The objective of the training available to Durham Bat Group members is to produce all-round bat workers, and therefore includes conservation, surveying, monitoring of distributions and roosts, rescue work, promoting public awareness and understanding, education work, as well as political representation and lobbying that might affect the welfare or conservation status of any bats in County Durham. However the group will not normally undertake training for persons who do not wish to participate in the work of the group or be included in the VBRV rota for on-call bat work.
To comply with the law whilst carrying out this full range of activities , a bat worker should hold a level 2 bat survey licence and a level 1 roost visitor licence. To this end the group operates a two-tier training system:
Phase One is a general grounding in batwork delivered through indoor meetings in the winter, field work and personal study. Over the course of twelve months an active trainee should have acquired a working knowledge of bat identification, biology, ecology and conservation.
Trainees showing aptitude and commitment will have the opportunity to progress to Phase Two and be assigned licenced mentor to assist their development as a bat worker including experience of roost visits and survey techniques. They will also register as a trainee Voluntary Bat Roost Visitor with Natural England, and be vaccinated against rabies. More information is available at www.gov.uk.
Trainees are encouraged to work with licenced members other than their mentor to gain the breadth of experience needed to gain licenced status. Candidates are expected to keep a diary of their bat work from the start of their training. This will include details of training opportunities and reflections on what was learnt. When a trainee’s mentor feels that the member is ready for their licence, the bat diary will be circulated amongst the licenced members in electronic form in advance of the annual licenced members meeting. Candidates would be expected to gain both licences at the same time but the licenced members meeting may decide to make exceptions in specific cases.