Creation of bespoke higher-level training course for zoo professionals launches
An international collaboration project being led by the University of Wolverhampton, which will create a higher-level training programme for zoo professionals, has launched with its official kick-off meeting and first training event.
InterZoo, which has received around €220,000 European Union Erasmus+ funding, will create three postgraduate-level modules in international zoo management to upskill zoo professionals.
Dr Chris Young, Senior Lecturer and Animal Behaviour & Wildlife Conservation subject leader at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “When we talk to colleagues working in the zoo industry they tend to have extensive experience, an extremely hardworking ethic and are very knowledgeable about the subject but this isn’t necessarily reflected in their qualifications. This can therefore reduce their opportunities for career progression.
“We are bringing together the experience and knowledge of the zoo sector and the critical evaluation of the academic perspective from university institutions. Together, we will create a trans-European programme for international zoo professionals to develop higher-level qualification skills and knowledge.”
Reader in Animal Behaviour Dr Stefano Vaglio said: “A zoo does not operate independently; it has a strong international dimension to it.
“Understanding and appreciating the full complexity of this is very important for those that want to progress into management and strategic planning.
“Therefore, it’s hoped that this course will improve the potential for career progression, better understanding of wider strategic issues in zoo management and ultimately impacts upon both the animals and people in such establishments.”
The modules, which are now in development, are in international zoo welfare and management, international management of zoo-based conservation, and ethical and legal issues with international zoo management.
These will be delivered by the three partner higher education institutions; University of Wolverhampton, University of Bologna in Italy and University of Limoges in France. The other three project partners are Twycross Zoo, Budapest Zoo in Hungary, and Parco Natura Viva in Italy.
Their expertise will be complemented with the input from associate partners, which include Dudley Zoo, Ecole Nature Recherche in France, Fondazione ARCA in Italy, as well as the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
Through a mix of partner-focused workshops, a wider multiplier event and a summer school, the consortium will develop and test a suite of training materials that can be used either independently within the context of each training module or as part of a coherent whole.
Ultimately the aspiration is to develop the modules into a formal international postgraduate qualification led by the University of Wolverhampton.
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