A NEW Animal Management Discovery Centre will open at BCoT in September – offering new and improved learning facilities for students.

With courses in Animal Management becoming increasingly popular, the college has responded to student demand by investing in new-build facilities and by refurbishing the existing unit.

The new areas will feature zoo-style exhibits in the STEM building foyer, including a 2,500-litre marine aquarium.

The piranhas will also have a new home in a purpose-built Amazon exhibit in the aquatic room.

The existing Animal House will house a creepy crawly room, a specialist reptile and amphibian room and a pet shop room for the mammal collection.

“We are all very excited about the new facilities and the opportunities these will bring to the students,” said Matthew Simonds, lecturer in Animal Management at BCoT.

“We will have a brand new outside area which will include aviaries, ferrets, rabbit runs and a mini wildlife rehabilitation area to house injured hedgehogs that are not able to be released back into the wild.”

Within the new BCoT gardens, there will also be a wild bird garden and new ecological projects, including beekeeping.

As a result of the new facilities, the Animal Management department at BCoT will be able to accommodate twice the number of existing animals, and to a higher welfare standard.

Students will gain an increasing amount of practical experience at college, while still working with off-site partners at Birdworld, 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park and Mill Cottage Farm Experience.

Matthew said: “By September, we will be able to increase practical activities for our students and focus on vocational scenarios and work experience within the animal management industry, such as retail (pet shops) and zoological exhibits (exotic and marine collections).

“We believe our students will really benefit from these new learning areas, and we hope to set the standard for other vocational colleges.”