I began my Barony College journey back in 2005 thanks to Reid Kerr College (NC Animal Care), where I spent an eye opening 4 week placement. I knew within the first week that becoming a student at Barony was a must! I applied at Barony before leaving the placement and subject to my grades was accepted, which made me excited and terrified at the same time.
An hour and a half away from home when I had never been away from family before was a big deal but I wanted to make something of myself and I knew this was a fantastic opportunity. So the end of summer 2006 I packed (not so lightly) and drove to Dumfries to start a very memorable two years.
The idea of living on campus was unheard of for me so the unknown was extremely exciting. The tutor’s at the college were all so friendly and approachable which was a huge part of the appeal. The HNC and HND courses at Barony covered so many avenues it gave me time to decide where to take my career.
I gained so many life skills as well as the knowledge needed to progress into a Further Education. The practical experience I gained was invaluable as I came into contact with animals I had never heard of before let alone held! The theoretical side I really enjoyed and the varying exam types helped a great deal when moving on to University level!
Being asked why I enjoyed student life here is very difficult to answer as it’s an accumulation of the life- long friends I have made and the wonderful tutors I have learned from. Also the student experiences I’ve had and all the doors that have opened for me after being at the college. I was head student rep both years and organised trips, school groups to come to the college and any/all festive parties I could! Throwing myself into student life gave me so much confidence, that I thought I could take on the world!
Me speaking at Barony's Burns Night
Getting hands on with a crow
After two unforgettable years at the Barony, and much support from the fantastic tutors, I applied to Worcester University, Animal Care Science Bachelor of Science course. I was accepted and yet again took a huge step in packing (even less lightly) and moved a whopping 7 hours away to start a 9 month degree. Although my time at university was a once in a lifetime opportunity, the Barony will always hold a special place in my heart. It is a slightly larger than normal family, which is somewhere I created so many memories and friendships that a university lacks.
After University I was fortunate enough to move back to Dumfries and was employed by a vet practice to run a small branch they were opening. It was great landing that job and knowing I was going somewhere. After a year an opportunity came up with the Scottish SPCA, which I jumped at as they were always top of my list for a worthwhile career choice. I was now putting everything I learned at the Barony to great use. Also I have made wonderful friendships with staff that were also at the Barony before and after me.
Me with Bobby before he went to his new home
I would recommend going to SRUC if you love animals but are unsure which path you want to take. The tutors are great at bringing the best out in you and the courses open up so many avenues that a career could even find you. It’s a really special place for me and if I could do it all over again I would! Go on have a look at the courses and APPLY, APPLY, APPLY as it was the best decision I ever made!
By: Leigh-ann Brady (HNC Animal Care 2006-2007, HND Animal Care 2007-2008)