the extra skills and experience to apply for a Level 2 Bat Licence with Natural England however that is not available yet.

We hope to provide a reference for all students on this course once we are satisfied that you have gained sufficient skills, experience and knowledge to satisfy Natural England or Natural Resources Wales for your licence application. You will need to provide a second signatory from another bat worker who you have been working with. If this is a real problem then let us know and we will see if we can help, however this is likely to incur additional costs. 

It will be down to the course tutors to assess whether you have sufficient experience and whether you have demonstrated the appropriate level of knowledge through your quizzes, assignments and exam. You will also have a viva at the end of the course with a course tutor to assess this. 

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Answer: 5. What if I don’t pass, or I can’t finish the course?

If you need to leave the course once it has already started, please see our cancellation policy.

If you are unable to complete sufficient hours for your bat log, or the required breadth of experience, please talk to your tutor as soon as possible.

If you do not pass the exam or the viva, we will be able to assess you again when you are ready for a fee. If this happens, your tutor will discuss options for you and advise you on how to proceed.

You will have 2 years from the end of the course to be finally assessed for your bat licence. 

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Answer: 6. What if I have already completed some bat courses with Acorn Ecology?

The courses we offer during the Bat Licence Training are more in depth than our introductory courses. You are required to attend all elements of the course.

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Answer: 7. Where will the course be held?

The majority of the training will take place from our head office in Exeter. There will be field trips associated with the course, which will be local to the training room.

You will be given directions to the relevant course venues and we will also provide an accommodation list with options from campsites to hotels.

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Answer: 8. What equipment will I need?

We will provide you with a full equipment list on booking. Here is an indication of what you will need:

Warm clothing for evening surveys and October surveys and sturdy boots. We will be visiting roost sites, so clothing that is comfortable and that you are happy crawling in a loft space in is essential – some people like to wear cover-alls or a boiler suit but this is not essential. For the internal surveys you will also need a hard hat, a dust mask and powerful hand torch with spare batteries.  

Other items you will find useful include a hand lens, a clipboard, paper and pens/pencils, FSC chart for bats (available in our training room), binoculars, heterodyne bat detector (optional – we have spares), head torch.

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Answer: 9. How do I book onto the course?

Please ensure you meet the booking criteria as described above in Question 3. What are the entry requirements? Complete the booking forms, including your bat log and personal statement. Send them to training@acornecology.co.uk. You will need to complete a short phone interview before your place can be confirmed. 

If you are paying in full you just need to complete a single booking form and send a payment (either via BACS, phone or cheque) to Acorn Ecology Ltd. Payment details are included on the booking form. 

If you prefer the monthly easy payment option then there will be a booking form and a standing order form, and you will also need to provide evidence of a guarantor. You can find these forms by clicking here, or by e-mailing us at training@acornecology.co.uk 

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Answer: 10. What will I receive before the course starts?

When you book on to the course you will receive a Welcome Pack that will include a reading list, an equipment and kit list, details of the assignments that you will need to complete during the course, and key dates for the course. You will also be given the links for your first online home-study course ‘Architectural Terms for Ecologists’ which is due in by the beginning of the first course week. 

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Answer: 11. What will I be expected to do in my own time?

The more you do in your spare time the more you will get out of this course. We recommend certain books for you to read as well as directing you to websites packed with useful information. We will direct you to resources and give you field experience and knowledge to give you confidence to get started. You will also need to complete the self-study online courses and some specific marked assignments. 

Self study online courses are: 

  • Architectural Terms for Ecologists 
  • Health and Safety Awareness for Bat Workers 
  • Bat ID 
  • Legislation for Bat Workers

Assignments: 

  • Write a fact sheet on a UK bat species 
  • Write a Preliminary Bat Roost report 

It is essential that you use the summer months to gain as much experience as you can. This should be in as wide a range of surveys as possible, including roost inspections, emergence and activity surveys. You should try and conduct these for a variety of sites, such as trees, caves, churches and residential dwellings. The more variety you have, the broader your experience will be. 

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Answer: 12. Do you have a cancellation policy?

In the event of insufficient numbers the course will be cancelled and your money returned. Minimum number 6.

We also reserve the right to cancel the course at any time in the event of unforeseen circumstances and your money will be returned pro-rata for the amount of the course that has taken place.

If you have to cancel before starting the course for any reason then the following refunds will be made:

  • Up to one month before start date: 60% refund,
  • 2 – 4 weeks before: 30% refund.
  • Less than 2 weeks before or during the course: no refund will be due.

Please note that if you are paying by instalments, the deposit is non-refundable.

As there are limited places on the course we will not be able to refund fees once you have started the course, however, in exceptional circumstances we would allow you to defer. If you do not complete the required elements of the course, you will not be entitled to the final certificate.

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Answer: 13. Are there any hidden or additional costs?

The fee does not cover accommodation, travel costs, meals, equipment or books. These will need to be covered by you. Whilst on the field courses transport will be by fellow students who are happy to drive and you may wish to contribute petrol money to the driver.

If you fail your Exam or Viva there will be an additional cost to retake these.

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Answer: 14. What will the time commitment be?

You will need to attend the compulsory courses (5 days and 3 days) so that will be 8 days in total. You will also have a viva with one of the course leaders for 1-1.5 hours. This can take place over the phone or Skype, so you will not need to travel.

