RZSS Education





ZEST – Certificate of Work Readiness (CWR)

(18-24 yr olds) – established 2014

This will be an eight week programme to include the SQA qualification "Certificate of Work Readiness" and is available to 18-24 year olds that are not in education, employment or training.


We have work experience placements available at Edinburgh Zoo within the animal, gardens, works, IT, and education departments. 

At the Highland Wildlife Park work placements are available within the animal and property & estates departments.  


ZEST (15-17yr olds) – established in 2009


Zoos provide a unique working environment due to the variety of vocations all working together in one place. The ZEST course aims to allow students aged 15-17 to take part in a work experience programme with us. We offer students placements with the keepers, communications, fundraising, gardens, education, works and visitor services teams at Edinburgh Zoo. At the Highland Wildlife Park we have offer work with the animals, education, maintenance and visitor services departments.

ZEST runs from the end of August to the following March and includes a week of work experience, 5 additional work experience days throughout the year, 3 outreach visits by RZSS staff to their schools and a trip to see a Scottish conservation project in action. The students not only partake in work experience but also learn essential employability skills such as writing CV’s, preparing for interviews and communicating with other staff members. 

The programme is for vocational students (Nationals 4/5) which may be preparing to leave formal education at the end of secondary school. The programme offers a chance to achieve 2 units in the Personal Development award as well as the Employability Award. Furthermore, the students learn about the role of modern zoos, international and native species conservation and environmental issues.

ZEST is currently being run in conjunction with the following schools; Craigmount High School, Portobello High School, Tynecastle High School, Uddingston Grammar and Kingussie High School.