Adam Button



United Kingdom
I wanted to use this placement to collect my dissertation data to take some of the pressure off in my final year and hopefully increase my grade.

More about Adam

"I wanted to complete a placement because a lot of the jobs I have looked into require experience in collections, so I thought taking a placement year would increase my employability options. I also wanted to use this placement to collect my dissertation data to take some of the pressure off in my final year and hopefully increase my grade.

"I organised a lot of my placement myself. I had been volunteering at Shepreth Wildlife Park for a long time so they quickly offered me a long term placement. I knew one of the vets at the Cambridge Veterinary Group so I used my links with him to arrange the placement. UmPhafa (a private nature reserve, situated in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa) is run in association with Colchester Zoo. They gave a talk at NTU in my first year so I started organising my placement with them after the talk.

"At Shepreth I am helping the keepers complete the day to day routine tasks such as feeding the animals, food prep, enclosure cleaning and health checks. I also help with enrichment placement and design and will be involved in keeper talks in the coming months. I have also helped organise special evenings, assisted with medical treatment and with animal relocations.

"On UmPhafa, my role was to assist the staff with animal and plant surveys, assist with the behavioural analysis of the African hunting dogs, monitor the behaviour of the giraffe and rhino, maintain the fences and erosion sights on the reserve, perform fence patrols to look for damage and signs of poachers, carry out animal identification and act as a fast response team for emergencies such as bush fires.

"At the veterinary group I assisted the vets and nurses with animal care and consultations, helped maintain the surgery and observed operations to assist with animal health and welfare.

"NTU helped me work out some of the logistics surrounding my placements, including health and safety, assignment requirements and visas/travel information that I found difficult to find myself.

"All of my placements link to different aspects of my course, allowing me to put all of my knowledge into practice and gain additional skills that will be useful in my final year.

"Before my placement I had wanted to work solely in a zoo, but this year has made me think about different career paths that I could take. Working with rhino and African Hunting dogs in South Africa was one of the most incredible experiences and then coming home to work full-time in an animal collection has been a great line up! I am looking forward to future experiences as I am greatly enjoying my whole placement experience.

"The biggest challenge for me would have to be getting out of the university routine and in to that of full-time work, but it is very rewarding.

"Doing these placements should give me a big boost when I am looking for a job outside of university. The placement provides an additional qualification upon completion that will be an additional boost.

"I am planning to continue in this line of work after I have finished my placement. I think my overall goal would be to work abroad for a few years before finding a job back in the UK in a zoo or animal collection.

"I believe experience is vital and the skills you gain from placement are very useful in the workplace. Make sure you organise yourself early and make the most of the time you have.

"The University, the campus and the course have suited me well and I am looking forward to returning for the final year. I have had many opportunities at NTU that I might not have had at other universities and I think this will be a great benefit in the future."

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