Please read the most commonly asked questions about the LEMUR+ project, from the history of the project itself to how the travel costs work.

1. How did it all start?
The LEMUR+ project is built on the shoulders on the original LEMUR project which trained 90 bursary placements over 7 years (2007-2014).  LEMUR stands for Learning Environments: Marine, Urban & Rural.  LEMUR+ adds in technology to the biological recording and heritage interpretation skills offered under the original LEMUR bursary training model.

The main LEMUR+ programme is now over but we have 2 x 4m placements available with Ambios Ltd this year.   We always receive lots of applications for the LEMUR placements and competition is intense.  Over 80% of past trainees are in jobs in nature conservation one year post-LEMUR or LEMUR+ (and the rest are being environmentalists in other kinds of employment, training, or travelling).   

2. I am a student, can I apply?
You can if you have finished all your commitment to University other than your final degree ceremony.  LEMUR+ funding cannot support those still in full time Higher Education.

3. What kind of placements are available?
Applications for 2017 are for 4-month placements only.  The closing date is 12noon 6 March.  Electronic and paper applications arriving after this time will not be accepted.  Places will run from 18 April for 16 weeks – until 4th August.  Please see the Training Placement Description on this website

4. What’s the difference between a Hub and a Host?
The LEMUR+ project has 2 Hubs – Devon and Herefordshire.  Each Hub has a number of local Hosts (who provide your placements) and examples include the Marine Biological Association (linked to Devon Hub) and South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre (linked to Herefordshire Hub).

5. Can I do the placement part-time?
No, sorry! 4 months are all full time.  

6. What are Level 3 and Level 2 qualifications?
They are different levels of skills and competencies. They don’t really compare to GCSEs or Degrees because they are about practical activities like leading walks and talks and conducting field surveys. The Level you need to get a job is the most important Level.  Level 2 means you can do a job under supervision, Level 3 means you are likely to be supervising/managing. LEMUR+ focuses on Level 3 most of the time.

7. Do I need a relevant degree in conservation?
No.  You might not have any qualifications or some, it doesn’t matter and is not essential. All qualifications are relevant to you as an individual and are about your learning journey.  Conservation related volunteering experience and personal motivation to work in this sector are more important than qualifications.

8. Do I need to be a car driver?
See 9 below.    In the longer term, a full driving license is almost essential to gaining employment in our sector. You may need a car if you live a long way from the placement.

9. Do I need to own a car?
For these current 4-month placements with Ambios having a driving license and access to your own car as ‘desirable’ but not ‘essential’.    

10. Can I apply for more than one placement?
This time around there are 2 placement positions, both based with Ambios, and these will work together.  The detail of how these might ‘split out’ with trainees taking on different projects / tasks will be discussed at interview.

11. I have my own business. Can I still apply?
Yes, but you must not be earning from your business or be in any other employment during the period of the full-time placements.  We need to be clear that there will be no conflict with your placement in terms of time commitments.  This issue will need to be discussed at interview.

12. Do I have to be a UK citizen?
No.  For applications from non-UK citizens if your are able to live, study and work in the UK, then it is acceptable for you to apply for a bursary placements under this scheme.  You should be aware that the Heritage Lottery Fund and this project have been set up to benefit the heritage of the UK and therefore your long-term aspirations will be taken into consideration during selection.  

Under Sector 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act (1996) Host organisations are required to ask trainees to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK.   One of the follow documents will be requested:  Valid UK passport, Birth Certificate issued in the UK, P60 or P45 or National Insurance Card, valid EU citizen passport or a document endorsed/stamped that shows a current leave to remain in the UK and not precluded from employment.

13. How much money can I claim towards childcare?
The project provides support for childcare (via Registered providers sourced by the trainee) and the amount of money available will be dependent upon the number of trainees in any one cohort needing to claim from this budget line and on their own personal circumstances.  Please do raise this at interview.

14. What is the holiday entitlement?
For 4-month placements no annual leave is available but bank holidays may be taken in negotiation with Host (if working bank holidays then time off in lieu may be allowed).  Any other time off is at the joint discretion of the Host and Hub and must be agreed in advance. The Host and Hub may choose to advise the LEMUR+ project to offset any additional requests for time-off against your training allowance.

15. How many days sick leave do I get?
You are permitted a maximum of 3 days (total) paid sick leave before your status and ability to continue on the placement will be reviewed.  You will be expected to follow the sickness absence procedure of your specific Host.

16. Will I have to relocate and/or do I have to live close by?
The project would expect you to relocate to live within the vicinity of your placement in order to reduce the risk of your dropping out due to travel costs.  With these current placements, there is accommodation at the Ambios farm.

17.  Do the bursary payments include travel and accommodation costs?
Yes. Your bursary monthly payments are designed to contribute towards the cost of your accommodation, all living expenses (food, electricity, wifi, heating etc) and your travel to and from your placement. There is a small additional travel allowance within the payments to cover travel to various project activities. You must make budgetary allowances in advance throughout your placement and this is an important part of your preparation for employment.

