Colchester Zoo
3.3 out of 5 stars.
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Colchester Zoo Management reviews

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3.3Work-life balance
3.1Management

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zoobusyfoodstafffreefunbreakcustomer

School like environment.

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Management are very immature, and talk done about people behind their back. They also treat you like you are in school rather than at work. The actual job is quite easy, and can be fun to work with friends, I just think that the catering section is badly lead.

Pros

Sociable hours. Work with friends.

Cons

Not great benefits from the job, school environment.
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Not the best place to work

Management never really there when needed. Benefits not that great. Can get better discount with gold card. Staff get annoyed if you ask for a day off to take child to hospital for an appointment. Kitchen is too small to work with. Most the staff are kids

Pros

Made friends

Cons

Long hours, no fixed term contract
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Insights into Colchester Zoo

Based on 4 survey responses
Areas for improvement
  • Supportive environment
  • Ability to learn new things
  • Sense of belonging

Colchester zoo

Good place to work as a young person. Good to get customer facing experience and to build the CV. Good management and good pay for what it is. Also get free tickets.
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Don’t bother

Poor wage management is non existent whatever you do your in the wrong to much to do the hours you have to work. You will be put in one place then the other and have no set Rota very poor

Pros

Discounted food

Cons

Management
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Could be better

Often saw bullying by management and wasn't backed by management when following zoo policies e.g. no kids allowed without adults. Strong culture of nepotism and favoritism in the zoo. Only way you can get a promotion is to be a butt kisser or threaten to leave when they are understaffed. Last minute rotas and often wouldn't find out when your working until the day before the new week. Tiny disgusting staff room. If you are seen to be not doing anything even for a second you would get told off. Had to ask for the toilet and water.There are some positives though. Paid above minimum wage, free entry for you +1, discount in shop and catering. Some customers are really nice and job isn't too hard. Great colleagues.

Pros

Free entry to zoo for you + 1, discount om food and shop

Cons

Last minute rotas, treated poorly, favouritism
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This job put me into therapy

I hated this job so much I because depressed and suicidal, and suffered severe panic attacks. The higher ups have absolutely no respect for their staff and treat them all like their beneath them. When confronted about some of the horrible things they did they flat out lied to my face and passed the blame onto the only person in the company that was trying to help and better the company. They’re also very discriminatory.

Pros

Some of the people you work with can be nice.

Cons

There are sometimes 13 hour shifts with 20 minute breaks, cold areas to work in through winter, constant danger from wasps, you tell them your allergic and they just tell you to put up with it, rude management who treat employees like children and act like they’re better than you, they discriminate against staff etc.
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Avoid if you can.

The first thing you will notice is the horrendous pay: £6.50 an hour for a 19 year old, working 9am until 5pm.... It's practically slave labour. Sometimes they make you work until 9pm or 10pm for late nights. No extra pay. Nothing. The managers are supervisors were all so young and there was a weird culture in the zoo, especially towards the newbies: everyone who had worked there longer than you knew each other, and if you didn't fit in with them they would ignore you, give them the most horrible jobs, and sometimes even talk behind your back. You won't get time off unless the managers like you: it's a very clicky atmosphere which takes them to get used to. I barely got breaks, and couldn't even go to the toilet sometimes. Colchester zoo taught me to never be silenced and speak up when you're being treated badly.
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Shocking

No words... wasn’t allowed to the toilet or a bottle of water in the scorching summer without permission from the supervisor... avoid at all costs. If you want to be bullied it’s the perfect job
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Poor pay but fun jobs available

Very low pay and it was run by teenagers the management expected a lot for terrible pay, however had some fun jobs like face painting and helping in Halloween and Christmas events but overall pay was shocking and was a zero hour contract and got really funny about any time off even if it was a one off.
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Nice and friendly staff and management

Haven't really got a bad word to say, friendly staff and management are always friendly and always received help when needed on busy days. Would recommend as a first job.

