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Head of Conservation Education & Engagement

Chester Zoo


Posted over 30 days ago...


Join a premier conservation charity as the Head of Conservation Education & Engagement and make a global impact on wildlife preservation


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£66000 - £70000

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Expires at anytime

Join our renowned conservation charity, which operates a leading visitor attraction and plays a crucial role in the global fight against extinction. Our mission revolves around education and engagement, which are vital to our conservation efforts. We are located in the historic city of Chester and are looking for a dedicated Head of Conservation Education & Engagement to lead, develop, and execute our educational programs and ensure our organization remains at the forefront of conservation efforts.

  • Develop and implement strategic education and engagement plans aligned with conservation objectives.
  • Manage partnerships and advocate for conservation education within various networks.
  • Ensure compliance with all legal and best practice standards in education and engagement programs.
  • Lead and foster a positive team culture within the Conservation Education & Engagement department.
  • Oversee financial management, pursue external funding, and grow income from charged services.
  • Evaluate and report on the effectiveness of education programs, contributing to the global knowledge base.
  • Significant experience in developing education and visitor engagement programs.
  • Masters level qualification or equivalent in a relevant field.
  • Understanding of conservation psychology and sustainable behaviors.
  • Substantial leadership experience with proven ability to inspire and make decisions under pressure.
  • Experience in evaluating educational programs and understanding of safeguarding and inclusive practices.
  • Commercial acumen with a history of growing income from diverse sources.
  • Excellent communication skills, adept at engaging a variety of audiences and stakeholders.
  • Strong project management capabilities and budget management skills.
  • High computer literacy and a commitment to ongoing professional development.

Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as the role may close before the advertised closing date of June 16, 2024.

Job reference: 001010

Salary: Range of £66k - £70k per annum.

Closing date: 16/06/2024

Department: Conservation Education & Engagement

Location: Chester

Employment type: Permanent - Full Time

Hours Per Week: 40

As a leading international conservation charity and visitor attraction, education and engagement are key to how we achieve our mission of preventing extinction. As our Head of Conservation Education and Engagement (CE&E), you will lead the development and delivery of the zoo’s conservation education and engagement programmes and ensure the smooth running of the CE&E department. 

Reporting into the Director of Conservation Education, you will work collaboratively with a team of senior and operational managers, teaching and engagement teams and other specialists, to ensure the delivery of exceptional education and engagement work across the organisation. You will make sure that our education and engagement work delivers strongly on conservation related outcomes, is sector leading in its ambition and scope, fully compliant with all legislation and practice standards and crucially that we exceed the expectations of our 2 million visitors, partners and education programme participants. 

You will provide expert input into a wide range of initiatives across the organisation, and will have direct oversight, through your management team, of our extensive work with schools and colleges, our Ofsted registered childcare provision, interpretation and our visitor programme of talks, tours, storytelling and other activities, including engagement in our mammal walkthroughs. 

The Package

  • Permanent position.
  • Salary range of £66k - £70k per annum.
  • 40 hours per week, worked predominately 8.30am – 5pm, Monday-Friday, with some evening and weekend working to support operational requirements. Overnight travel, including internationally, may also be required. 
  • The responsibilities of the role require the Head of CE&E to work onsite here at Chester Zoo for most of the time, but where operationally possible there is opportunity for some remote working (approx. one day per week).
  • 33 days annual leave plus the option to buy or sell up to 5 days.
  • Staff pass so you can visit the zoo during your time off, plus multiple complimentary tickets for your friends and family.
  • Cycle to work scheme.
  • Healthcare plan and employee assistance programme.
  • Discounted gym membership.
  • Discounts on cinema tickets, restaurants, high street shops and more via Perks.
  • Pension scheme with generous employer contributions up to 9%. 

