00:00:02 My name is Lainie S. I’m known as the Education Officer at Shepreth Wildlife Park. It’s a hugely varied job that I have. School parties tend to come to this park and most season wildlife parks mainly in the summer, so my winter work tends to be quite a lot different to my summer work. I love working with people. I like working with kids and animals and arts, you know, I get a chance to utilise all my different skills and passions basically in one thing.
00:00:31 I was not a great lover of school, I have to be totally honest. I loved geography, biology, art and English but I was not very good at maths. When I left school I wanted to be a jockey. I left school early to become an apprentice jockey. That wasn’t quite what I decided that I wanted to carry on doing so I went back to school, took my A-level in art and then went on to Art College and did four years at Art College
00:00:56 I think Art College was good because it allowed me personally to come out of myself a little bit and explore what I was good at. And after four years I walked straight out and straight into a job in advertising, which proved the point that it was where I really needed to be, what I needed to be doing at that point in my life.
00:01:13 I loved the industry in many ways. It was extremely hard work and it certainly wasn’t a nine to five job. It was quick and it was slick and it I liked it, but, it was working in a town environment. I felt constrained and very pressured. When I’d been…a friend of the family’s, I’ve always been coming in and out, popping my head in and out of the park over the years, and then, three years ago, I went…asked…was offered the job of education officer and that’s basically how I came to, you know, be in this position at the moment.
00:01:44 I personally think that if you’re going to have a reason to effectively display an animal, put an animal on display, there’s got to be a reason for that. We don’t just want to see animals there for the sake of it. There’s got to be reason to it. And as far as zoos and safari parks are concerned, it’s the…and wildlife parks, it’s got to go into the realms of education and conservation.
00:02:05 I love watching the seasons. I’m…yeah, I’m outside a lot dealing with public and with the animals. I have to say that if you came in with your kids, wow, you know, we’d get the animals out, it would be brilliant and I would go home absolutely so happy at night time and I do, and when I worked in advertising I did not. I used to feel drained and exhausted the whole time.
00:02:28 If I could, I would certainly go back to university or to to university. I would definitely like to get more involved in science subjects. I had no confidence as a child in maths and that pulled me down. But I got my biology O-level so that proves that I could have done more, and now I’m thoroughly enjoying learning maths again. So really, I think that yeah…if time and money, my age allowed, I would go to university definitely.
00:02:56 I was a particularly shy and nervous person all my life so it’s been a huge thing to be able to get in front of a group of kids and adults and start off at talk. That was my biggest challenge. My knees used to shake and my chin used to wobble but I’ve got over that now, and now because I have my knowledge now and my passion drives me, I can make people walk out here wanting to come back. So that’s how a bad thing became a good thing for me.
00:03:23 Like all of small places, you know, animal hospitals, there are a lot of things to overcome, and I think it’s getting there and it’s starting to be recognised for what it’s worth now and what it’s achieved and what it’s got to offer. It’s like watching a baby start to grow and I think this could go a long way.