Answer: 1. When does the course start?
There will be an initial course of 5 days which will be held in April 2020 and will include the three compulsory courses – Phase 1 Habitat Surveying, Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, and Survey Techniques for Protected Species. During the core week you will also attend tutorials about Plant ID and Wildlife Law. Other sessions during the week will cover health and safety, CIEEM membership, career planning, goal-setting, guidance on background reading, getting experience and working on your CV.
The £1900 if you are making a single up-front payment or £2100 if paying by instalments.
Easy payment options:
If you would rather spread the payments, you can pay an initial deposit followed by 10 monthly instalments.
In order to take this easy payment option a contract will need to be
signed and a guarantor will be required.
Please contact us if you wish to discuss alternative payment arrangements other than those outlined above.
If you wish to attend further courses outside this package then these will be charged at our student course rate and can be booked on-line on the ‘Introductory Short Courses’ page.
If you want to book multiple extra courses we give our Certificate students a special offer of ‘buy 3 courses and get a 4th course half price’ (cheapest half price). You will need to arrange this via e-mail.
This course is aimed at people who might typically have a relevant degree (e.g. ecology, biology, zoology or similar) or a good level of background knowledge gained from volunteering or work experience. New graduates who have a degree, but no experience and lack the knowledge and experience to get onto the ecological consultancy career ladder will find this really beneficial to their employment prospects.
If you do not have a relevant degree, please contact us (07818073660 or email@example.com) to discuss whether your other experience meets the necessary entry requirements. We want you to have the best possible chance of getting onto the career ladder and there may be other options that you can explore.
Please note that a fair level of fitness is required and ecology work can be quite physical. You should be able to walk for around 5km on rough terrain for the field courses and also be able to carry equipment around sites.
All students will gain an Ecology Training UK Certificate in Ecological Consultancy, and this will outline for prospective employers your learning, skills and experience.
Our Principal Ecologists will also be happy to provide references for professional body membership and jobs. In addition where appropriate training and courses have been undertaken, we may be able to provide you with a reference for a protected species licence application.
By the end of the course all students should have a great CV and a career plan.
You will acquire a range of skills including ID (e.g. plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and animal tracks and signs), survey techniques for various species and habitats, Phase 1 habitat mapping, how to undertake a protected species assessment, report-writing, desk studies, wildlife legislation, animal handling (depending on course choices) and health and safety. This suite of skills is designed to be those that you would be required to have as a professional ecologist.
You will have gained a range of field skills, survey techniques, and identification skills that are vital to your progression in the ecological consultancy field. You will have a sound background of other knowledge and have gained confidence in your own abilities. You will also know that your CV is going to attract employers.
We will look at your application on a case by case basis and suggest other Acorn courses that you might want to take instead, if appropriate. We want to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from this course.
The core week, exam and some of the optional courses will be held in Devon near Exeter (venue to be confirmed). However, a variety of locations are used for specific optional courses Surrey (near Guildford), Bristol, Dorset (near Swanage) and Hampshire (near Winchester).
You will be given directions to the relevant course venues and we will also provide an accommodation list with options from campsites to hotels.
You will require a Phase 1 Handbook to complete the Phase 1 course and the related assignment.
It is important that you have good outdoor gear such as walking boots/wellies, waterproof coat and over-trousers, and fleece jacket. Other items that you will find useful will include clipboard (or better still – Weatherwriter), and paper, pens/pencils, ID books (e.g. plants, birds, mammals), binoculars, heterodyne bat detector (optional), GPS (optional), compass, torch and hand lens. We will provide a suggested equipment list and reading list when you sign up for the course. Field Studies Council ID charts will be available to purchase on courses as well as various other useful publications.
Please ensure you meet the booking criteria of relevant degree in ecology/zoology/biology or similar. If you do not, then please contact us with your CV at firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance, prior to booking.
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 Ecology Training UK 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 ecologytrainingUK@gmail.com.
