Eighteen of our Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management students were privileged to spend part of this summer studying and traveling within the Shamwari Game Reserve, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

This amazing two week opportunity, which opened our students’ eyes to the range of issues facing conservationists, was organised by our animal management department in partnership with gap year specialists Worldwide Experience.

This was the first time such an ambitious study tour had been offered to Further Education students and proved extremely popular, with 47 original applicants being whittled down to 18 who made the final selection.

The students, selected from all year groups and including five aged under 18, had a superb experience working alongside rangers on practical tasks and helping to collect data on the many species of animals in the reserve. Highlights included watching a pair of lions on a warthog kill and observing a 30-strong herd of elephants.

During preparations for the trip, travelling lecturers and the students collected an impressive 70 kilos (two large suitcases) of items including art materials and books which were delivered for the use of schools and groups for the elderly.  This kind gesture was due to generous donations from staff across many departments and was much appreciated by the host communities.

Advanced Animal Management Practitioner Hayley Worsfold, who accompanied the group said: “The highlight for me was seeing our students applying the knowledge and skills they’d gained at college in real life situations. This trip has helped them to form their own opinions based on fact and personal experience and could well influence their career choices in the future.”

Programme Leader Nick Haywood, who also travelled with the students, commented:  “The study tour was a fantastic experience, providing the students with real hands on conservational experience and a chance to make a different to the local communities. The new gardens and fencing will be there for years to come.”

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