Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Aspinall Foundation, which runs Port Lympne and Howletts, hires unpaid interns for 'physically demanding' work


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

The animal charity running Howletts and Port Lympne has been hiring unpaid interns to fulfil "physically demanding" roles for up to 12 months of work.

Adverts for keeper roles at the two parks state how applicants will have to "financially support themselves for the entire length" of the challenging internships.

In the role advert, the charity says it 'regrets' it cannot offer any wage
In the role advert, the charity says it 'regrets' it cannot offer any wage

Bosses at the Aspinall Foundation, which paid more than £150,000 in interior design services to the wife of its chairman last year, say they regret the fact no wages or salary can be offered for the placements.

The Foundation - fronted by Damian Aspinall - is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission amid 'serious concerns' about its finances and governance.

The positions for gorilla and tapir keepers were advertised earlier this year, with a warning to applicants that they will "need to have a good level of physical fitness" and be "comfortable with heavy lifting".

A role description for a gorilla keeper internship at Howletts states the unpaid position could last for up to a year.

It reads: "These placements will be ideal for individuals already studying or have recently finished an animal-related course and are looking to gain experience in the zoo industry.

The Aspinall Foundation runs both Howletts and Port Lympne
The Aspinall Foundation runs both Howletts and Port Lympne
Internships included a position as a gorilla keeper - an unpaid role described as 'physically demanding'. Picture: Tricia Corkhill
Internships included a position as a gorilla keeper - an unpaid role described as 'physically demanding'. Picture: Tricia Corkhill

"These positions can be physically demanding so will need to have a good level of physical fitness, be happy working at height and comfortable with heavy lifting.

"We are looking for a commitment of 3-5 days a week for 6-12 months for these internships.

"As we are a registered charity, funded entirely by visitor fees and donations, we regret we are unable to offer any wages or salary for the placement.

"We will provide a full uniform and discount at the parks food outlets for the days that you attend work.

"No other financial benefits are offered. Candidates will need to have the ability to financially support themselves for the entire length of the internship."

Aspinall Foundation chairman Damian Aspinall. Picture: Barry Duffield
Aspinall Foundation chairman Damian Aspinall. Picture: Barry Duffield

The role description describes the placement as an "excellent opportunity" to learn aspects of animal husbandry.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that gorillas at the lower end of Howletts will remain out of public view until they receive Covid jabs.

Meanwhile, the 13-strong herd of elephants at the Canterbury park will soon all be leaving for a new life in Kenya.

The Aspinall Foundation has been approached for comment.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More