The National Reptile Zoo has a strong emphasis on education. The future of the world’s habitats and biodiversity lies in the hands of the planets population. To this end the facility offers itself as a training and learning platform. As an organisation, the zoo is a blend of various working disciplines; Animal Care to Veterinary, Public Relations to Media, Retail Selling to Construction.  A Zoo doesn’t just hire Zoo Keepers!.

Our Work Experience & Internship Programs (WEIP) are aimed at secondary school students and college students respectively.  We also cater for volunteers who are not affiliated with any specific college etc. and would like to gain experience or who just want to help out in our conservation or general animal work.


Work Experience (Transition Year Students etc.)

Work experience is a valuable opportunity to find out exactly what is required from an employee in the work place. For most students, it will be their introduction into the working world. With this in mind, we insist that all work experience applications and placements are treated just as there would be in a normal job situation. From inquiring about a placement and putting together a CV, to being designated tasks and working with others; the entire process is evaluated so that the student can get full feedback to enable them to improve their chances in the workplace in the future.

Tasks assigned to the student are varied and reflective of what day to day work in a zoo entails. This can vary from cleaning windows to helping with health checks on animals. Once staff members are happy with the students level of competence and commitment to the placement, they can then progress onto more challenging tasks.

The duration of the placements are dependent on the school policies and timings. We generally only require the students to be present during school hours, but they can stay on until closing if they wish and prearrange with the zoo administration. Interested students should contact us for an application from and return it via email (preferred), post, or in person, along with a CV with two referees.



The variety of work undertaken in the zoo is reflected in the variety of internships available. From Veterinary students completing a two week placement to Art & Design students spending six months with us. All internships are unpaid by the zoo, but some colleges have schemes available to help fund the internships. Foreign students often use the Erasmus program to fund their time with us.

The interns work is directly relevant to their chosen field. To give some examples – Veterinary students will be directly involved in feeding, health monitoring, record keeping, parasitology etc.

Tourism & Leisure students will work at the reception area, deal with tours, gather and analyse statistics etc.

Graphic Design students will help with website design, in-house signage, create promotional material, design vehicle graphics etc.

Business students will be involved in the day to day running of the zoo, from product sourcing to client management.

Interns who spend more than four weeks with us are given a project of their choice to complete.   The intern will first submit a proposal to the zoo.  We would hope that the intern would aim for peer review publication of their project, especially if it’s in the science field.

Applications for internships are via the internship application form along with a CV and two referees.



Individuals who are not associated with any educational facility and would like to work in the zoo as a volunteer zoo keeper can also apply via application form accompanied by a CV and two references. A zoo keeper’s roles are quite varied and of a skilled nature so applicants must be aware that roles assigned to them will vary depending on length of time volunteered, tasks needing to be done and the individuals ability to learn and progress.


Applying for an internship

When applying, students are asked to send in;

  • A current Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 references
  • NRZ Work Placement Application Form (click here to download)

These documents can be emailed to with FAO Rosie, Work Placement in the title.

All applications for work placements are treated the same as if a person were applying for a job in the zoo. At the end of their placement, the student is then given an exit interview to let them know how their placement went and if there are any areas that the student may work on as they go out to work in the future.

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The National Reptile Zoo

Demesne Road, Gowran, Co. Kilkenny
Tel:056 7726757
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Eircode: R95 YE82

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