Our Speakers

Click on the speaker and their talk title or scroll down to have a look at our excellently curated line-up!

Chester Zoo - Interpretation, Role of Science, & Bioacoustics

Chester Zoo are providing 3 talks from their Conservation Training Academy!

Liz Webb - Role of Science - Conservation Training Academy Manager

Liz joined Chester Zoo as the Conservation Training Academy Manager in 2019 after nearly 12 years working as a lecturer and manager in Further and Higher Education. Liz is specialised in teaching and training in the lifelong learning sector and completed her QTLS accreditation to become a registered member of the SET in 2010. Alongside this, Liz is a trained apprenticeship assessor with experience in IV, quality monitoring and external examining for degree validations.

Zoe Batchelor - Interpretation Design - Interpretation Manager

As an experienced science communicator, I'm passionate about taking complicated narratives and turning them into a compelling story. Distilling paragraphs into pictures and reframing complicated issues is so rewarding, especially if we can encourage behaviour change at the end! Working in zoos for nearly 7 years, I have a wide range of experience. I've delivered talks and workshops to visitors, produce signage and research, and I'm often spotted running around the zoo installing signs! One of my main loves is learning new things, so I'm always ready to take on the next challenge. 

Rebecca Lewis - Bioacoustics - Population Biologist 

Rebecca is part of the NERC-funded Earth, Atmosphere and Oceans doctoral training programme at the University of Manchester.  She is supervised by Dr Tucker Gilman and is working with Chester Zoo to examine the impact of birdsong evolution on conservation efforts. Her PhD is funded by NERC and Chester Zoo. “I am a zoologist with a strong interest in animal management within zoos and in animal behaviour, as well as in conservation.  In 2014 – 2015 I joined the Chester Zoo Primate Team as a One Year Intern. This cemented my desire to work with zoos in my future career as I believe they have a vital role to play in conservation."

Nicky Plaskitt - Shaping Behaviour

Nicky Plaskitt of ‘Shaping Behaviour’ has over 20 years' experience working in zoos training a vast array of animal species for husbandry, veterinary, and show behaviours. Nicky has significant experience with birds, having spent a long time working with free flight shows, and enjoys and enjoys teaching people how to work their birds of prey safely from a free lofted environment.

‘Shaping Behaviour’ was created to share knowledge and develop keeper skills and now Nicky travels the UK and overseas working with animal keepers and caregivers of all levels to help them boost their animal training skills and understand the science behind positive reinforcement, choice-based training.

Nicky runs keeper development workshops throughout the year as well as offering bespoke training consultancy as required. NIcky also sits on the board of directors for the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) and the International Avian Trainers Certification Board (IATCB).

Contact info: nicky@shapingbehaviour.com

Website: www.shapingbehaviour.com

Facebook: Shaping Behaviour

Instagram: @nickyshapingbehaviour

Rhys Williams - Remembering the Level and Dual Professionalism

Rhys has been working in the animal industry since the age of 14, working in many areas of the industry. He has also held a keen interest in animals since a young age which has led him to keep a varied selection of species over the years, notably he has previously become well known in the South Wales area for breeding axolotls and has recently taught a geriatric cockatiel a trick or two! Rhys loves working with animals that are deemed "difficult" by others and is also fascinated by animals that make people stop and have to think about what they can see.

Teaching in FE for 6 years his passion for education and the impact it can have on lives is always present. Rhys will self-proclaim education changed his future outlook at 16. Rhys is passionate about getting the level right when educating and also had interest in the needs of further education educators (the focus of his current MA). He believes educators are heroes and will share this passion whenever possible.

Rhys is currently employed as a lecturer and team lead (vocational Stroud) as SGS College. He enjoys his job that includes helping to mange the onsite animal collection which has been undergoing expansion in the last few years, and always welcomes the opportunity to work with other organisations, enjoying working collaboratively as a consultant when time allows.

Dr. Matt Hartley - Implementing  Legislative Requirements into Animal Operations, Driving Best Practice 

As a List 1 Secretary of State's Zoo Inspector and having completed the City and Guilds Certificate in Zoo Licensing, Dr. Hartley can be appointed as Zoo Licensing Veterinary Inspector representing any Local Authority. He can provide services for renewal, periodical, special and informal inspections, and has also been involved in enforcement actions and have experience as an expert witness.

Dr. Hartley has a 100% success rate of guiding facilities through the process of applying for a new zoo licence and the initial inspection processes, and has supported new zoos and guided the progression of existing attractions into licensed zoos.

Zoo and Wildlife Solutions can design, develop and manage your conservation, education and research programmes to deliver affordable, innovative programmes with academic quality outcomes and real impact so you can ensure your organisation is exceeding legislative requirements and really making a difference.

