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Learners start rat training programme

ProCo’s Animal Care and Land-based department has welcomed three nine-week-old rats, Daphne, Willow and Poppy.

Our school groups will be able to handle the rats during practical lessons as well as observe their behaviour and understand their living conditions.  

Once the new additions settle into their new environment, our school groups will train the rats using a clicker. Clicker training is an animal behaviour training method which uses positive reinforcement to teach the animals.  The sound of the clicker tells the animal that it is doing the right thing.

Training the rats will form part of our pre-16 school provision.

For more information about our school provision visit: pre-16 provision


Learners visit South Lakes Zoo

ProCo’s Level Three Animal Care learners visited South Lakes Zoo to conduct an observation on the primates.

As part of their Animal Behaviour unit, the learners were tasked with conducting an ethogram on the primates, focusing particularly on instinctive and learned behaviour and aggressive and submissive behaviour.

Each learner listed and described the different types of animal behaviour they observed whilst at the zoo.

Animal Care tutor, Helen Murphy said: “It was beneficial for the learners to observe the primates behaviour first hand. The learners obtained a lot of data from observing the animals to help with their assignment.”


Veterinary nurse apprentices prepare for their final assessments

Our Level Three Veterinary Nursing apprentices have been preparing for their practical assessments to become qualified veterinary nurses.

A range of assessment stations were set up in the classroom for the apprentices to practice the practical assessments, which they will complete in the summer. 

Veterinary Nursing tutor, Emma Dalton, also timed the apprentices completing two assessments in order for them to practice completing assessments under timed conditions.

The practical assessments include:

  • Theatre practise task: identify surgical instruments.

  • Use a microscope and identify parasites.

  • Tube feed a cat and calculate the amount of food needed.

  • Sterilising surgical instruments.

  • Groom and handle a restrained horse.

  • Correctly put on sterile gloves and gown.

  • Apply eight different ways of a applying bandages

  • Dispense medicine.

  • Set up an x ray on.

In addition to the practical assessments, the apprentices will also complete a written exam.

ProCo is enrolling another Level Three Veterinary Nursing Diploma class in April 2015. For more details visit: Level Three Veterinary Nursing

ProCo raises awareness of teenage abuse

ProCo has raised awareness of the signs and effects of teenage abuse by organising a talk from Wigan Council’s young people’s violence advisor worker, Damien Munroe.

Damien spoke to ProCo learners about the signs and effects of teenage abuse and how they should report it.

Shannon Fillingham, Motor Vehicle learner at ProCo, said: "The talk was very informative; it gave lots of examples of different kinds of abuse and explained what you should do if you are being abused."

Helen Brown, ProCo’s Safeguarding Officer, added: "The welfare of our learners is paramount. It is vital that that our learners understand the different types of abuse and how they should report it."

Animal Care learners debate about animal ethics

ProCo’s Level three Animal care learners took part in an online debate about the ethics of keeping certain animals in captivity, as part of their Animal Ethics unit.

The idea of conversation vs. captivity is a major debate in the Animal Care industry and one which our learners have been studying about in their class.

Using our Moodle programme our learners were able to debate with class members about the topics and give reasons to justify their answers.

Helen Murphy, Animal Care tutor, said: “The learners enjoyed using a familiar and up-to-date media to express their ideas. Even the snow didn’t interrupt the lesson as learners who could not travel to cour centre due to the snow logged in from home to take part in the debate.”


Animal Care learners conduct behavioural observation

ProCo’s Level three Animal Care learners have conducted a behavioural observation as part of their independent research in Animal Behaviour.

The learners have been tasked with comparing the behaviour of a wolf with the behaviour of a dog. After completing online research on a wolf’s behaviour, the learners observed the behaviour of three dogs: a Chihuahua, a Papillion, and a Pekingese and will use their research to produce an ethogram.

The dogs were free to explore their surroundings whilst the learners were stood in a cordoned off area, away from the dogs, whilst observing their behaviour.

Learners took videos and made notes on the dogs’ behaviour which they will then compare to the behaviour of a wolf.

Helen Murphy, Animal Care tutor, explained that "the learners enjoy putting a practical slant on the science of ethology.”

This is the first year ProCo has run a Level three course and taught Animal Behaviour.

Sarah Gartland, Animal Care learner, said: “The observation was really enjoyable. It’s good to have a hands-on experience with animals and see animal behaviour first-hand.”

Steph Molyneux, Animal Care learner, added: “I found the observation was very interesting and it helped me so much with my assignment.”


Learners get an insight into life as an RSPCA Officer

RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer, Alison Wilford visited ProCo to speak to our Animal Care learners about her career journey and job role at the RSPCA. 

Alison, who studied a Higher National Diploma before working at the charity, explained her day-to-day jobs as an Animal Welfare Officer and some of the problems she faces.

