Certificate in Ecological Consultancy

Find Out How Acorn’s Certificate Course Could Change Your Life…

Welcome to the Certificate class of 2018!

Certificate students 2018

The 2018 Certificate in Ecological Consultancy Course is now complete. Congratulations to all our students and well done on all your hard work!

If you would like to join our mailing list for the 2019 course, please email training@acornecology.co.uk and we will be in touch once we are ready to launch next year’s course.



Acorn’s Certificate in Ecological Consultancy is a real, practical alternative to a Master’s degree!

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This course is truly unique and gives you the opportunity to launch your ecological consultancy career with a suite of knowledge, skills and experience.

This course aims to provide a complete training for those wishing to work within an ecological consultancy and includes a series of compulsory and optional field-skills courses and self-study tutorials, combined with an element of career planning. There is also the option of a 4 week work training placement in one of Acorn Ecology’s busy offices!

Find out more about our Certificate Course >

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I’m over the moon and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you all. There’s no way I would have been in this position (just offered first ecology job) 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. Thank you so much!! 🙂

Course Details.

Time commitment: The course is designed to fit around working full time and it is anticipated that it will take around 8 months to complete. Click here to find out about time commitments.

Course content: We have provided a detailed course outline below as well as a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help answer your queries.

Where: The intensive week and some of the additional short courses will be held at our training centre at Westpoint, Sidmouth Road, Exeter, EX5 1DJ. In case you need to stay overnight, we have provided a list of local accommodation.

Please note that some of the optional courses will be held in different locations including Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey and the Bristol area.

When: The 2019 core week will be Monday 8th to Friday 12th April 2019. Three additional short courses are undertaken throughout the year, depending on which you choose.

Price: The 2019 standard course price is £1900 and the Certificate PLUS price is £2300, if paid up front. All prices are inclusive of VAT. Click here for full details of the prices and easy payment options.

How to book: To book on to this course, please complete our booking form and submit it to us along with your CV and payment for the course. If you are paying via our easy payment options you will also need to complete a standing order mandate and guarantor form.

All forms can be found at the top of this page.

If you are interested in attending  in 2019, please register your interest by e-mailing us at training@acornecology.co.uk.

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Ecological Consultancy Course Outline

Part 1 (Standard And PLUS)

A five day intensive course which covers core subjects and vital skills for anyone wanting to work as an ecological consultant:

  • Phase 1 habitat surveys
  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisal
  • Survey techniques for protected species
  • Protected sites and wildlife law (tutorial)
  • Plant ID workshop (tutorial)

During this initial course you will also have sessions on health and safety, CIEEM membership, career planning, goal-setting, guidance on background reading, getting experience and working on your CV. Throughout the week there will be plenty of opportunities to chat to the tutors and to ask lots of questions.

Part 2 – Additional Field Courses (Standard And PLUS)

As well as the core courses covered in part one, students can choose three other courses (1 or 2 days each) according to their existing skill levels and specific interests:

  • Badgers and development
  • Bat ecology and surveying*
  • Bat sound analysis using Analook
  • Beginners botany* >>
  • Bird survey techniques
  • Dormouse ecology and surveying~
  • Grass ID
  • Great crested newt ecology, surveying and development
  • Otter ecology and surveying +
  • Reptile ecology and surveying
  • Surveying trees for bats

* Two-day courses; >> Compulsory if your botany knowledge is weak; ~ Similar material is covered in the core week, however additional detail is provided along with a nest box check. This course will be useful if you are working towards your dormouse licence; + Similar material is covered in the core week, however additional detail is provided.

Please note that some of the optional courses will be held in different locations including Devon, Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey and the Bristol area.

To find out more about the content of these courses, please see our Introductory Level Short Courses.

Part 3 – Self-Study Tutorials And On-Line Courses (Standard And PLUS)

To add to the knowledge gained from the field courses and core week tutorials, there will also be four self-study tutorials which will cover the following topics:

  • Mammal ID
  • Amphibian and reptile ID
  • Bird ID
  • Hedgerows – legislation

You will also complete our on-line Invasive Species course. This is an introductory level course about commonly occurring invasive species. The course comprises 9 modules accessed online and at the end of the course you will complete a short quiz to show that you will have completed and understood the course.

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Part 4 – Assignments And Other Benefits (Standard And PLUS)

Other aspects of the course include:

  • CV/experience check if requested.
  • Email/telephone support for ~8 months whilst on the course, starting from the first day of your core week.
  • Marked assignments- Preliminary Ecological Appraisal report including desk study and phase 1 map, protected species factsheet (ID, survey, law), planning phase 2 surveys for a proposed development, and an exam style assessment about ID, legislation and survey techniques.
  • Being on the course will give you the opportunity to get to know other like-minded people and to start build a network of ecological contacts.
  • Each student will receive a copy of Sue Searle’s book ‘How to become an ecological consultant’.
  • You will be provided with email addresses of other delegates (unless they do not wish for their details to be shared) so you can keep in touch with other students and the Acorn Ecology team.
  • We are usually happy to provide references for CIEEM membership.

Part 5 – Certificate PLUS Extras

Those students who wish to take their training and career development to a higher level can sign up for Certificate PLUS, and will benefit from the following additional features of the course:

  • A four week long work placement at Acorn Ecology. This unpaid placement will involve on the job training, where students will be able to shadow a team of ecologists in their day to day work, assisting with surveys, report writing and numerous other tasks. People who have completed work experience with Acorn Ecology in the past have found it immensely useful at improving their skills and increasing their employability.
  • A one to one personalised goal setting and career planning tutorial with our Principal Ecologist and Managing Director, Sue Searle. This is an opportunity to create a career action plan which should motivate and guide you into taking positive steps towards achieving your career aspirations.
  • We will probably be happy to provide a reference for CIEEM membership or a work reference once the month long placement has been completed.

Please note that you will gain more from your placement if you have the use of a car to enable you to drive to sites and meeting points, particularly at unsocial hours. If you will not have a car for the placement, please contact us before booking on to the PLUS course as in some circumstances a car is essential.

Part 6 – Exam And Graduation

  • Returning to Exeter for one last day, you will take a multiple choice/short answer exam style assessment about ID, legislation and survey techniques.
  • There will be a session to revisit and revise career planning and goal setting as these will have changed since the initial core week
  • We will end the course with a lunch party and graduation ceremony. We will celebrate the highlights of the course and you will receive your certificates.

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