VBRV Training & Train the Trainers
Bat roost visiting is one of the most important activities carried out by volunteer bat workers.
It is recommended that a homeowner with a roost in their house consults the appropriate Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO), i.e. Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales or Northern Ireland Environment Agency, before starting any works that may affect the bats or their roost, for example, timber treatment, roof repairs or cavity wall insulation. This ensures the bats are taken into account and avoids breaking the law.
On these occasions, the SNCO will contact a local Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor (VBRV), who will visit the householder. They collect information for the SNCO on the species of bat, the structure and the proposed plans, and also provide a valuable service by educating the householder about their bats.
Training as a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor
To become a VBRV, you must undertake a scheme of training under a licensed VBRV trainer to gain your Roost Visitor (Conservation) licence (in England this is now called a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor class licence).
Most bat groups have one or more trainers, who are licensed to train unlicensed trainees in some or all of the activities covered under the licence. The training can take approximately two years with the trainee acquiring both knowledge (e.g. bat biology and ecology) and practical experience (e.g. being able to identify whether bats are present, the species and the type of roost, giving advice on different issues, communicating effectively with the public).
The first step for anyone interested in training for this type of licence is to join your local bat group, get involved with the group's activities and projects and find out who the trainers are within the group.
The Bat Workers Manual is an essential tool for anyone training for a roost visitor licence.
Train the Trainers
Most bat groups have one or more trainers, who are licensed to train and sign off individuals for a VBRV level one licence (CL15).
BCT, in conjunction with Natural England, runs a Training for Trainers course when there is sufficient demand. This is a weekend course (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) funded by Natural England, for those who wish to become a licensed Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor Trainer (CL16).
If your bat group/area is in need of a trainer please complete the trainer nomination form to be considered for the next course.
Please note: the nomination form should come from a committee member on behalf of the bat group rather than the individual wishing to attend the course.
Forms should be sent to the Training team. This is the first stage in the process. Selection will be based on experience, demand and geographical location – if you are unsure about whether your experience is suitable for the course get in touch. Further information about the process is provided in the nomination form.
Please note that in England the trainer licence (CL16) specifically relates to the volunteer bat roost visitor class licence (CL15). Individuals can only be trained and signed off by a trainer with this licence type, in order to undertake roost visits under the Natural England homeowner advice service.
Other parts of the UK
BCT can also run Train the Trainers courses in other parts of the UK where there is sufficient demand and funding can be sought from the appropriate SNCO. If you are interested in becoming a trainer (outside of England) please contact The Training Team.