Lee Barnett is a student on Step 2 Animal Care. This is his third year at Moulton; he previously completed the Rural Skills programme within the General Education Subject Area. Lee is on the autistic spectrum and has grown a great deal in confidence over his time at Moulton College. Below, he shares a typical day on the course.
“On a Monday, our first lesson is commercial experience. This is like work experience – we complete lots of different tasks. This week we had to make sure the reptiles had been fed. I worked with the vorax (like a gecko) and the bearded dragon. In other weeks we’ve cleaned and fed other animals, for example the tortoises. Sometimes we have to record the information so that the technicians know which animals have been fed.
After that, we have a directed study lesson in the LRC. This gives us a chance to work on any assignments which have been set, or referred assignments which need a few improvements. If we are up to date, we usually work on a research task to improve our study skills.
After lunch we have a lesson in breeds and grooming. We’ve learnt about natural selection and different breeding processes, as well as thinking about genetics and breeding desirable traits into a breed, and undesirable traits out.
Our last lesson of the day is another practical where we look at accommodation for the animals and feeding different species. We work with lots of the animals including the sugar gliders, the porcupines and the meerkats. We’ve also created some enrichment opportunities for the animals, which is basically toys and activities which keep them busy and active during the day.
Our other day on the Animal Welfare Centre is a Thursday, where we do more theory and practical work. We study a unit on the care of exotic animals and this is really interesting as we observe the behaviours of some more unusual animals. We’ve also looked at some basic first aid and bandaging for the animals.
The Animal Welfare Centre is really good. There are so many different animals – mongooses, pygmy marmosets, Asian palm civets and iguanas to name just a few. There are lots of different rooms as well, including the twilight room, the exotics room, the aquatic room, and the ACI (amphibians, crustaceans and invertebrates) room, as well as rooms for rodents and reptiles, the outdoor unit and rearing room.
On the other two days of the week, we work towards our maths and English skills, and also work on units in Employability and Personal Development – like study skills and careers. We study lots of different things in these sessions but I have enjoyed some of the volunteering projects we have done. At the start of the year we cleared up trees and branches at the Brampton Valley Way.
I think the best thing about the course is having the opportunity to see so many different animals in real life, instead of just reading about them and looking at pictures.”