Melton college forges strong link with town’s military training base

Students and military personnel in Melton are to share their training and learning resources in an exciting new link-up.

By Nick Rennie
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 5:22 pm
Commanding Officer of the Defence Animal Training Regiment, Lt Col Mike Robinson (right) and James Thorne, Assistant Principal at SMB College Group, sign the new formal partnership between the organisations EMN-220315-171903001
Commanding Officer of the Defence Animal Training Regiment, Lt Col Mike Robinson (right) and James Thorne, Assistant Principal at SMB College Group, sign the new formal partnership between the organisations EMN-220315-171903001

The formal partnership between Brooskby Melton College and the Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR) was announced today (Tuesday) with both parties expecting to derive valuable benefits.

It will enable students from the college’s Horticulture, Countryside Management, Uniformed Public Services, Animal Management and Equine departments to go on work placements and gain industry insight at the base off Asfordby Road, which trains animals for the armed forces.

And the servicemen and women will also benefit from learning courses and programmes organised by the college, which is part of the SMB College Group.

Commanding Officer of the DATR, Lt Col Mike Robinson, said the partnership exploited ‘the land-based, animal care and public service parallels that exist between our two organisations’.

He said: “We have identified opportunities that will strengthen both our organisations and allow for increased knowledge exchange, work placement opportunities and improvements to animal practice.  

“The benefits are already being realised with partnering between the college, DATR and The Dog Trust’s Animal Welfare Scheme as a triumvirate championing welfare, care and industry best-practice.

“Furthermore, the college also provides an OFSTED-recommended Independent Advisory Panel to support the assurance of the duty of care to our trainees.

“The pastoral expertise of the college provides us with an independent, objective perspective, which is an invaluable source of advice, challenge and encouragement.

“It also supports our young soldiers under training and strengthens the regiment’s continuous improvement programme.”

His enthusisam was echoed by James Thorne, assistant principal at SMB College Group, who said: “This partnership will bring so many new opportunities to both our further education learners and our undergraduate students, including a valuable insight into a very professional and high performing working environment.

“Students will be working on a range of projects including involvement in the equine and dog units, competitions, and welfare schemes, in addition to conservation and environment input for the campus base.

“Uniformed Public Services students will also have the opportunity to experience personal training sessions.

“We look forward to working with DATR through this long-term collaborative partnership.”

The link-up has already started with the college’s Animal Management degree project, in which students are engaging with the DATR and Dogs Trust Animal Welfare Scheme.

Beth Prior, a lecturer on the programme, said: “This scheme has allowed our students to put their knowledge into practice, completing a range of animal welfare assessments during regular visits to DATR, and sharing knowledge of animal welfare, care and industry best practice between the three organisations.”