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Preston pupils ‘earn their stripes’ during zookeeping course at Blackpool Zoo

Posted on - 5th August, 2022 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Fulwood, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Schools, Sharoe Green, UCLan, Wildlife and Conservation
Future Zoo students feeding the penguins at Blackpool Zoo

Around 70 local students have attended Blackpool Zoo to join a course and learn about careers in wildlife conservation.

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Pupils from Corpus Christi Catholic High School in Fulwood and Cardinal Newman College in Preston city centre participated in a series of career sessions at the zoo, learning about the zoology degree pathway and the nature of conservation jobs.

The sessions, funded by Future U, aim to support pupils as they explore careers they previously thought were out of reach.

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Students conducted research experiments at Myerscough College

Jessica Richmond, Senior Outreach Officer at Future U, said: “Future Zoo offered learners an exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into careers and experience towards gaining entry to further education and higher education courses.

“I was blown away by their dedication and work, judged by colleagues at the zoo.

“We are grateful to our partners for their contribution to the programme, which collectively offered a well-rounded programme for all Future Zoo participants.

“Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to staying in touch with learners to see how they progress in the future.”

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The students helped clean out and feed the elephants and giraffes, fed the penguins and trained the sea lions, learning about the work to support conservation.

The students learned about routes to zoology careers by attending a Lancaster University webinar on ecology and conservation courses, conducting research experiments with Myerscough College and visiting the University of Central Lancashire to hear from academics at the new veterinary school.

After winning a gold award for education from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) in 2020, the course has been expanded to include college students.

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Rebecca Reynolds, the head of education at Blackpool Zoo, said: “It has been a great pleasure working alongside Future U on the Future Zoo programme and an incredible privilege sharing our zoo world with the students.

“Over two days, we have witnessed students become enthused, inspired and ignited by the possibility of working with and caring for animals.

“Learning through experience and having the opportunity to be close to a giraffe, elephant and other exotic species sparked an interest in the students that changed their perception of the choices available to them.

“Our evaluation has proved this programme has an enormous impact on their sense of well-being and their future aspirations by providing them with memories that will last a lifetime.”

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Future U is part of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students, and encourages school pupils across Lancashire to consider higher education and future careers.

It involves institutions and organisations across the county, including the University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University, Edge Hill University and the University of Cumbria.

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