Writtle: Inner-city students get a taste of farm life

Rochelle Thomas holding a lamb

Rochelle Thomas holding a lamb - Credit: Archant

A group of inner city students visited Writtle College to get a taste of farm life.

Salih Kececi, 19, from Hackney, holding a lamb while other students look on

Salih Kececi, 19, from Hackney, holding a lamb while other students look on - Credit: Archant

Writtle College postgraduates Hannah Scott-Browne and Stephanie Collingbourne taught farm livestock skills to inner-city students today.

Hannah Scott-Browne showing students a lamb

Hannah Scott-Browne showing students a lamb - Credit: Archant

Stephanie and Hannah, who are studying for PhDs in Agriculture, are involving the students, from City and Islington College in London, in work with cattle, pigs and sheep at the college farm.

The 25 animal management students, aged between 17 and 20, carried out a field walk in the main sheep field to learn about basic sheep husbandry - such as signs of health, ewe and lamb identification and sheep hazards - as well as looking at badger sets, wildlife and grazing. They also used a lambing simulator - a fake sheep used to demonstrate different presentations at lambing - and worked in the laboratories at the Lordship Science Centre.

Hannah, 22, from Horley in Surrey, graduated from Writtle College with a BSc (Hons) Animal Management in 2011.

She said: “This is a great opportunity to inspire students who may have otherwise never had the chance to experience livestock and agriculture in a rural setting.”

Stephanie, 22, from South Woodham Ferrers, started at Writtle College when she was 16, doing a BTEC National Diploma in Animal Management, before going on to graduate with a BSc in Farm Livestock Production. She was one of only five winners nationally of the NFU Mutual Centenary Award 2012.

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Matt Farmer, lecturer and course manager for animal management at City and Islington College, said of the BTEC level 3 animal management students: “They are inner city students so this is like being in a foreign land to them. At our college we have small furry exotics. We teach about British farming practices but this gives them an opportunity to find out what it’s like to be a British farmer.”

Salih Kececi, 19, from Hackney, said: “It was quite fun to hold a lamb - an unusual experience. I’ve been on a farm before but I didn’t do anything with the animals. This is great experience.”

Rochelle Thomas, 20, from East Ham, added: “I want to go into veterinary nursing but I like all animals and the lambs are so cute.”