22 October 2020
If you are studying Zoology or any other animal-related subject, I am sure you are already aware that experience is an essential aspect to your future job applications. A great way to gain skills and knowledge to show your future employer how dedicated you are is to volunteer.
It can be difficult to get a job in the animal industry without experience, so volunteering is a fantastic idea! I have collated some volunteering opportunities in and around Cambridge you may be interested in looking into.
If a zoo keeper experience is what you’re after, you could volunteer at Shepreth Wildlife Park. It’s a ten-minute train journey from Cambridge (and costs no more than £3ish return). Plenty of students from ARU go to Shepreth to volunteer and some even collect their dissertation research project data there. I volunteer at Shepreth at the weekends and absolutely love it. You not only gain expert knowledge from keepers who have had years in the field, but skills such as food preparation and appropriately cleaning enclosures (no one said it's glamorous!).
There are a multitude of animal charities that need your help in more than one way. Charity shops such as the Wood Green Animal Charity or RSPCA need your help within their stores. Despite not directly helping animals one to one, you’re still helping in a way that makes huge positive changes.
The University of Cambridge Botanical Gardens and Museum of Zoology also hire volunteers. These unique places will really stand out on your CV, so it is best to make the most of it if you are living local to Cambridge. The Botanical Gardens will teach you transferable skills about biodiversity, whilst the Museum of Zoology will not only improve your communication skills but knowledge of skulls!
Lastly, you could always ask Masters students, PhD students or even your lecturers if you can help them out with a spare pair of hands for any research projects that they may have going on.
I believe any volunteering is incredible. It shows you are willing to essentially ‘give up’ your time to help, therefore even if your volunteering does not directly include animals it still shows your willingness to help others. Additionally, the ARU Student Union has its own volunteering page, where you can create your own profile, log your volunteering hours and find volunteering opportunities.
If you're interested in studying Zoology at ARU, why not come along to a virtual Open Day?