Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal officially opened the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership funded Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre (AHWRC) at Sparsholt College, near Winchester.
EM3 invested £1.5 million in the £2,5m project, to modernise and double the size of the centre, which involved match funding provided by the college.
The AHWRC, first established in 1997, offers training and research facilities for students doing post GCSE (16+) courses, apprenticeships, DMZAA (Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals), degree and Master’s level qualifications.
The new centre will advance welfare practices with the use of digital technology, adding to the range of techniques, skills and industry know-how of graduating students.
The Princess Royal, accompanied by Sparsholt College Group Principal and CEO Julie Milburn, toured new housing for companion animals and enclosures for zoo animals along with the refurbished Veterinary Nursing Training Centre.
She met with students and staff and was able to enter the Ringtailed and Black Lemur enclosure to learn about research projects. She also saw other species in the collection, such as Red Pandas, Porcupines and Pademelon, before unveiling of a commemorative plaque for the Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre.
EM3 Joint Managing Director Stephen Martin said: “Enterprise M3 is delighted to have played a key role in helping to fund the Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre at Sparsholt College, from the Local Growth Fund (LGF).”
“Animal health is an important and growing, high-value sector in the EM3 region, and has been recognised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) as a High Potential Opportunity (HPO). It is fantastic that Sparsholt, over the next five years, will grow the numbers trained at its Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre and provide facilities for 600 more high skilled learners over and above its current student numbers including at least 250 apprentices.”
Julie Milburn said: “The Animal Health Welfare and Research Centre facilities comprise a combination of new build and refurbished buildings. This has enabled the small animals to be housed in the new companion buildings, creating space and opportunity to extend the collection of zoo mammals on site. In addition, we have a new animal hydrotherapy suite, a facility at the forefront of animal welfare.”
“This facility now delivers qualifications in animal management, zoo and veterinary nursing to approximately 1,500 students on an annual basis studying from entry level up to level seven, that’s post graduate study. 25% of these students are undertaking a higher level qualification, that’s level 4 and above. This simply would not have been possible without the investment made by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and we are extremely grateful for their support.”
Sparsholt Collage, Westley Lane
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