Other tasks will need to be completed in your own time, including:

  • Four self-study tutorials which will each take around 1-4 hours to complete (not including background reading).
  • Marked assignments that are linked to consolidating your learning from the field courses, and it is anticipated that these would take a maximum of 4 days to complete.
  • Background reading. We will provide a list of background reading and we recommend that you read as many of these as possible so that your learning gain is maximised.

We anticipate that you will be able to complete the course in 6 months.

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Answer: 15. I understand that there are marked assignments. What are they and how are they marked?

All course participants will need to complete two assignments in their own time. We will provide full details on assignments once you have been accepted onto the course but in summary they are: 

  • A Fact Sheet on a British Bat Species 
  • A Preliminary Bat Appraisal report 

Deadlines for each assignment will be staggered throughout the course and these dates will be provided in your Welcome Pack. You will receive a mark and feedback on each assignment. 

The assignments will be marked based on the criteria laid out in your Welcome Pack. 

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Answer: 16. What happens about accommodation and meals when I am on a course?

We will provide an accommodation list and you will need to find your own accommodation if you are coming from a long way away. You need to provide your own meals and typically a packed lunch will be required for field courses. In the evening we usually book a table in the local pub before heading out to evening surveys and it is a great time for getting to know the other students and tutors. However, if you are local you are welcome to go home if you prefer.

We will provide refreshments such as hot and cold drinks when we are in the classroom, but not whilst out in the field. There is a tuck box in the classroom where you can buy crisps, chocolate bars and cereal bars; and there is a village shop about 1 mile away with a bakery.

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Answer: 17. Who will be teaching the course?

One of our Principal Ecologists, Sue Searle BSc, PGDip(Ecology), MCIEEM, will oversee the teaching side of the Bat Licence Training course and will be one of the tutors. Other tutors that will be involved will be experienced ecologists from Acorn Ecology or external tutors that are experts in their field. The tutors are friendly and you will find that they are very easy to get on with, open to any questions you have, and supportive of your career aspirations. Sue will be your main point of contact for the course part of the Bat Licence Training and Sally Blower (Admin and Finance Manager) will handle any admin or payment queries about courses.

For details of our tutors, please see https://ecologytraining.co.uk/about-us/team/

Sue and the other tutors are very knowledgeable about all aspects of ecological consultancy. The main tutor Sue has been working as a consultant since 2003, is a licensed bat worker with Natural England and Natural Resources Wales as well as a bat licence trainer. Sue has been a guest lecturer at Exeter, Bristol and Greenwich Universities and has also run courses for CIEEM, Field Studies Council and The Mammal Society.

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Answer: 18. What learning support will I get during the course?

If you have any problems or questions about the taught part of the course then do not hesitate to call our head office at Exeter and Sue, or one of the other tutors/ecologists will be happy to help. Whilst you are actually on courses then you will find the tutors very helpful. They are there to answer any questions and help where they can. Your assignments will be marked gradually and you will receive feedback on those to help you improve. We will also provide guidance on useful reading and websites.

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Answer: 19. Who will I contact if I have a problem during the course?

If you are attending a course then speak directly to your tutor otherwise you can call the office any time. Sally Blower (Admin and Finance Manager) will be your point of contact about any administrative aspects of the course. During the initial induction you will have a chance to meet all of Acorn Ecology’s head office staff so you will know who you are speaking to if you need to call us.

Our number is 01392 366512 or email training@acornecology.co.uk.

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Answer: 20. Why choose Acorn Ecology for my training?

Acorn Ecology Ltd is recognised as one of the top training centres in the UK for ecologists. We provide both introductory courses and more advanced courses. We have been running courses since 2007 and have many regular clients including big organisations such as TCV, National Trust and Councils. On feedback we score 85% ‘Excellent’.

The Acorn Ecology training team work as ecological consultants when they are not teaching courses and therefore have up to date knowledge and experience in this subject. Sue, who is the senior tutor for the Bat Licence Training course, has been a guest lecturer at Exeter, Bristol and Greenwich Universities and has also run courses for CIEEM, Field Studies Council and The Mammal Society. Sue takes particular interest in the both Bat Licence Training and Certificate course students as relationships develop over the duration of the course. She is very supportive and gives excellent advice on career progression, personal development and setting goals.

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Answer: 21. Have you got any testimonials?

This is our first year of Bat Licenec Training, however, many of our previous students on the Certificate course have given us testimonials – here are some examples:

‘There’s no way I would have been in this position had it not been for the Certificate PLUS course and my month of work experience. This time last year I was working in a call centre, in a job I hated, and would look at the course web page between calls dreaming of what could be. Now, just a few months later and I’m about to start a job I absolutely love.’

‘The last seven months have really changed my life, I am now focused on something that I really enjoy…and I would recommend this [ certificate course] one hundred percent to anyone looking to start a career in ecology or even just wanting to gain in depth knowledge of wildlife and conservation.’

‘I just want to say thank you to everyone at Acorn for being so supportive and inspiring! It has been one of the most rewarding things I have done, and I have loved every minute!’

‘I have learned more than I could ever have imagined by doing this course. It has not only been massively challenging and rewarding but also lots of fun… I absolutely recommend the course to anyone wanting to break into the profession of ecology; it is definitely worth every penny!’

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Answer: 22. How will you be processing my data?

Please see our Privacy Policy https://ecologytraining.co.uk/privacy-policy/.

Specifically for the bat licence training course, we ask that you are happy to have your email address and general location i.e. town shared with the other students on the Bat Licence Training course in your year.