Work Placements & Internships


Every year we offer a limited number of exciting work placements throughout the zoo.


We offer two internship options, the Three Month Internship Programme and the One Year Internship Programme, both of which involve working with our Animal Keeping sections on a voluntary basis.

All those doing work placement with the Animal Sections must be at least 18 years old so our internships are best suited to those taking a gap-year between A-Levels/National Diploma and further studies, sandwich placements or those who have already graduated from university or college, preferably having studied in a related subject.

We also offer Industrial Placements for undergraduate students studying for a degree with a year in industry (sandwich degree courses). These are placed with our Science or Field Programmes teams and involve undertaking a main research project during the 12-month placement. Please note no direct animal contact takes place during the Industrial Placements.

Please note that all placements are voluntary and unpaid.


Under 16s Work Experience

Each year we offer a number of places to Year 10 students from local high schools, between February to July in the following departments: Food & Beverage, Retail, Guest Experience and Membership & Adoptions. More information about each of the departments is provided below.

We are pleased to work with MPLOY Solutions to arrange the placements, and as spaces are limited we are only able to offer places to students at schools who work with MPLOY.

Due to high demand, we have already filled our placements for 2019. We anticipate being able to accept placements for 2020 from October 2019 and further information about the application process will be posted here closer to the time.

Placement Descriptions:

Food & Beverage

We have 3 main restaurants – Bembé, June’s Pavilion and Manado Street Kitchen, selling a range of meals including pizza, pasta, deli sandwiches, gourmet burgers, fish & chips, and South-East Asian inspired rice and noodle dishes. We have a number of coffee shops and kiosks offering our own brand SHUKA coffee and a range of fresh sandwiches and cakes. Finally we have The Oakfield, a contemporary pub in the heart of the zoo.

Students will assist with the presentation of pre-wrapped food and drinks (e.g. sandwiches, salads, sweets etc.), and help with clearing tables, cleaning floors and dishwasher operation. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with our visitors and learn about the importance of good customer care.

There will be some opportunity to observe skilled catering staff at work and learn about food storage and hygiene protocol.


We have 3 main shops at the zoo – the main entrance shop, Madagascar Market Place and Manado Town. We also have a number of pop-up outlets across the site, as well as activities which include face painting, Handimals and remote boats. We sell a range of products including souvenir gifts, toys, clothing, books, jewellery and confectionery.

Students will gain an overview of all aspects of retail work. This will include customer service, displaying and pricing goods, stock rotation and stock transfers. Students will also assist with general housekeeping tasks, helping to keep the shops and outlets clean, neat and tidy at all times. You will see how busy and exciting the world of zoo retail really is!

Guest Experience

Our Guest Experience team takes care of everything else a guest may need when visiting the zoo. This includes car parking, selling admission tickets, site presentation, operating the boat trip and monorail, and running events like The Lanterns at Chester Zoo!

Students will help with tasks including visitor admissions, wheelchair and buggy hire, and assisting in the Guest Services Information Building answering visitor queries. Students will also have the opportunity to observe experienced staff operating the monorail and lazy river boat trip, as well as assisting with car parking and site presentation. Guest Experience staff interact closely with our visitors and so working with the team is an ideal opportunity to learn about the importance of great customer care and service recovery.

Membership & Adoptions

Our Membership & Adoptions team are located at the main entrance in a fast-paced and busy environment, looking after our 112,000 members and 5,100 adopters!

Students will spend time interacting with our visitors whilst learning about the work done by the team, including online sales processes and the importance of gift aid to the zoo’s conservation work.

Students will assist with customer queries, stock control, making up gift packs for adopters, and sending out renewal correspondence.