Contact Info: matt@zooandwildlifesolutions.com

Website: https://www.zooandwildlifesolutions.com/ 

Joe Cooke - College Collection Collaboration and Driving Animal Unit Success

Joe was a late comer to the industry, not getting his first position in a zoo until he was 22, as a ‘Zoo Host’ as Chessington World of Adventures. From there he worked at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, All Things Wild and West Midlands Safari Park over a 6 year period. In 2018 Joe moved over to colleges as the Animal Unit Manager at Halesowen College, heading a team of technicians/ Keepers caring for the now 120 species housed at the collection. In the past four years the collection has seen significant growth and development in the standards of husbandry and welfare. 

In 2019 Joe Cooke started a Facebook group, UK Animal Care Technicians (UKACT), the initial goal of the group being to open up lines of communication between technical staff in colleges nationwide. Since its start, the group has now expanded to over 1,000 members, held 2 conferences, numerous workshops and are currently in the process of becoming a professional organisation. The group facilitates the sharing of best practice, sourcing of animals and acts as a support network for colleagues.

Joe will be talking about the work he is doing with UKACT, the importance of collaboration between college collections and the need for us to demonstrate best practice to our students and aim to be ahead of the industry and not trailing behind. Joe is passionate about college facilities, future-proofing animal management, and trailblazing this concept publicly. He will also outline his findings from surveying the sectors animal unit facilities.

Contact Info: jcooke@halesowen.ac.uk

Link: Facebook - UK Animal Care Technicians

Rosie Smith - Scaffolding for success; ensuring all achieve

Rosie has been teaching since 2010, with a career break to work as an "animal education host"  and volunteer at The Raptor Foundation from 2018-2020. She has been passionate about hedgehogs and tenrecs, with her first hedgehog, Hettie, resulting in Rosie fostering and helping to rehome over 100 exotic hedgehogs/ tenrecs. She has been on the hedgehog club committee, worked with the 3 main exotic hedgehog rescues and privately hobby breeds her own exotic hedgehogs. Rosie is passionate about the varied role hedgehogs can have in educating learners on a wide variety of topics.

Nottingham College is a rapidly expanding provision with a small dynamic team. All of the lecturers also act as technicians, therefore Rosie delivers sessions from this dual role approach as an Advanced Practitioner and Lecturer. As a specialist leader of education and advanced practitioner Rosie has a historic track record of driving improvements in the quality of teaching and coaching other practitioners to develop and improve their practice. Rosie has completed Specialist Leader of education training, her PGDE and is currently working to complete her L5 Coaching.

Rosie will be discussing scaffolding for success to allow all students to make excellent progress, including supporting high ability learners to excel. She will be using live hedgehogs as an example species, however the techniques and strategies are easily adaptable for a range of species.

Contact: Rosie.Smith@nottinghamcollege.ac.uk 

Sarah Cocks - T-Level update for Land-Based Industries

Sarah looks after the vast range of qualifications found within the land portfolio, covering everything from dog grooming to floristry. She started her career as a herpetologist, working in the zoo industry, before moving into the education sector. She worked as an FE lecturer and curriculum lead, primarily delivering animal care qualifications, at Coleg Cambria for 20 years.

Prior to taking up the role as technical advisor, Sarah worked as a consultant for City and Guilds, culminating in her becoming a principal moderator and principal examiner for the technical qualifications in animal care.

Sarah’s extensive knowledge of both the sector and qualification products enable her to provide high level support, advice and guidance to providers, employers, and other stakeholders.

Paige Ratcliffe- Practical Skills for Vet nurses - Workshop

Paige is a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) with over ten years of experience in different fields of veterinary including referral, charity and education. She has a BSc in Veterinary Nursing, a certificate in emergency and critical care and is currently studying for a postgraduate certificate in education. She has a passion for medical nursing of difficult cases and has recently volunteered in Africa to vaccinate dogs against rabies 

Dr Charlotte Henry - Animal First Aid – What to do in an emergency 

Dr Charlotte Henry - Health Checking – What your students need to know from the Veterinary industry perspective

Charlotte graduated from the University of Bristol in 2017 with a Bachelors degree in Veterinary Science. She practiced as an equine veterinary surgeon for 5 years with a strong interest in equine internal medicine.

In 2022, Charlotte moved into education, becoming a lecturer in Animal Management and Welfare at Moulton College, lecturing both FE and HE students. Charlotte especially enjoys using her experiences in industry to teach and inspire the next generation.

Charlotte’s key interests are the role of VCAs, vet nurses and veterinary surgeons in practice, pathology and disease, and pharmacology. Her talks hope to bridge the gap between what is learnt in the classroom, and what is essential in industry

Ricky Johnson - Herptile Heat & Light; We need to know it before they can

Ricky began as a hobbyist in 2012 keeping various reptiles & invertebrates, developing a penchant for interesting & rare skink species. In 2015 he joined the admin team of the Facebook group Advancing Herpetological Husbandry, which has since become an education & welfare organisation that runs annual herpetological husbandry conferences at Drayton Manor, & one so far in the US at the Chiricahua Desert Museum which was an incredible adventure with industry cooperation, much herping and exciting environmental data collection.

