Groups visiting the Chester Zoo in Chester, England, will participate in a training program taught by apes—yes, apes. The Apemanagment Program uses the social behavior of various primates within the zoo to teach attendees how to address everyday social issues in the workplace.
The Apemanagement training sessions and workshops consist of theoretical and practical parts. During the theoretical sessions, attendees learn about the similarities between human and primate behaviors to better understand the underlying motivations for human behavior. During these practical sessions, participants observe various primates—mandrills, macaques and chimpanzees, for instance—to better understand social interactions and issues related to them.
“By the end of the programs, attendees should be able to understand social behavior happening amongst people at their workplace, and they acquire skills to prevent issues arising from these,” says Catherine Briely, events manager at the Chester Zoo.
There are no restrictions on the amount of participants that can participate in the program, but Briely says there needs to be at least five people to make the workshop truly interactive. Although there is no direct contact with the animals, the participants learn more about the apes than an average visitor as they spend more time in front of them and try to understand their behavior.
“The main goal of the program is to translate research from biology and the behavioral sciences into usable and practical knowledge, as well as learning methods that can be used to address everyday social issues,” says Briely.