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KIERA

Animal & Zoo Management

At 22, I decided to change career path into the animal industry and wanted a college that would happily welcome an older student. After visiting Sparsholt, I was thoroughly impressed with what past students had learnt and how many different species were kept here. Regular practical sessions and opportunities for volunteering and trips really won me over too.

It really has been two amazing years of my life meeting new friends, gaining contacts within the industry and obtaining so much new theoretical and practical knowledge to take away with me into my career. I have lots of highlights! One was when I overcame my fear of snakes and spiders – I will never forget holding a tarantula! The second was when I was selected for work experience at Marwell, and the third was our trip to Jersey Zoo.

The atmosphere in general is really welcoming. Everyone is supportive within class and willing to help each other outside of the classroom too. The most important skill I have learnt is to believe in myself – if you work hard, stay patient, focused and don’t give up, everything does work out well in the end!

The tutors are extremely knowledgeable and friendly and really want you to do well, so it is easy to ask them for help and to approach them for a chat.

I enjoyed using tools such as strimmers during our estate skills lessons – it was really useful learning how to use all of them and how they apply to the animal industry. I also really enjoyed the dissection lessons, using equipment to look more closely within different parts of an animal’s body.

I carried out a two week work placement at Marwell Zoo. I loved every minute of it – it really solidified what I wanted to do for a career and gave me an insight into what my future will be like. Extra opportunities here such as this work experience and volunteering have given me even more unique experience, which will help with my progression in the future.

I am continuing on to University Centre Sparsholt for the FdSc Applied Zoo Science degree and after that I am looking to progress into my dream job as a zoo keeper. Sparsholt has really given me the foundation knowledge to begin my career in the zoo industry. Without the practical and theoretical knowledge from the course and tutors, I definitely wouldn’t feel as confident going to university or applying for jobs.