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Internships (UK)

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by s_gale, 12 Apr 2020.

  1. s_gale

    s_gale New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I would like to do an unpaid internship in a BIAZA accredited zoo as a way into a keeper job. I have got some relevant qualifications and work experience. However, I'm aware that these opportunities are highly sought after. I don't know if I'm ready or not. Can anyone provide me guidance, please?

    Kind regards,

    s_gale
     
  2. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Be careful - our legal advice is that un-paid interns are illegal in the UK, where all work done has to attract the 'living wage'. This is independent of the charitable status or otherwise of the zoo. Those zoos which do offer such schemes, have simply not been caught yet and investigated by HMRC. We could (will) be in a different World post coronavirus, but they are certainly not in a position to tell us yet, what that is or will be.
     
  3. ThomasNotTom

    ThomasNotTom Well-Known Member

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    Well, up until recently, I have been an intern/placement student at Paignton Zoo... like most other placements, it was unpaid (I'm not complaining in regards to that point). I have friends interning at a range of zoos from places such as Chester and YWP to smaller collections like Shepreth and Shaldon. Unless this is just a case of using the correct vocab to describe what we're doing? I've always interchanged "Placement" and "Internship"... I guess that an internship would "typically" lead to a job once finished, whereas in my situation, I still have another year at university. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this Andrew, thanks.
     
  4. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Yes - it is a dilemma... We have always been very keen to offer internships either through the limited company which runs the park, or the community-interest-company we set up to develop the planned museum. Our employment lawyers are the largest firm based in Peterborough and several surrounding towns, and the advice that always comes back is exactly as I said above, that any work done as part of a formal agreement (other than short-term work experience or 'casual' volunteering) MUST be paid the relevant 'living wage'. We have given the details of all the zoos (not YWP) you list to the lawyers, and the reply is as I said, that these instances are not legal and if they are continuing it must be because they have not yet been investigated. We were very disappointed, but have had no alternative but to take the legal advice we solicited, and abandon/shelve any plans to offer internships.

    If you could find me contact details for one of the legal firms advising any of the zoos you list, I would be very interested to pursue this...
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2020
  5. ThomasNotTom

    ThomasNotTom Well-Known Member

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    I'm unable to help you with this I'm afraid.

    As this is an official part of our degrees, with course title including "with a sandwich year", I wonder if this negates the need to pay us? We also receive some government funding in the form of a a maintenance loan, as we would in any other year at university.