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Nescot’s newest Animal Studies students raised money for charity today (Thursday) by throwing cream pies at their teachers and the interim college principal.

Last week they went to an activity centre near Bristol, where they enjoyed four days packed with zorbing, volleyball, rock climbing and abseiling, and spent their evenings toasting marshmallows.

The students are taking part in a programme with NCS, which is aimed at helping them to increase their self-confidence and teamwork, which in turn will enhance their college work and future careers.

“We’ve noticed that since the pandemic our young people are often more anxious and often have less self-confidence,” said Zoe Brown, Head of Animal Studies and Catering.

“Students on our Level 3 qualification do a lot of teamwork, give presentations in class, and do an assessment where they give a commentary on their practical work.

“We want our students to have the best possible start to our qualification and to their careers, so we planned the NCS programme for right at the start of the academic year to build their confidence and resilience.

“The residential trip really pushed the students out of their comfort zone, and we’ve seen a really very positive change in them already – they should be so proud of themselves.”

About 30 students went on the residential trip last week, while the rest of the first-year Level 3 students did practical activities at Nescot aimed to improve team building and public speaking.

The second strand of the NCS programme is the ‘social action project’, in which students have five days to choose a charity and organise, promote and hold a fundraising event.

Today (Thursday) the students threw cream pies at their teaching team as well as the interim CEO and Principal Julie Kapsalis, and held a cake sale with goods made by students and donated from All Things Nice in Ewell.

There was also a guess the sweets in a jar contest, and a sponsored football match refereed by students from Nescot’s Sports HND.

Tomorrow the students are doing a litter pick and a sponsored walk with animals who are looked after at the college’s day care facility, and there are also plans for volunteer work in the community.

The students chose two animal charities to benefit from their fundraising: Four Paws, and the Leatherhead-based Wildlife Aid.

“I’ve really enjoyed the NCS programme, and I’d really recommend it,” said first-year student Hannah Cahill, who is aiming to be an RSPCA inspector in the future.

“It was quite nerve-wracking at the start, but I feel like I’ve gained a lot of skills and I already feel more comfortable and more confident in myself. I’m really glad we did it at the start of the year.”

Nescot offers full-time qualifications in Animal Studies, as well as university-level study and part-time courses for adults. You can read more on our website.