Pros

Meeting new people

Cons

Long Hours
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Very hard work tough management

Bad management very harsh, not very understanding if something was to go wrong. Not very helpful when training in the job when I first beganmaking is harder to grasp the aspect so od the job I was less familiar with.

Pros

Potential to visit for free

Cons

Poor pay
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was long shifts

enjoyed my job here but was too far at the time to travel too and shift patterns were very unsociable. The management were good but the staff were so young and didn take the job seriously.

Pros

animals

Cons

the travel
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Would never even visit again

Management are untrained, useless, they google what to do in HR situations. Pay is ok but they make it impossible for you to have a life. They have such a high opinion of themselves that they think you should be privileged to work there.
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Kind people but dull workplace

A typical day where I worked consisted of getting in between 9-10am when it was extremely slow - occasionally people would trickle in but you ended up kind of doing repetitive tasks just to stay busy. Lunchtime picked up a little but it never got overwhelmingly busy, even when working during the summer holidays (when you'd kind of expect the zoo to be filled up). Then, by about 2pm, it would slow right down again and areas would start to be closed off and cleaned up ready for shutting down at approx 4-5pm. One of the most annoying things about working here as someone who hasn't got a driving license and therefore relies on lifts is that you never knew when you'd be finished! Some days it was closer to 5:30 and others it was as early as 3/4pm. Can't really blame this on anyone as the restaurant closed down based on what the traffic was like; if people stopped coming in, there was really no point staying open. A bit annoying though since I'd have to wait around for my lift to come most weeks! The management in my particular restaurant were actually not bad; I didn't exactly adore them all but my supervisors in particular were very kind and offered help and usually jobs to do when it got slow. Some of the higher ups were a little intimidating though! Working mostly weekends and holidays (as I was at college) I would say that pretty much all of the staff were between the ages of 16-24 (at least those not in management positions) which has its advantages and disadvantages. It's great that the zoo offers so many young people a chance to gain work experience there but sometimes - 

Pros

Helpful managers, nice people, free zoo entry

Cons

Unspecified finish times, repetitive and mundane tasks, low pay
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Enjoyed working here but had its down times

Working here was be fun and enjoyable. I learned that everyone is different. Management was not the best as you wasn't sure who was in charge at the time. The hardest part of the job was the travel but was easy enough once you get used to it. Another down side to this job is that the staff can make you feel down and if you're the new person the current staff will give you the horrible jobs that they don't want to do. The most enjoyable part was working inside the zoo overall.
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Challenging but fun job

The job usually started out with us opening up the doors and begin to serve customers, until by the end of the night where we would close off sections of the sitting areas to start to clean up and let the customers know we were closing. I didn't usually stay from the opening to the closing hours, but I had different hours throught the two weeks which allowed me to know what was going on at different points of the day, on a typical day. I learned that you cannot expect to get things done by yourself in every aspect of a job, especially in the catering industry, and that you need to rely on good communication between your team members, whether that's an assistant or manager. Management wasn't the best in terms of getting staff times right, but it was good in the aspect of looking after their staff in difficult situations. The hardest part of the job was at the end of each day, trying to stop customers from coming in when we were trying to shut down and clean up. Also another hard part was keeping up with chores when things got chaotic in the busiest part of each day. The most enjoyable part though, was making friends with your coworkers and creating a bond through mutual difficulties and situations.

Pros

A free day at the zoo once a month.

Cons

10 minute break in a 6 hour shift
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Long days and extremely repetitive tasks.

