West Midland Safari Park: Safari Academy

In summary:

Company: West Midland Safari Park
Location: Bewdley, Worcestershire
Project: Safari Academy, a new training and education facility
Value of Local Growth Funding: £65,850
Total Value of Project: £750,000

In summer 2017, West Midland Safari Park is set to open its new Safari Academy, a purpose-built internal and external education centre, supported by £65,850 of funding support from the GBSLEP.

The sustainably-built facility will be available for staff training, interactive learning for local schools and colleges, as well as delivering accredited animal qualifications. It’s all part of West Midland Safari Park’s ongoing commitment to wildlife education.

The opportunity

As home to some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered exotic animal species, West Midland Safari Park has built a fantastic team of educators. They work with local schools, colleges and businesses to inspire young conservationists and promote learning to all ages.

The park knew it could enhance its wildlife education programme if it had the facilities to welcome more groups to take advantage of the interactive learning opportunities available. It was recognised that a purpose-built training centre would also provide an opportunity to deliver external training, providing local people with the opportunity to gain qualifications whilst also enhancing the level of staff training offered to full-time and seasonal employees.

All of this, of course, is in line with GBSLEP’s strategic economic plan, which focuses on upskilling the workforce, increasing productivity, stimulating investment, regenerating and empowering the region to make the most of its global connections.

Delivery

The new Safari Academy was announced in March 2017, ahead of opening in summer 2017 close to West Midland Safari Park’s hippo lakes. Designed specifically for training and education, it features five classrooms equipped with everything needed to provide interactive education for groups of all ages.

Recognising the positive impact that this facility and its operations could have on the regional economy, the project was supported with £65,850 of Local Growth Funding from the GBSLEP.

By delivering state-of-the-art training and education facilities for people of all ages, the Safari Academy will contribute to GBSLEP’s strategic economic plan to cement Birmingham’s status as a leading city region by 2030. These facilities include:

  • A purpose-built training centre, available to local and regional companies, as well as West Midland Safari Park employees. This includes seasonal staff leaving with relevant qualifications to support future employability.
  • “A learning centre for local people to gain accredited animal qualifications, including Level 2 Animal Care Diploma and Level 3 Animal Management Diploma.
  • A venue for careers days, held in conjunction with local businesses.
  • Improved learning facilities for visiting schools, colleges, universities and adult learners, providing wildlife education for all ages. This includes holiday clubs and open days for teachers.

Caroline Talbot, Head of Learning at West Midland Safari Park, said: “I am thrilled that we are able to expand our support for wildlife education in the West Midlands with our brand new, purpose built Safari Academy.

“This new state-of-the-art eco-building will allow us to grow our educational services to meet the needs of the local community and inspire even more young conservationists of the future. Not only will we be able to offer hands-on classes and courses, we will also be offering additional holiday clubs, evening talks and conservation events. We look forward to welcoming guests to the Safari Academy throughout the summer months.”