Hartpury’s first-ever Animal Director Vicky May is aiming to enhance its reputation as a centre of excellence for animal studies and make it the number one destination for students looking for a career working with animals.
The former chair of the Canine Hydrotherapy Association has gained vast commercial and business experience working in the animal welfare and educational sectors for nearly two decades.
As the new Animal Director, she will ensure students on diploma and degree courses at Hartpury have access to state-of-the-art facilities, which currently include a canine hydrotherapy unit, an Animal Collection, dog grooming, and high-quality teaching resources.
“We know what employers need and what they look for, so in terms of an employability aspect it’s really important to make sure that our graduates leave here work-ready on day one,” explained Vicky.
“With employment in the animal industry being so sought after, we’re determined to make sure our students have the experience and skills that will set them apart from other candidates.
“It means that when students put Hartpury on their CV, employers can be confident they are employing someone from a centre of excellence for animal studies.
“We already have some superb facilities at Hartpury, but we’re now looking at making further investment to ensure we keep raising the bar.
“It’s very much about raising our profile and highlighting to prospective students that if you want to work with animals, Hartpury is very much the place to be.”
Hartpury has strong links with industry and is continually working with a range of stakeholders, providing students with opportunities to gain experience on work placements in the UK and abroad.
Recent graduates from Hartpury have progressed into professional roles with organisations such as the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Blue Cross and Bristol Zoo.
“Our students are able to work with a variety of different species, including meerkats, skunks and wallabies, which allows them to develop their knowledge and experience of best practice and working routines,” added Vicky.
“Animal welfare is very important to everyone at Hartpury and we’re committed to maintaining the very highest standards of care and continually looking at ways in which we can improve.”
Picture: Vicky May