Animals Prove Magic for Jessica

0 min read

29 February 2024

Jessica Chapman

Jessica Chapman (16) progressed to SERC from Portadown College following her GCSEs.

Jessica, who has a dog, a gecko, rabbits and guinea pigs at home, said, “I have always loved animals and always wanted to study something to do with animals.   It was my friend Grace - who I went to school with and who is also on the course - who discovered the Level 2 Traineeship NI in Animal Care at SERC and told me about it."   

I came along to the open day with Grace and her mum to find out more. She added, “I knew as soon as I saw the facilities and, in particular, the animal house, that I wanted to come here to study.   I love the biology but the best part of the course for me is the practical aspects.   We get to handle all the animals plus there is work experience built into the course.  I do my work experience at C and J’s Animal Park – a small petting zoo - in Portadown."

Speaking about what her work experience involves Jessica said, “I go in an hour before opening time to prepare for visitors, feed the animals and help clean and maintain the park.   When visitors arrive, we bring out the animals and talk about them to people of all ages from toddlers upward.   Visitors get to handle the animals, so I have to make sure I am always close by to help if needed."

Jessica said, “After the Level 2, I want to progress to the Level 3 in Animal Care.   My long-term ambition is to be a zoo keeper and for that I will need plenty of work experience as that is what employers will look for and what will give me the edge alongside a degree.   I don’t mind if I work here or abroad; I grew up watching the Steve Irwin, so it would be amazing to experience working in an Australian zoo but for now I am focussing on successfully completing my qualification and supporting that with valuable work experience and animal handling opportunities.” 

Apply now for courses commencing September 2024.  Come along to our full-time open evening from 4.00pm – 7.00pm on Thursday 7 March at the Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards Campuses.