Students Jetting Off To The States

Three very lucky students from East Durham College will be jetting off to America on an exciting work experience opportunity this summer. Katie Neesam, 18, Danielle Whitley, 17, both from Hartlepool and Bekki Mullett, 17, from Darlington are flying off stateside on 11th July.

All three girls are on the first year of an Animal Management National Diploma (Level 3) at the Houghall Campus, near Durham, and will be off on a 3-week work experience placement at The Conservators’ Centre in North Carolina, Mebane, USA. The Conservators’ Center is a non-profit organisation that conserves threatened species through responsible captive breeding, rescuing wildlife in need, and providing educational programs and support worldwide.

The girls will be helping with different tasks such as feeding, cleaning, watering and enrichment activities with different species of wild cats, wild dogs and primates, such as; tigers, lions, wolves, leopards, lemurs and many more.

Katie said, ‘It was a real case of fate. I had been emailing a number of UK zoos trying to get a work experience placement and emailed the Conservation Center not realising it was in America. When they came back to us and said we could have a placement it was fantastic but we then had to work out how we could raise the money to go!’

Danielle added, ‘We are really pleased with how the fundraising is going. We have done a number of fundraising activities such as; bag packing, an Easter raffle, candle party and we hope to have a stall at the Houghall Campus open day on Sunday 17th May. We want to raise as much money as possible towards our experience.’

Bekki said, ‘The owner of the centre will be renting a house for us and the American work experience students to live in - so that will be a great part of the experience too.’

Lecturer John Reid commented, “Work experience is an important part of the course and students take up a wide range of placements, including veterinary practices, grooming parlours, sea-life centres and zoos. However this is a chance in a life-time, and the students should be congratulated on their initiative.”