Cambridge Regional College - Centre of Vocational Excellence

Katie is inspired for her future thanks to some four legged friends

A dog day care centre has been the stepping stone of inspiration for student Katie Spence who is focused for her future thanks to ‘the best work experience placement I could have dreamt of.’

The 18 year old Level 3 Business student has a long term goal of setting up her own dog day care setting and in the meantime has been offered an apprenticeship with Barkley Grange in Hilton.

Katie now plans to add an animal welfare qualification to her skill set to help her achieve her goal.

Katie Spence is enjoying her time at Barkley Grange apprentice

Katie, who studied at the CRC Huntingdon campus, said: “I’ve always loved dogs from a young age but had no idea that my Labrador Roxy, and Labrador cross German Shepherd Milly, would help find my future career path.

“When I began the Business Level 3 course I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or where to go for work experience.

“However, my college tutors knew I loved dogs, so it was them who suggested work experience at Barkley Grange in Hilton.

“I jumped at the chance. It’s the ideal place for me. Every day being round all these different dogs, from Great Danes to sausage dogs, it was like heaven.”

One of the Barkley Grange dogs chilling out

One of the Barkley Grange dogs chilling out

Katie enjoyed her twice weekly sessions and grew in confidence and in ambition.

She said: “The business course lecturers teach students how to run a small business, while the weekly practical experience helps us work out what we want to do.

“Everyone at college and Barkley Grange have been really supportive.

“I came to CRC not knowing what my future held and have finished this year focused on the way forward.”

Sophie Rule, who set up Barkley Grange in 2012, said: “It’s been lovely to watch Katie grow in confidence and skills.

“Katie is growing in confidence and under supervision of senior staff members is able to exercise and play with the dogs, and also encourage dogs to the use the enrichment equipment in the field and day care setting.

“We’ve offered her an apprenticeship as we can see she genuinely loves the animals and her role here.

“Long term work experience students like Katie and apprenticeships work really well because it allows students to settle in at a slower pace and grow into the role.

“It also means students can be trained specifically for the job. Our last apprentice has moved up into a supervisor role so it shows how successful this route into work can be.”


Indoors at Barkley Grange

Indoors at Barkley Grange

Some of the four legged friends at Barkley Grange

Some of the four legged friends at Barkley Grange






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