A new home in Hertfordshire for all creatures great and small

19 December 2012

The College recently opened its doors to a new Habitat Centre. A state of the art Animal Care facility set to continue the long established reputation for Land Based Industries at the College.

Oaklands has travelled a long way since its original days in the 1920s, when it opened as an Agricultural Institute to First Wold War ex-service men under the Officers’ Agricultural Training Scheme and to the Women’s Land Army members.

Since then, Oaklands has developed a wide range of learning opportunities all while retaining its agricultural heart. It is now one of the largest FE College’s in the UK and has a breadth of offerings including elite academy sport with Saracens and Arsenal, alongside Engineering, Construction and a nationally recognised special needs provision.

The Habitat investment shows the determination of the College to maintain its deep roots in Land Based Industries, investing in the most modern learning environment where possible. Through the new centre the Animal Care department has revolutionised the delivery of practical sessions, improving both the standard and the nature of the students’ experience.

Housing over 200 animals, from rabbits and spiny mice to bearded dragons and waxy monkey frogs
Oaklands encourages and aids students to take full ownership of the centre and how it is run, allowing them to gain a true understanding of the industry standard.

Also part of the habitat centre is the College’s own dog grooming parlour. A service that is open to the public, the parlour enables students to develop practical skills in animal grooming in a commercial environment using relevant practical and theory lessons.

The unit provides Animal Care students with valuable practical experience in handling and husbandry skills. The new building also incorporates a complex of teaching rooms, and fully equipped animal suites that can be adapted to suit the needs of the more exotic species, including the nocturnal sugar gliders. The Animal Care department also makes full use of the College’s 265 acres of land, including farmland, with its range of livestock including cows, pigs, sheep and horses.

With close links to zoos including Whipsnade, students have also reaped the benefits of work experience, which is now evermore important in an increasingly tough job market. The extensive facilities are used to deliver a range of full-time and part-time courses in animal care, veterinary nursing, dog grooming and canine related subjects. From introductory programmes through to Foundation Degrees.

Teaching staff come from a wide range of animal industry experience, including veterinary surgery and nursing, dog training, animal charities and safari parks. The team also has graduates of several disciplines including agriculture, animal science & behaviour and wildlife conservation.