18. Does doing a marine placement preclude me from moving into a rural based conservation career and vice versa?
Yes and No. It will depend on what kind of work you want to undertake and on how specialised was your LEMUR+ role. For example if you are primarily trained in marine taxonomy you would have to retrain in terrestrial based identification skills. Many of the skills you will learn will be transferable and there will be opportunities to undertake a variety of training but this will be subject to discussions and agreement with your Host organisation.

19. How many weekends will I have to work?
This will depend entirely upon each individual placement. You will most likely be required to attend your placement during a number of weekends and you will be entitled to take time in lieu. For specific information about each individual placement, please refer to the Host trainee description.

20. I’ve booked a holiday/have commitments and am unable to start immediately. Can I start a few days late?
No. The LEMUR+ training is very intensive and will require you to be present from the starting date. This is absolutely not negotiable. There are a number of compulsory key events which you will need to attend throughout the placement.  Compulsory dates will be shown on a timetable and you will be asked at interview to confirm you are available.

21. The application form is online – do I need to print it?
We advise that you print a copy for your records.  In the spirit of LEMUR+ (where the ‘+’ stands for added technology) we want all applications to be submitted online.  

22. Can the application form be submitted by post?
No.  The Application form must be submitted online.   

23. When will I be able to apply for a bursary placement in 2017?
Now, until noon on 6th March!

24. Will the project help me to find accommodation if I need to relocate?
These placements come with an offer of accommodation at the farm which we would strongly recommend you consider.  However the onus will be on the successful candidate to secure their own accommodation.

25. I am a student undertaking a degree, can I apply?
No, if you are in Higher Education we are unable to support you, sorry!

26. How much is the LEMUR+ bursary allowance?
Please note that the bursary payment is a contribution towards your living expenses.

4-month full-time placements = You will receive £650 per month and a completer’s fee of £150 at the end of the placement, provided that all milestones have been met.

27. What is the Tax situation?
LEMUR+ training bursary payments are not subject to Tax or National Insurance as you are in education and not employed by your Host.  The project provides a letter ‘To Whom it May Concern’ that you can show to HMRC or the Benefits Agency.

28. Travel to interview – costs
We are unable to reimburse all the costs of your travel to interviews but you are invited to submit copies of tickets/travel receipts and we will offer a proportion.  The calculation is complex as we have a fixed budget and don’t know how many people will claim and what amounts they will claim, so we have to gather all the information and then allocate the budget appropriately.  You will be directed to an online LEMUR+ Travel Claim form at your interview which you can use to submit a travel claim … and we’ll do our best to make a contribution to your costs.

29. Is there any age or working background restrictions?
You just need to be over 18.  We welcome applications from all ages. We’re just looking for commitment to the world of wildlife & nature conservation.  

30. Should I send any additional information when I apply?
NO, please don’t!.  We need to assess your application in a fair way alongside everyone else.  If we allow people to send additional information they might send all kinds of things which would make comparing applications impossible.  We will therefore destroy any additional information you send with your application.

31. Will I receive an acknowledgement for my application?
We are sorry but we do not have the resources to acknowledge the many applications we receive. If you have not heard from us by the interview dates described in the application guidance then, this time around, you must assume your application has not been successful. 

32. What is the interview like for the placements?
We aim to provide both an interview and a training day for placement candidates.  Here is some feedback from one candidate: 
“The interview process was challenging and useful in several aspects; meeting other candidates in a similar position to myself and learning about their journey towards a career in nature conservation, gaining insight into the gaps in my skills and reaffirming why I want to gain more practical experience in the field. I agree with what was said on the day that the interview day was a learning opportunity in itself and I have taken away from it something for future interviews and more.”

33. (9-month only) Why does the Personal Statement have to be hand written?
Hosts have asked for handwritten Personal Statements because many of the placements require hand written notes to be used in the workplace for colleagues to read.  Alongside this requirement, Hosts want to see your own work and they want to see you make the effort to complete a handwritten statement. Handwritten Personal Statements should be scanned and then emailed to us.  Should you require assistance, please make contact with the main office: info@ambios.net

34. (9-month only) What should my Personal Statement look like?
Your hand written personal statement should include your name and the title of the placement.  When you scan the document to send it to us, the filename you use should also include your name, the Host (using letters – eg. HWT for Herefordshire Wildlife Trust) and placement title.  The exact form of your personal statement is then up to you.  It could be paragraphs or bullet points or a mix of both.    

35. I have great experience, please accept me…
Maybe… We are actually more interested in what you think LEMUR+ can add to your personal learning journey and your employability.  If you have no, little, or lots of experience please focus on telling us what you think you can gain from becoming a LEMUR+ trainee (that’s a big hint for the application form, just there…).

36. When are the interview dates?
4-month placements interview will be on 15th March @ Lower Sharpham Farm, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 7DX.  If you are successful, you will be called for interview around 9/10th March.