She said: “You need a certain type of resilience and nature to do this job. It involves long hours and working night shifts.

“There can also be a lot of travelling on your own. One person can cover a very large area; my area of the North West covers Preston up to the Lake District.”

Alison also explained that paperwork and written statements are vital in her job role. “I always make notes when I have a call. It is very important to record everything to include in a written statement. I need to be accountable for everything that I do as the case may go to court.”

Despite the long hours and the travelling, Alison said that her job is very rewarding when rescue animals are re-homed.

Lucy Johnson, Information, Advice and Guidance Officer at ProCo, said: “It was great that Alison could speak to our Animal Care learners about her job.

“It gave our learners a good insight into what skills and qualities you need to be an Animal Welfare Officer as well as understanding what pressures a Welfare Officer may be under.”


Seddon Construction awards ProCo NW Learner

Construction Skills Learner, Kyle Golden has been awarded most improved construction learner at ProCo NW.

Kyle was nominated by plastering tutor, Dave Gee who said: "Kyle is a decent, honest young person who always does as he is told. He always gets on with his work and he is very trustworthy."

Ryan Jones, Project Manager at Seddon Construction, presents Kyle with a trophy and prize which was donated by the company.

Our picture shows: Project Manager at Seddon Construction, Ryan Jones, presenting Kyle Golden with his award.


Learner Forum launched

A Learner Forum has been launched at ProCo NW this month to help the training provider improve provision for learners.

Seven learners from different vocational areas sat with the Chief Executive, Carol Halford and Quality Manager, Jessica Nugent to share their views, opinions and discuss positives and suggest ways of improvement.

Each member of the learner forum has the responsibility of asking their classes views and suggestions and share these at the forum.

Feedback from the first Learner Forum is now being analysed by ProCo NW’s Quality team and will be fed back to staff and learners in the next few weeks.

The forum will take place every three months and the next forum is due to take place in February.


Construction bosses advise our construction learners

Leading figures in the construction industry spoke to our learners about their career path and future job opportunities in the industry.

Tony Costello and Ryan Jones from Seddon Construction, Tony Dougan from ISG, and Anthony Connor from LJ roofing, informed our learners about their career journey and how they progressed through the trade.

All four guest speakers started their careers as apprentices and have worked their way up and progressed through learning whilst working.

Our guests also gave advice about what qualities they look for in an apprentice and how to impress in interviews.

Lucy Johnson, Information, Advice and Guidance Officer at ProCo NW said: "It is a great opportunity for our learners to have a chance to speak to representatives from Seddon and ISG and learn how they progressed in the construction industry.

"Our learners found the speeches interesting and it was beneficial for them to see how completing one of our study programme courses can lead to job opportunities in large construction companies."


Animal Care learners awarded Health & Safety Certificate

Our Level 1 Animal Care learners have passed their health and safety certificate as part of their study programme course.

Shannon Lucas, Adam Curran, Liam Ashcroft, Alisha Turner, Dillon Prior, Megan Scrivens, Liam O’Toole, Lewis Gaskell, Bradley Dove, Jessica Hudson, Nicole Bamber, Katie Bladen all completed the certificate – a mandatory unit of their Animal Care course.

To achieve the certificate learners had to complete an online health and safety exam after attending theory sessions for the unit.

Congratulations and well done to our learners.

Our picture shows (left-to right) Lewis Gaskell, Liam Ashcroft, Nicole Bamber, Alisha Turner, Shannon Lucas, Dillon Prior and Adam Curran.


ProCo NW welcomes international partners to Wigan

ProCo NW welcomed representatives from international training organisations and businesses to Wigan in November.

Representatives from Malta, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Aruba travelled to the North West to spend a day with our learners and tutors to understand what ProCo NW offers Wigan’s young people.

ProCo NW works with a company called Everything is Possible and international training providers and businesses to give young people the opportunity to work abroad for two weeks in their chosen occupational area.

As well as showing them around of three sites we also took our guests around DW Stadium and Wigan Youth Zone.

Hosting this event for our international partners opened up more opportunities for our learners to work on international projects.

Last year, our joinery learners travelled to Sweden whilst our construction learners went to Estonia to build a skate park for Estonian youths.


Eco-Schools success

ProCo NW hosted Wigan Council’s Eco-schools event and welcomed more than 100 primary school pupils and staff at our Montrose site.

We held activities for the pupils during the day including showing the pupils our animals on the farm, organising an assault course and other games on the farm. Workshops were run throughout the day for staff and information stands were also set up around our site.

We received excellent feedback on the day, one school teacher commented: "the children loved visiting the farm; they especially liked holding the animals."

This is the second year ProCo NW has hosted the Council event.

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