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Katie Smith

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Care

"After completing the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management at the Holme Lacy Campus, I went to study the Foundation Degree in Zoological Management at Bristol Zoo verified by the University of Gloucester.

I really love Bristol as a city and I like that the course is based in the zoo. A lot of the lectures were from the keepers there. The two-year foundation degree and then the one-year top-up are great for me because I can split my studies and have a break in-between. Having completed my first two years I am going to Australia for a year to work doing dog training as well as volunteering before carrying on with the top-up. My theoretical studies on the Level 3 course prepared me really well for university. When I arrived I already knew how to reference academically and how to write effective assignments.

For the work experience element of my degree I chose to work at a charity in Romania that I follow on Facebook. In their simplest form the charity ‘Barking Mad Dog Rescue’ take in stray dogs that would otherwise be put down by the government and they then attempt to rehome them in the UK and Germany. They were also involved in projects where dogs had been hoarded in poor conditions. I mostly worked on husbandry tasks, taking care of the dogs which included grooming, walking and clicker training.

My studies at Holme Lacy couldn’t have prepared me better and I ended up teaching some of my skills to the other staff at the charity. My confidence around the animals and my knowledge of animal behaviour was a real asset to me. It was a very eye-opening experience for me and made me realise how much I get from volunteering. I came home very motivated and humbled from the experience.”