Sparsholt College’s Andy Beer has recently returned from a trip to Latvia where he oversaw the signing of a new agreement at Riga Zoo. Signed by the Zoo’s Director, Rolands Greizins, the agreement will see our second international centre delivering the Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals; the first centre was previously launched at Al Bustan Zoological Centre in the United Arab Emirates.

The induction day saw the first eight learners from the Baltic region formally enrolled on the course – three keepers from Moscow zoo, two from Riga Zoo and one from Ligatne Nature Trails, as well as two trainee Vets at Riga Zoo, make up the new cohort.

The course is validated by City & Guilds and features two years of distance learning using our Virtual Learning Environment, LEDGE. This allows them to access the same e-resources as other keepers in different countries. Discussions and planning for the development of a training course for zoo keepers in Latvia and other neighbouring Baltic countries had been ongoing for some years.

The new agreement is particularly pleasing for us as a College as it signifies the extension of our influence and remit as the undisputed leader for Zoo training, not only in the UK but Europe as well; we are already exclusive partners with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) for the development and delivery of the national keeper training scheme.

You can read more about the new agreement in Andy Beer’s latest blog post.