Partnership a roaring success

A debut partnership between DZG and Dudley College is proving a hands-on success for Animal Care and Management students.

Throughout a six month period 68 college students spent four-week placements working alongside Dudley Zoo keepers and Education staff in a project believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Students’ mornings were spent cleaning enclosures, preparing food and learning what it takes to be a zookeeper. Afternoons saw theory sessions with Presenter Becky Iwahashi in the Discovery Centre education block covering enclosure design, nutrition and diet, and enrichment. Animal Care training including handling mammals, reptiles and invertebrates was also covered and students rotated sections, working on Farm, Birds, Ungulates, Primates and Education.   Becky said: “Some students also had the chance to participate in our daily talks programme, giving them confidence in their public speaking skills and another high point was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity helping Bird staff hand rear highly endangered baby Humboldt penguins!”   DZG?CEO?Peter Suddock, said: “The DZG / Dudley College placement scheme is the only programme in the country between a zoo and neighbouring college running Animal Care and Management courses and has proved a big success in its first year.    “The placements offer an insight into the management of a leading modern animal collection and have been extremely rewarding for the majority of students – many now wish to become zookeepers themselves one day – and the physical experience has offered an accurate view of zookeeping. Students are also able to take advantage of the chance to ask keepers about the collection, and receive invaluable advice on how to achieve their dream job of working with animals.”   Animal Care student Gary Hardyman, 16, of West Bromwich, said: “Working at DZG brings learning to life; no day is the same – how good is that?”   Twenty-one-year-old Sam Miller, of Dudley, said:?”I love the days at the zoo and have finally found what I want to do. I wasn’t expecting to work with such a range of animals, and getting this amount of experience really helps to build your confidence.”   CAPTION: TOP: Hands-on learning: Animal Care and Management students from Dudley College with DZG Presenter Becky Iwahashi (back, from left) Phil Partridge (Dudley College staff), Brett Bennett, Kelly Fillingham, Jack Farmer, Lorena Russell (front left) Dan Smith and Bronwyn Riese.    ABOVE LEFT: Kelly Fillingham, aged 18, from Sedgle