14 March 2024

Lucy’s new skills are giving her chances for the future

Lucy, 23, is currently completing her Silver DofE Award at East Coast College in Norfolk. She has been able to use her DofE Award and particularly the Volunteering section, to not only make meaningful changes within her college but to gain valuable experience that she can put towards her future career goal of becoming a zookeeper.

Lucy has chosen taxidermy for her Skills section at both Bronze and Silver, where she has learnt about preserving species and animal anatomy. She has progressed to work on her own projects and learnt about the protocols involved including keeping yourself safe and the resources required.

For her Volunteering section at Bronze, Lucy was able to further develop her knowledge of animals through volunteering at an animal care farm. As part of this, she was able to share her knowledge and passion for animals by supporting young people with additional needs who visited the farm to do small tasks and improve their understanding of animals, something she really enjoyed.

For her Silver Volunteering, Lucy chose to become a Student Ambassador for her college, while continuing with several animal-related volunteering opportunities and work experience in her spare time. Through this role, she gained confidence speaking to her peers at college, and was able to make a meaningful change, by reducing the cost of food in the college canteen to make it more affordable for her fellow students.

Read her story.

“I was always fascinated by animals, so learning about animal anatomy through taxidermy, articulation and wet specimens immediately caught my interest! I’ve been working on these projects for about four years now. It requires a lot of knowledge but also commitment and perseverance to keep going. I’m excited to keep expanding my knowledge and skills in this area since completing my Animal Management Level 3, and one-day hope to become a zookeeper.

I was able to further develop my knowledge of animals through my Bronze Volunteering section, where I volunteered at Pathways Care Farm. As part of my role, I supported young people with additional needs to get involved with the farm, understanding their needs and overcoming communication barriers for effective teamwork. I would always try and make the sessions fun, for example by turning a task into a game. Interacting with the animals and supporting other young people really benefitted my mental wellbeing, knowledge of animals, and teamwork and communication skills.

For my Silver Volunteering section, I chose to be a Student Ambassador at East Coast College, speaking on behalf of other students to ensure that student voice is heard and influence decision making and policies within the college. I’ve gained confidence in this role because I now regularly approach other students to ask about their experience and communicate this feedback to our senior college leaders. One change for the students that I have been able to positively influence is the affordability of canteen food. This involved several meetings with students and the kitchen manager, but eventually we reached a decision and made a positive change so that the food in the college
canteen is more affordable for fellow students.

In my spare time I also now volunteer at Africa Alive Reserve and have taken part in various courses to help gain qualifications in the world of animal management, including a Kick Start Scheme work placement at Lowestoft Canine Crèche. My future career aspiration is to become a zookeeper and I am confident that my DofE work, alongside my other qualifications and work experience, will support me in achieving this ambition.”

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