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BLOG | IoW College Animal Care visit to University Centre Sparsholt


By Feiron Walsh and Anna Philpot, Progression Mentors

On Monday 4 July 2022, Feiron Walsh (SUN Progression Mentor, Isle of Wight College) visited the University Centre Sparsholt with students from the Isle of Wight College (IWC), studying Level 3 Year 1 of their Animal Management course. This collaborative visit was arranged by Feiron, who worked closely with Anna Philpot (SUN Progression Mentor, at Sparsholt College Group).  The aim of the visit was to show the students that from their Level 3 there is a progression route that could be for them. The opportunity to arrange the visit was made so much easier as I was able to collaborate with Anna. Her knowledge of the university and the right people to see was so helpful and much appreciated.

The IWC students had some knowledge of the University Centre Sparsholt, and the higher education programme offered but had not visited and seen the offer first hand. Visiting the campus gave the students so much more perspective, seeing the place that they could continue to learn in an environment they all want to gain employment in one day. The benefit of being able to meet with the tutors and get a real understanding of what was required to study Animal Care Level 4 courses using some of their existing skills, was really encouraging and motivating for the students. They were able to participate in an observation, something they had done on their current programme of study but this time, at a higher level of research and with different animals. Each student in a pair selected an animal in one of the enclosures, using a timed experiment to evaluate space and environment, to ensure the needs of the animal were met.  This research and activity would be used in many of the employment areas that the students may eventually work in. Another useful outcome from the visit was that it has enabled students to think about various subject areas within the animal sector, that they could focus their next level of studies on, for example aquatics, veterinary nursing, or equine science.

The evaluation from the trip was very positive from the students, if there had have been more time they would have loved to have stayed longer and seen more of the university. One of the questions in the evaluation was:  Did todays’ activities help give you a better understanding of the opportunities available to you for your progression? 100% answered Yes.  

Anna Philpot, SUN Progression Mentor at Sparsholt College Group:
It was wonderful to host the Isle of Wight College and give the students an insight into some of the animal and land-based courses at University Centre Sparsholt. Liaising with Feiron, the SUN Progression Mentor at the Isle of Wight college, made organising the trip easy and effective. When planning the taster day, we discussed what the students wanted to see at Sparsholt and what would be beneficial for their progression journey. The higher education team at Sparsholt were most accommodating and we designed the day around the Isle of Wight College’s requests and student interests.

All the staff at Sparsholt commented on how respectful, engaged, and brilliant the visiting students were. The success of the day has sparked interest in further collaboration with local colleges, as it was rewarding to see how much the students enjoyed the activities and exploring different progression options.
Anna Philpot
SUN Progression Mentor at Sparsholt College Group

Feiron Walsh
Anna Philpot