Core Responsibilities

  • Strategy development: Support the Director of Conservation Education to develop the overall strategy for education and engagement; developing strategic plans for the delivery of schools’ programmes, visitor engagement, childcare and interpretation alongside the managers in these areas. Ensure plans are produced collaboratively, communicated effectively to internal and external stakeholders as required, and that appropriate resourcing plans are in place. 
  • Leading strategy implementation: Lead the delivery of a portfolio of education projects, programmes and services that make a substantial contribution to the delivery of the targets of the Chester Zoo Conservation Plan, Strategic Development Plan and Organisational Plans. Proactively develop new programmes to meet objectives, to grow our impact and income and ensure all programmes are effectively resourced, delivered with efficiency and to the highest standards. 
  • Partnership development and advocacy: Develop and manage partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders who support and enable our education and engagement programmes. Pro-actively engage in sector networks (locally, nationally and internationally) to increase our reputation as a centre of excellence for conservation education, influence policy and contribute to the development of practice across the sector, particularly in relation to zoo/NGO led conservation education and the formal education sector. 
  • Risk management and compliance: Assess, control and mitigate risks associated with delivery of our education and engagement programmes, including horizon scanning and planning for unexpected changes and challenges. Support Managers to develop and implement robust processes to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and best practice guidance, including Health and Safety, copyright, GDPR, safeguarding, Disability Discrimination Act, our Ofsted registration and the zoo licensing and accreditation requirements.
  • People Management: Provide effective leadership to the CE&E department, developing a positive culture of innovation, learning and growth. Develop, mentor, coach and motivate a team of appropriately skilled staff (and contractors), supporting their wellbeing and managing performance as required.
  • Financial Management: Effectively manage the financial resources of the department through planning and control of the department budget, including appropriate tendering and procurement in line with CZ policies and procedures. Drive income through identifying opportunities for external funding and increasing revenue from new and existing charged for services. Ensure all resources are planned and deployed efficiently and effectively. 
  • Evaluation and Reporting: Develop and manage reporting processes to ensure robust monitoring and evaluation of education and engagement programmes, in order to drive improvements, report to stakeholders and to drive sector knowledge about what works. Lead on the measurement of education related Conservation Plan targets and proactively support the development of the global evidence base for zoo-led education. Collaborate with research specialists to ensure an ongoing programme of education research and lead on the development of and setting of appropriate KPIs. 
  • Professional development: Develop own skills as an expert in the field, actively seeking personal development opportunities, engaging with the wider sector to horizon scan for best practice and sharing expertise both internally and externally, to drive culture of innovation and constant improvement. 

Our Requirements

We are committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion among our workforce and job applicants. Whilst our requirements for this demanding and exciting opportunity are high, we recognise that not all candidates will meet every requirement listed. The ideal candidate for the Head of Conservation Education and Engagement role will demonstrate enthusiasm and aptitude for the responsibilities of the role outlined above, supported by most of the following experience, skills and competencies:

  • Significant experience leading the development of ambitious, complex and innovative education and visitor engagement programmes for a variety of audiences and outcomes, ideally in a comparable large visitor footfall setting (e.g. zoo, museum, environmental charity, theatre or other cultural attraction).
  • Masters level qualification or equivalent experience in a conservation and/or education related subject, with the ability to teach conservation education related topics to all ages, including to professional educators at a postgraduate level.
  • Practical knowledge and understanding of the drivers of human behaviours in relation to living sustainably for nature (conservation psychology).
  • Substantial management and leadership experience with a proven track record of effective team leadership, with the ability to make good decisions under pressure and influence and inspire at all levels.
  • Proven experience of evaluating and evidencing the conservation, educational and/or social impacts of education programmes, including the development and monitoring of KPIs, impact reporting and ideally preparing papers for peer reviewed publication.
  • Demonstrable understanding of and commitment to safeguarding and to equality, diversity and inclusive practices.
  • Commercial acumen with a proven ability to grow income from a variety of sources, including experience developing and managing funded projects and developing business plans.
  • Evidence of commitment to professional development and ongoing learning, including active engagement with relevant professional networks and proven experience supporting the development of others.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with experience of communicating with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders, and adapting style for differing contexts.
  • Strong project management experience and skills and proven experience of budget planning and management.
  • High level of computer literacy.

We reserve the right to close the role prior to the advertised closing date, with this in mind candidates are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible. 

Closing date: Sunday 16 June.


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