Welsh Mountain Zoo


When Andrew Crabtree joined the Welsh Mountain Zoo last year, aged 59, as its Visitor Services Manager, the directors knew that his wealth of experience in retail management would bring an abundance of benefits to the wider team.

Jennifer Jesse, Director of Operations and Administration at Welsh Mountain Zoo commented: “With the experience and knowledge they have gained during their working life, an older employee can be invaluable to the workforce. The skill set they develop over the years can be shared and passed on, which is especially beneficial for those younger members of the team.”

Andrew is the first person to welcome people onto the 37 acres of landscape that is home to Colwyn Bay’s Welsh Mountain Zoo. He understands that the welcome you get from the minute you walk into the zoo really matters and helps to make the experience as magical and memorable as possible. Whether he is asked to point people in the direction of the toilets or the chimpanzees he does so with a smile on his face.

Andrew said: “When I left my job in retail I did worry that it was going to be difficult to start something new, but from the moment I was interviewed for the role here I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. When I got the job, I loved it from day one and welcomed the change from working for so long in retail.

Andrew’s not the only ‘older worker’ at the Welsh Mountain Zoo. Head Gardener, Dai Richardson, joined the zoo ten years ago at the age of 50 after leaving a large horticultural business in London and deciding to relocate back to Wales.

“When I came to the zoo and saw the extensive and historical gardens, I fell in love with the idea of working here. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and the thought of doing it for a living was a dream come true,” says Dai.

“My experience of working in the horticultural industry for so long has meant that I have so many ideas for landscaping the 37 acres of land we have here. Now, when I meet people my age and they see what I do, and how much I love it, they are so jealous. I’d encourage anyone over 50 to think about what they might do next and where they might be able to use their experience and skills in new ways.”