Typical day at work- Morning is very slow, after opening there will be a few customers buying just drinks, cleaning tasks are normally complete within an hour of opening. Lunch time, feels very busy but that is because the food production takes too long and the queue can be out of the door even on a quiet day. After lunch it dies down again and cleaning will be done by around 4pm. Shutting down can take anywhere between 15mins to an hour depending on the amount of staff and how much cleaning had been completed prior to shutting. Lunch breaks normally start at 2pm but you can often get one around 4pm (occasionally had to have one once hot food has been taken off) they last for 30 mins max. What you learned- Very little, applied for this job to do kitchen work and have had minimal training in that area, am either put on the tills or dining area (normally the former) Management- Can be great but there is minimal communication from them. Often changes are put in without informing anyone which can cause confusion for staff and customers. Co-workers- Can be nice, there are very few staff in Mon-Fri so you don't get to interact much. Sat-Sun and school holidays are filled with 16 year old cliques so the environment is not very professional if you are looking to leave behind your school years. Hardest part of the job- Finding something to do when all the cleaning has been completed, often end up sweeping a clean floor, wiping clean glass or cleaning an already clean coffee machine. Most enjoyable part- None of it is particularly enjoyable, you have little work - 

Pros

Free entry to the zoo (for yourself and one extra person) and cheap entry for any extra people.

Cons

Low pay, low benefits, lack of communication from management, holiday requests often ignored, extremely short staffed during the week, extremely over staffed at weekends, lack of promotional opportunities, rarely get a pay rise, pay rise often only by 10p per hour.
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Horrible management

I worked in catering. They would expect me to do 13 hr days over the Christmas period with only 45 mins break. It was so badly organised, you wouldn't have time to set up the food from breakfast to lunch as it was so busy. The manager hated me, basically backed me into a corner until I quit. Think she only liked the male employees. It isn't worth the minimum wage to be on your feet all day around greasy food as well as recieving nasty comments as you go! We only got 25 percent off food as well!

Pros

Waking through the zoo before/after shift

Cons

Management
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Productive and fun work place

This is a wonderful place to work. A typical day would consist of going to the staff room and getting our rotas for the day and any new information that may help us out. We would then go off and do our work. This is the sort of job that, although the work is quite repetitive, you never get a day that is the same as the last. There are new people all the time and the animals are always acting in different ways. The management are brilliant acting as a friend rather than a supervisor without forgetting his authority and there are many volunteers at the zoo and they are all wonderful and east to get a long with. The keepers also like to get involved as the volunteers assist them in caring for the animals pointing out any injuries or strange behaviours. The hardest part of the job is probably spending 6 hours (which isn't that long) at work on your feet. The hard part is being on the move constantly and having to tackle the giant hills around the zoo but I look at it as if the keepers can do it with wheelbarrows with bales of hay and heavy buckets full of food, then I can easily do it. The best part of the job is the animals. I want to work with animals as a job after leaving education and from working at the zoo, I have learned so so much that I wouldn't come close to learning in a regular job.

Pros

Free lunches

Cons

big hills
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Normal typical Day at Work

Colchester Zoo was my First job, I achieved loads of skills and knowledge when working here. I Learnt how to use tills, stock/stock taking and how to connect with the customers. Since working at the zoo I have built on my confidences and My people skills. I now can say I have excellent people skills and have a lot of confidence. I have built on my maths skills alot. Most of the jobs I did were just easy jobs, such as Stocking, stock taking, cleaning/tidying, counting, selling balloons/fudge, keeping shelves neat and stocked, changing displays, pricing objects, dealing with cash, directing and handing out leaflets, . The tills were hard at first but I got the hang of them in 2 days so now I find them very easy to you. The hardest part of the job was knowning all the prices of objects as most of the time not everything could be priced such as pencills, rubbers, swords etc. We had a few problems with management as one of our managers were doing something they shouldn't so we ended up having no manager. I enjoyed building professional relationships with customers and staff members.

Pros

free to enter the zoo

Cons

didn't know when your shift finished
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Overall rating

Based on 51 reviews

Ratings by category

3.3 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
2.9 out of 5 stars for Salary/Benefits
3.1 out of 5 stars for Job security/advancement
3.1 out of 5 stars for Management
3.3 out of 5 stars for Culture

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