The college recently celebrated the opening of the new Small Animal Care Centre at their Huntingdon Campus. It has been refurbished and redeveloped to provide excellent facilities for the supported learning students and the animals in their care.
This new facility provides a great environment for the supported learners on the Animal Care course. The Small Animal Care Centre now offers two classrooms, an animal area, a utility room, kitchen and food and feed area. There is a staff kitchen and a breakout area for students to use as well as some offices, two accessible toilets and a shower. Outside there is a large garden area which is going to be redeveloped over the forthcoming year as part of the students’ real life learning project.
Jeremy Lloyd, Assistant Principal SEND, said: “The aim here is for real life learning environments to come together so that students blend learning and practical development. At the centre students learn how to meet the animals’ needs, they work as a team and gain employability skills. It helps with their communication and interaction with each other and with the animals which is brilliant.
“The skills that the students are developing here with the guinea pigs, the rats, the hamsters, the rabbits, and the tropical fish help them to appreciate caring for others, caring for animals, caring for the environment, and what that entails. It’s about lifecycle, responsibility and preparing for adulthood.”
Each of the students have their favourite animals to look after. The Small Animal Care Centre residents include Casanova the Guinea Pig, Sky the Rat and the two tropical fish Wan and Kenobi.
The students are on CRC’s Supported Learning Animal Care course which offers young people aged 16-25 with special educational needs the opportunity to develop personal and social skills as well as specific animal care skills. Working with small animals on the Huntingdon Campus and farm animals including horses on CRC’s partner farm in Hilton, St Ives, young people have at least one day per week developing practical animal care skills.
College-based days focus on exploring different animal habitats including conservation and the natural world as well as working on wood craft to maintain habitats and develop enterprise skills for employability.
Gordon Baines, Supported Learning Lecturer, said: “It all goes back to the life skills that we teach the students here in terms of how they are looking after the animals. What they are doing is all part of the bigger picture, giving them the skills for life after college.”
The Animal Care programme is available on CRC’s Cambridge and Huntingdon campuses. More information can be found on Supported Learning: Animal Care – Cambridge Regional College (camre.ac.uk).