Skip to main content
Photo of Richard wearing a yellow high viz waistcoat at work


They say never to work with children or animals – but life at the zoo is a dream job for Richard! 

Richard was unemployed and lacking in confidence when he signed up to the Work and Health Programme North West. It gives anyone who has a health condition, or who has been unemployed for a long time, tailored support to find work. 

When he was referred to the Work and Health Programme, Richard was assigned a key worker, Daran, who provided him with one-to-one support. After Richard expressed a wish to work outdoors, Daran helped him apply for a job at Blackpool Zoo, believing it would be “absolutely superb” for him.

Richard says: “I had a CV at the time that wasn’t really up to scratch. Daran helped me to improve it and I didn’t have a cover letter either, so he helped me with that as well.”

Richard secured an interview at the zoo and was quickly snapped up as a Visitor Services seasonal employee. The zoo’s duty manager Gary was impressed by Richard’s can-do attitude. He says: “Richard, from the word go, came across as being very proactive… he was a guy that I very quickly realised I could rely on to get the job done.”

Richard’s role incorporates a range of responsibilities, from car park operations to meeting and greeting guests and keeping the park clean and tidy. He loves the variety – and couldn’t be happier to be working outdoors. Richard says: “Working at Blackpool Zoo is really enjoyable because you get your cardio in and that’s what I like, I don’t like staying in one spot. It is one of those jobs where you’ll meet a lot of friendly people, and it is a really great experience because you go to the zoo all day!”

He adds: “The Work and Health Programme has helped me boost my confidence. They have made me realise it’s not too hard to find a job, and they’ve also put some belief into me so I can actually try these things and expand my horizons. The Work and Health Programme overall experience was amazing. They were very helpful, very supportive, and I appreciate everything they’ve done.”

in partnership with Department for Work & Pensions