Plans revealed for £1.4m Weston College training hub

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 August 2019

Alistair Mead, managing director of Puxton Park, and Weston College principal Dr Paul Phillips. Picture: Puxton Park

Alistair Mead, managing director of Puxton Park, and Weston College principal Dr Paul Phillips. Picture: Puxton Park

Archant

More than £1million will be spent building a training facility at Puxton Park, with hopes of developing the next generation of nature experts.

Weston College and Puxton Park have recently formed a partnership which will see students benefit from access to the tourist attraction's facilities - and the relationship will be bolstered with the creation of a £1.4million animal management education centre.

The college has received close to £1million in funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP) Local Growth Fund.

The grant will be put towards the creation of the 2,050sqm building, which will boast two classrooms, an IT suite and an office.

College principal Dr Paul Phillips believes the skills students will hone at Puxton Park - which is home to a wide range of domestic, farm and exotic animals - will boost their employability.

He said: "Puxton Park is an outstanding and well-known venue, boasting a huge range of facilities, resources and animals.

"This innovative and exciting partnership provides a wealth of opportunities for learners, to develop practical skills with species to suit everyone's interests from reptiles to large farm animals through to birds of prey.

"With future skills gaps identified and the excellent access of Puxton Park on the A370, this partnership will allow us to develop our animal management provision and provide learners throughout the region with the skills they need to succeed in this exciting industry."

Alistair Mead, Puxton Park's managing director, added: "Over the past 12 years, the park has grown in many ways. However our roots as a place of learning and growth are deeply ingrained in everything we offer which is why we feel so passionate about supporting and working with future veterinary nurses, animal keepers, animal scientists, farmers and vets."

With the animal care sector set to grow by 12 per cent in the next five years, the LEP believes the grant will prove a wise investment.

Its chairman Steve West said: "It meets increased demand and provides a sustainable future for high-quality education programmes aimed at meeting employers' needs in the West of England.

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