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Career insights and inspiration for Animal Management

Term has only just begun, and Weston College Animal Management students have already had the chance to meet and learn from industry guest speakers about various careers within the sector, such as a Dog Groomers, Zookeepers, RSPCA Inspectors, Animal Keepers and Pet Shop Managers.

The industry guest speakers explained their own personal journeys into the animal management industry, the opportunities available, what a day in the life in their role is like and their favourite highlights too. The session was designed to inspire learners and provide them with an insight to what they might want to do in the future. This valuable experience for students is just one of the fantastic career enhancing opportunities available at the College, through the newly launched Career Excellence Hubs; each subject area has its own specific Career Excellence Hub, endorsed by relevant sector employers which help to create a study programme with lots of career boosting benefits; industry guest speakers is one of these benefits, enabling students to learn from people already in the industry and understand the requirements and career possibilities.

The day started off with Mac, Puxton Park Animal Team Supervisor and Weston College alumni. Mac began he journey as a BTEC student at the College, he then went on to study the Animal Management FdSc at University Centre Weston, before landing a job at the Park.

Mac commented: “I’ve been a keeper here for 4 years and the advice I would give students is to try as early as possible to get some broad experience of the multiple areas within the animal industry. This will ensure they enter the part of the industry that will suit them best and will provide them with diverse experiences that will look good and help with future employment.”

Mac’s session was followed by Jollyes Pet Shop Manager, Cat, based in Cadbury Garden Centre.

Cat advised students: “To be in a career within Animal Management, I’d recommend going to college and gaining a qualification, you then have the option to progress even higher and go to university. Many of the staff I work alongside have a degree in either Animal Care or Animal Management, this stands you in good stead to work in a Pet Shop or be a Veterinary Nurse for example. It can be a very competitive industry.”

Next the students were introduced to Alan, an inspector for the RSPCA since 1999, he gave students an interesting insight into how he landed his role, a day in the life and some of the dangerous situations you may encounter as an RSPCA inspector.

The audience of inspired students listened as Alan described how he rescued a horse from a cliff edge, by abseiling down to the beach below to guide him, and how even the royal marines had to intervene to save the horse’s life.

Following on was Georgia, Bow Wow Dog Groomers in Clevedon. George explained the process of how she became a dog groomer, starting at Pets At Home and working her way up to a stylist position before starting her own business.

Georgia expressed how impressed she had been with multiple Weston College students who had visited her groomers for work experience, she was so happy with one student’s hard work and skill, that she employed her on a full-time basis.

Maxine Park, Subject Area Manager commented: “The teaching team would like to thank the industry guest speakers who gave up their time to impart their knowledge on the sector and inspire the next generation. The launch of the Animal Management Career Excellence Hub has brought a variety of new opportunities to our Animal Management students, and this paired with their campus being in the heart of Puxton, has given the students a chance to gain valuable hands on experience, preparing them with all of the tools they'll need to succeed in their educational journey to their chosen careers.”

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