What Will I Be Doing?
The Zoox Experience Programme runs for eight (8) weeks and starts with two (2) weeks training at our HQ in Zamboaguita, Negros Oriental, Philippines. We then move on to your placement locations. The work you'll be doing there varies depending on the needs and requirements of our partner project, it's stakeholders and the professional development of you and your fellow volunteers! Below is a general outline of what you can expect from a Zoox Experience Programme.
The training location in the Philippines
All volunteers should arrive at least one day before the programme starts
This will give you time to settle in, unpack and hopefully get over most of your jet lag! If you want to arrive a bit sooner, do just let us know. We have had many volunteers that have come one or two weeks early to do some diving.
The first couple of weeks of any ZEP starts at the Zoox training base in Zamboanguita near Dumaguete City, Philippines.
Your Zoox trainers will take you through the full Zoox Modules through informal classroom presentations and practical training sessions in nearby reefs and seagrass areas. These modules will give you a thorough overview of the marine conservation sector from a global to a local scales. We will give you all the tools and resources you need to fulfil your role as marine conservation project coordinators over the coming weeks.
We do our best to mix up the classroom and field work sessions making sure you get all the information you need whilst still experiencing the beauty of the surrounding marine ecosystems (weather depending!)
You will also be given time for some self-study, to explore topics that interest you using the extensive online library we have accumulated through our work in the conservation industry.
There is an incredible amount of interesting information to absorb and understand, and all your efforts will be rewarded with a "graduation" dinner and your Zoox Module Certificates.
Here are some of the activities you can expect to take part in during the first couple of weeks.
- Global Marine Conservation lecture and group activity
- Marine Monitoring lecture
- Marine Monitoring: Seagrass practical session
- Marine Monitoring: Coral Reef practical session
- Marine Conservation and Diving
- Skills refresher dives
- Blue Carbon lecture
- Green Fins Project Training
- Professional Development lecture and group activity
- Blue Carbon lecture
- Shark Conservation lecture
Zoox modules being taught in the open air classroom
Dormitory accommodation during the first two weeks
At this point in the placement, you start the 'experience' weeks. As we move as a team onto location, you'll be finishing off your training as Green Fins Assessors and begin to meet all the stakeholders that you will need to coordinate with for successful project implementation.
Throughout your time with Zoox, and during the Professional Development module, we will have discussed your areas of interest in the conservation sector and what you want to gain out of the experience as a professional. This will lead to the formulation of your personal project, designed to expose you to new areas of conservation or target skills that need beefing up in your CV. It is at this point where we will meet with you individually and discuss your objectives over the experience programme.
Our aim is to push you out of your comfort zone, but ultimately how far out you reach, and therefore how much you gain and experience on the ZEP, is up to you. The more you put into the programme, the more you'll get out of it.
During this week, we will travel as a group to the location of your placement. The travel details will be finalised during Weeks 1 and 2.
Here are some of the activities you can expect to take part in during Week 3:
- Personal Project session
- Green Fins Assessor training dives
- Group planning of Green Fins activities
- Travel to placement location
- Meeting of key local government stakeholders
- Meeting of key local community stakeholders
Meeting the Coastal Resource Manager and getting certified as Green Fins assessors
With your fellow volunteers, you'll be working as a team to coordinate Green Fins and your personal projects. This is where you will gain the bulk of your experience, develop new skills and discover aspects of conservation work that you love and hate! Throughout this time, you will be expected to coordinate your team, manage and organise your time and activities to meet deadlines, and do lots of diving and stakeholder consultation and education work through Green Fins.
Whilst you will be working independently and as a team, Zoox staff will be close at hand to maintain the standards of Green Fins and to guide you and monitor your professional development.
The actual activities you could do on the Zoox Experience Programme varies from placement to placement. We make sure that all conservation activities are of good conservation value to the Green Fins project or the local communities. Below is a list of common activities that you may take part in:
- Weekly team meetings
- Green Fins environmental impact assessments
- Environmental consultation sessions
- Report Writing
- International project promotion
- Coordinating social media
- Green Fins training presentations to dive staff
- Beach and Reef Clean Ups
- Coral Reef monitoring
- Environmental training workshops for non-Green Fins stakeholders (fishermen, local schools etc)
- Stakeholder consultations
- Meeting with local government officials
This is always one of the busiest and most rewarding weeks of the Zoox Experience Programme. You'll be ensuring that there are no loose ends from your Green Fins and personal project work, reporting on the extensive conservation impacts you and your team have achieved throughout the six weeks. During this week, Zoox staff will schedule your individual Professional Development feedback session making sure you understand everything you've achieved over the Zoox Experience Programme, where your strengths and challenges as a professional lie, and discuss future career options and routes you would like to take.
Many of the activities from Weeks 4-7 may spill over to this last week, how much? Well, that depends on your time, people and project management skills! Here are some of the typical Week 8 activities:
- Green Fins certifications for dive centres
- 2-3 hour Professional Development feedback session with Zoox staff
- Report Writing
- International project promotion
- End of ZEP celebrations (because by now, you deserve it!)
Having a laugh during the Professional Development session and reporting to the local Mayor
After the ZEP
It's always sad for us to watch you go, but as ZEP Alumni we hope we'll keep in touch! You'll hear from us within a month with your Zoox Reference, and we're always just an email away for CV and employment advice. You'll also be signed up for the Zoox Newsletters and earn your own spot on our Zoox Alumni page. But more than all of this, you will be a more rounded conservation professional, with a firm understanding of your strengths and points of improvement as well as, hopefully, a clearer idea of where you're aiming for in your conservation career!
Want to hear from the volunteers themselves? Check out their testimonials, and see what Zoox life is really like on their blogs.