Ricky is extremely passionate about herp husbandry & the mistakes/neglect that our industry involves - wanting to solve this through education that is not just hidden within educational institutions. One significant topic being a lack of ongoing understanding in the rapid developments of the theory of wild light replication in captivity, and the way this causes mistakes across the sector. He has since worked for 5 years as an Animal Care Technician at Halesowen College helping Joe Cooke increase the size & quality of the wonderful exotics collection there.

Ricky is now a Trainee Animal Management Lecturer at Halesowen College & loving bringing modern progressive husbandry information to our learners. On the side he also runs the Youtube channel HerpHQ with documentary-style educational videos on herp care with a particular effort in pushing understanding for 'lower vertebrates'​*spits*​ forward. 

Youtube Channel: Herp HQ - YouTube 

Facebook: Herp HQ | Facebook 

Facebook: Advancing Herpetological Husbandry | Facebook 

Will Hughes - Wizardry with Wildlife cameras

Will has worked in Higher Education for over 10 years, and has expertise in the fields of wildlife surveying and monitoring, climate change ecology and GIS mapping. Will currently lectures and manages the animal-related degree programmes at Plumpton College in East Sussex, which is based in the South Downs National Park. 

Will is passionate about the role that technology can play as a conservation engagement tool and its growing importance in citizen science. Over the years, Will has trained students in the use of a wide range of conservation technologies, from drones to thermal imaging cameras. However, he is especially interested in the application of wildlife cameras to monitor mammals and their activity patterns, and novel applications of this technology for lesser-studied taxa. 

Will has been an active member of the Kent Mammal Group committee since 2015, where he has facilitated grants and research for the group over the last 7 years. More recently in 2021, Will was accepted onto the Training Committee of the Mammal Society, where he works to support education and training in mammal conservation at a national level. 

The Mammal Society – For Evidence Based Conservation

Dr Roy Armstrong - Project Wild Gambia: Using student groups to collect data on some of the worlds rarest animals

We are celebrating more than 20 years of successful endangered species conservation in West Africa. During this time, Project Wild Gambia has contributed to the data collection, conservation, and research of some of the rarest animals through conservation expeditions, university field courses, and wildlife tours. As a by-product of our eco-tourism, we benefit the local people and the economy of The Gambia. 

We pride ourselves on contributing to the highest standard of scientific research, which has made a huge impact on the preservation and recovery of species populations in this human-dominated world. The work we and our participants achieve is published in scientific journals and contributes toward the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

We maintain strong relationships by working with Gambia’s governmental conservation bodies such as The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) including The West African Bird Society Association (WABSA) as well as local communities to conduct world-renowned research.

Dr Cerian Tatchley - BIAZA

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the professional body representing the best zoos and aquariums in the UK and Ireland. We have more than 100 zoo and aquarium members whom we support in their commitment to be at the forefront of conservation, education and research.

These days’ modern zoos and aquariums are much more than places where the public can go to view a range of different animals. Whilst providing a safe and fun-filled family day out is something our members are understandably proud of, by displaying the BIAZA logo our zoos and aquariums are also demonstrating their dedication to conserving the natural world through research and conservation programmes and to educating and inspiring their visitors to do the same.

BIAZA is a member of both the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and through this network our members collaborate on a global scale to further conservation science, natural history and environmental education and animal welfare.

Glyndwr University Education Department -Lifelong Learning: Strategies for learning and teaching in the post-compulsory sector

“Glyndwr was a fantastic place for me to learn and develop as a teacher. The course covered a wide range of information that gave me the knowledge to understand teaching and prepare for life in the education sector. I am now working in a role I love and I am able to use the information I learned to continue to develop my practice.”  - Kelly Dace PGCE

David Crighton

David worked in a number of formal and informal educational settings before joining Glyndwr University.  His previous experiences include working as a tutor on the government funded Playing for Success scheme based at Leeds United and Headingley Stadium. Following this he worked for the BBC, as Education Project Manager, on the award winning All Together Now and First Click projects. Combining community media training with the production of broadcast content.  Since then he has taught on several education and media production courses, in the FE/HE sector, ranging from Level 2 through to Level 7. 

Kelly Smith

Prior to Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Kelly worked for 18 years in early years and primary education. She completed my degree in Childhood Studies and Learning Support, which then led on to the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PcET) and an MA Education. Throughout her time teaching in FE and HE, She has completed research on the influence of technology to enrich learning. She is a firm believer in the power of technology to support all learners to achieve.