Friday, 11 November 2011

High Impact Award for our Education Team

Education Officer, Amy Collie with Curator Collin Northcott
and Presentation Supervisor, Adam Cook
Our education team received some well deserved recognition this week when the organisers of Global Entrepreneurship Week awarded "High Impact Status" to our innovative Enterprise Challenge.

Organised by Youth Business International, Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrates entrepreneurship as a force for good through a wide range of activities. Since its inception, it has spread to 115 countries, with nearly 24,000 organisations planning more than 37,000 activities. In 2010 over 207,200 people attended 2,577 events, run by 983 organisations as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK alone.

Their "High Impact Badge of Honour" is granted only to those activities which meet a range of criteria demonstrating the contribution the activity makes to the aims of the project.

Launched earlier this year, the DZP Enterprise Challenge is a unique activity developed by DZP Education Officer, Amy Collie. Designed to meet and exceed a range of educational goals in a challenging and engaging manner, it sees small teams of school children assuming the role of a Zoo Development Team for an entire day.

"We're very proud of the Enterprise Challenge," explains Amy. "It involves every department at the zoo from animal care through maintenance to marketing and customer service. It's a real crash-course in the demands of running a modern zoo."

The students' task, often in competition with teams from other schools, is to add a new species to the DZP animal collection. To complete the challenge, students must face and overcome a range of real-world development problems whilst keeping to a strict budget.

At the end of the day the teams are required to present their plans to a panel of professional judges which includes Benjamin Mee, owner of DZP.

"The feedback we get from students and staff is amazing," says Amy. "We've even run enterprise days as team-building exercises for teachers and university lecturers. They find it just as challenging and enjoyable as the kids."

The DZP Enterprise Challenge is just one of a number of recent developments within the zoo's education department which have captured the imagination and support of local educators. The new Extended Diploma in Animal Management, delivered in partnership with Bicton College, is now well under way with new students already expressing an interest in enrolling next year.

The fascinating Dissection Theatre, part of the Dartmoor Hill Pony conservation project, is also now very well established and attracting interest from educational establishments throughout the country.

The Enterprise Challenge is proving particularly popular with secondary school teachers who recognise that it exceeds the specified National Curriculum learning objectives for Economic Wellbeing and Financial Capability. It also gives higher ability students the opportunity to demonstrate and develop skills in teamwork, assessing needs, understanding risk, finance management and enterprise.

"We've known for quite some time now that the Enterprise Challenge was something special," explains DZP operations manager, George Hyde. "The whole team here have worked really hard to produce something of real value and this award shows that we achieved exactly that."

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