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South Staffordshire College take on Halesowen College in animal enrichment competition

June 2023

Learners from Rodbaston College and Halesowen College in enrichment competition

South Staffordshire College were thrilled to welcome learners from Halesowen College to Rodbaston College yesterday to take part in a friendly animal enrichment competition.

Animal care learners from both colleges were tasked with creating enrichment activities for the meerkats and prairie dogs who live at Rodbaston Animal Zone.

Following the build, the designs were judged by the resident meerkats and prairie dogs to see which activity they liked best, as well as by external judge Leanne Ashford from VetSkill. Leanne considered the overall design of the enrichment as well as the longevity of the build before crowning one of the teams from Halesowen College, the winners of the competition.

Caroline Walker, Head of Division Animal Management from Halesowen College said “Halesowen College were delighted to be invited to the first Intercollege Competition. The eight l8 Level 3 extended diploma students who attended were very impressed with the facilities at Rodbaston College and thoroughly enjoyed the enrichment building activity. The students showed great maturity at working in groups and all completed a successful build. The winning team were delighted to have been selected and especially loved their meerkat toys!”

Rodbaston Animal Zone, Manager, Beth Watkin said “hosting the competition was a great opportunity to get the learners from both colleges together to build some exciting new enrichment items for our animals. It was great to see the learners work together and, with a little bit of healthy competition, produce some really impressive builds. The meerkats and prairie Dogs definitely approved. Well done to all of the teams, and we can’t wait to host Halesowen College again next year.

Will Sibley, Curriculum Manager for animal management said “Congratulations to Halesowen for winning, but I was exceptionally proud of all the learners who took part.  A big thank you to the wonderful college staff who supported both sets of learners and our sponsor VetSkill, without either, this inaugural championship may not have happened. As a championship we wanted to win the trophy and the learners were disappointed to not get the result.  However, the true joy of the competition was to create an event that applied an industry pressure test on the learners to help us evaluate their work readiness.  I was delighted by their efforts and tenacity for the task, it left me very confident that all the learners who took part will enter our industry as excellent practitioners. Caroline and I have already started discussing how we can make the challenges bigger and more exciting for the learners next year.  But I must warn Halesowen, we are coming for the trophy!!!”