General Discovery and Learning Manager

Chester Zoo

£43,344 pa

Paid • Full Time • Permanent 01244 389771 Stacey Ledger

Sectors: environmental education, conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Sunday, 21st January 2018   3 days left

General Discovery & Learning Manager

Full time – Permanent

We are Chester Zoo, and for over 80 years we’ve been a leading conservation and education charity, and an amazing, award-winning visitor attraction.

We’re also a team of passionate, talented, enthusiastic and expert people, doing everything we can to keep the zoo going, from feeding the animals to discovering new conservation ideas, and giving our 1.9 million visitors an inspirational day out.

We work hard because we love animals, we care about nature, we love Chester Zoo and we want to be the best zoo in the world!

If you think you can help us to achieve that, then we’d love to hear from you.

We currently have an exciting vacancy for a General Discovery & Learning Manager to join our award winning Discovery & Learning team. Our team contribute to Chester Zoo’s mission by inspiring people to care about the natural world and enabling them to take action to protect it. We work with families and adults visiting the zoo, as well as schools, universities, communities and individuals at the zoo, across the UK and in field locations around the world. Our learning work includes daily events for zoo visitors, workshops for school groups, exhibitions and interpretation, kids clubs, volunteer programmes, training and capacity building, outreach projects, online resources, creative collaborations and much more.

As General Discovery & Learning Manager you will lead the development of all participatory learning programmes, overseeing a team of operational managers and delivery staff, whilst also supporting the Head of Discovery & Learning to set direction and ensure the smooth running of the whole division.

The Role:

  • To support the Head of Discovery & Learning to develop and deliver the zoo’s Strategic Plan for Learning and Engagement, including deputising for the Head of Department and representing the full remit of the department at external and internal meetings.    
  • Lead the development of a range of high quality learning initiatives across community engagement, creative projects, events of different scales, public engagement, digital learning, conservation campaigns and our work with schools, colleges and universities.
  • Collaborate with external partners and senior staff from the collections, field programmes, commercial operations, marketing and science teams, in order to develop new activities that deliver the aims of the Learning and Engagement Strategic Plan and against organisational strategic objectives.
  • Oversee all budgets associated with in-zoo engagement and community work, ensuring our delivery is cost effective and minimising wastage, allocating staffing and financial resources appropriately, seeking opportunities to generate income and working on the development of funding bids for new developments.
  • Recruit, manage and motivate a team of managers and specialists, ensuring the team is enthused and has the resources and skills they need to succeed.
  • Work with the Conservation Social Scientist, internal and external colleagues, consultants and the Head of Discovery & Learning to develop and deliver a programme of research activity that enables us to evaluate the efficiency and impact of our learning programmes, whilst also contributing to sector knowledge.
  • Develop own expertise as a highly proficient specialist in the field of conservation education, community and public engagement, inputting expertise into a range of zoo projects and sharing widely with the sector.
  • Ensure that all learning programmes are safe, appropriately risk assessed and comply with relevant legislation (eg. copyright, DDA).

The successful candidate will have:    

  • substantial experience developing and leading learning programmes and projects in a zoo, aquarium, museum or similar high profile audience focused environment, with the ability to devise and deliver projects on a national and international scale. This would ideally be supported by a masters level qualification in education, science communication or similar
  • a working knowledge of conservation and zoology. This is likely to be demonstrated by a Zoology or Biological Science degree and/or experience of working within a zoo, conservation organisation or similar environment
  • experience working collaboratively, in partnership with and when commissioning activity from a wide range of experts, freelancers, artists, festivals, scientists and educational organisations
  • high levels of written and verbal communication skills, with excellent attention to detail, presentation and proof-reading skills
  • experience of using all key Microsoft packages and the use of digital technologies for public engagement
  • the ability to problem solve and thinking creatively
  • experience leading and managing projects and teams with demonstrable project management, strategy development and leadership skills
  • demonstrable understanding of audience needs across a broad spectrum of audience types, and of how to develop learning experiences to meet those needs and deliver intended learning outcomes
  • excellent time management, administration and planning skills, including a proven ability to manage multiple concurrent projects, meet deadlines and ensure appropriate quality control
  • excellent diplomacy and interpersonal skills, with a proven ability to influence, enthuse and engage others, with the ability to work effectively under own initiative, as part of a team and to work under pressure with a positive attitude

Hours of work are 40 hours per week, worked predominantly Monday to Friday, with occasional need for evening and weekend working for which time off in lieu will be given.

The salary for this role is £43,344.21 per annum and in addition we offer a range of amazing benefits which can be found at

To apply for this position, please go to and click apply now to provide your current CV and complete the application form highlighting your skills and experience including why you believe you should be considered for our General Discovery & Learning Manager role.

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