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New kids at college are a hit

Posted: 12 March 2024

Two new kids at West Nottinghamshire College are settling into their environment well, with plenty of activities, attention and straw in their shed.

These new recruits are actually goats and are the latest addition to the college’s animal care curriculum.

Two-year-old male pygmy goats Galaxy and Jerry are enjoying life in their specially created paddock, which was developed in 2022 thanks to funding from national social enterprise, Volunteer it Yourself (VIY).

Up to 50 animal care and employability students worked with VIY mentors in the winter of 2022 to turn a grassed area of the animal unit’s garden into land suitable for the goats. It needed to offer a hard-standing areas, sheds for shelter and feeing and a secure boundary fence.

And now this area is being fully-utilised by the goats, which is helping animal care students understand the habits, behaviours and needs of small mammals when they work on their course assignments.

Beginners’ Certificate in Animal Care Level 1 student, Zoe Offley, said: “We’re enjoying settling the new goats in – they’re real characters. We have to ensure that they have plenty of enrichment, so we have large tyres and pallets for them to climb and footballs and a treat ball to play with.”

Programme area leader for Level 1 Animal Care studies, Stacey Allcock, said: “Our students are getting to know the goats well and are learning how to clean them and feed them appropriately. They’re fed every morning with hay, and they get walks on the leads on our college fields.

“Other students from the college will be getting to meet them throughout our animal unit tours this month which is helping our students to gain confidence with the public.

“The tours of the unit are enhancing students’ skills such as speaking in public, problem-solving, time management and leadership skills.

“We’re looking forward to plans later in the year to have members of the public come along for animal encounter days. Our Level 3 students will use this business model to form their learning company and bring in a small income.”

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