Students should also include a CV with their application.
When you book on to the course you will receive a Welcome Pack that will include a reading list; an equipment and kit list; a CV checklist; some information sheets about consultancy; details of the assignments that you will need to complete during the course; and key dates for the course.
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. Consolidating your ID skills is probably the most vital thing that you will need to spend time on. 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 four self-study tutorials, the on-line invasive species course and some specific marked assignments linked to your field courses and tutorials.
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 in full.
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.
Once you have signed onto your chosen additional courses, you will be expected to attend those courses on the agreed dates. However, we will remain flexible about changing course options until after the core week has been completed in case you discover specific skill gaps during that week.
If you are unable to attend one of your additional courses, we will try and transfer you to the next available course date. However, the following fees will apply. The reason we need to apply these fees is because we will be unable to fill your place if we are given insufficient notice.
- If you cancel 2- 4 weeks before the start of the course = 50% of course price (student rate)
- If you cancel < 2 weeks before the start of the course = Full price of course (student rate)
Please note that if you have to cancel at the last minute due to issues such as bereavement or illness, we will treat your case sympathetically at our discretion. However we may require evidence (e.g. a doctor’s note).
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.
You will need to attend the compulsory core week and three optional field courses so that will be 8-10 days in total, 5 days of which make up the initial compulsory course in April 2020.
There will also be a final exam and graduation party in November 2020. You will come to Exeter and complete your exam, followed by a lunch and graduation when we hand out certificates and formally celebrate your achievements throughout the course.
Other tasks will need to be completed in your own time, including:
- Four self-study tutorials which will each take around 1-1.5 hours to complete (not including background reading).
- Invasive species online self study course – 9 modules (each taking 2+ hours, with 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 8 months.
All course participants will need to complete the following assignments in their own time:
- Protected species factsheet
- Planning phase 2 surveys for a proposed development
- Preliminary Ecological Appraisal report including desk study and phase 1 habitat map
There is also an end of course assignment, carried out in Exeter at the end of the course. This will be an exam style quiz relating to ID, legislation and survey techniques
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.
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 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. During the core week there is a tuck box in the classroom where you can buy crisps, chocolate bars and cereal bars; and there is a village shop fairly nearby.
One of our Principal Ecologists, Sue Searle BSc, PGDip(Ecology), MCIEEM, will oversee the teaching side of the Certificate course and will be one of the tutors during the core week and on some of the optional courses. Other tutors that will be involved in the core week and/or the optional courses will be experienced ecologists from Ecology Training UK 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.
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 and dormouse worker 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.
If you have any problems or questions about the taught part of the course then do not hesitate to call 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, career planning and setting goals to move you forward.
If you are attending a course then speak directly to your tutor otherwise you can call 07818073660 any time.
Acorn Ecology Ltd started the Certificate in 2009 and the training has been taken forward by Sue Searle BSc, PGDip, MCIEEM who was the former Director and Principal Ecologist and Senior Tutor at Acorn. Acorn Ecology was recognised as one of the top training centres in the UK for ecologists however it ceased trading in 2019. Ecology Training UK Ltd (ETUK) was set up by Sue Searle in 2019 with the aim of taking the ecology training forward and continuing to offer the same range of courses. ETUK provide both introductory courses and more advanced courses. Sue has been running courses since 2007 and has many regular clients including big organisations such as TCV, National Trust and Councils. On feedback we score 85% ‘Excellent’.
The ETUK 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 Certificate 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 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.
Many of our previous students on the Certificate course have given us testimonials – here are some examples:
‘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!’
Previous Certificate students found that they all made new friends, supported each other and enjoyed meeting up at the various additional courses. Many swapped addresses and shared rooms or lifts when attending courses. Getting to know the staff at ETUK/Acorn Ecology has also benefitted some of the students who live near our office and who have been out on bat surveys and some have been sub-contracted to do surveys (once trained).
Specifically for the certificate 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 Certificate course in your year.