Chichester College student heads off to South Africa

September 22, 2016

A former Chichester College student will soon be swapping the wilds of West Sussex for the South African bush.

In January, 22-year-old James Whitby from Midhurst will be taking up a role at a wildlife orphanage and bush school, where he will work as animal and camp manager.

The wildlife orphanage is home to a variety of animals, including some big cats, with a leopard and cheetah among its inhabitants. There are also antelope, monkeys and porcupine on site, along with other animals.

For him, it is an opportunity of a lifetime – and a chance to achieve a lifelong ambition.

James said: “I’ve always wanted to live in South Africa – my mum is from there, although I’ve never been.

“But I visited Botswana on a college trip and I loved the experience.

“I knew I wanted to work with animals since I was about five years old. I originally wanted to work with dinosaurs but I realised I was a few million years too late to do that!

“So the next best thing would be working with animals, helping them and trying to make a difference, and that’s what I’m going to be doing.

“My job is going to be looking after the animals, making sure the camp is maintained, safe and secure. There are volunteers who work at the camp, so I’ll be supervising them as well.

“It’s an opportunity I never thought I’d get – it hasn’t really sunk in yet!”

James studied Animal Management at the college’s Brinsbury campus, receiving a Higher National Diploma in the subject in 2015. He then topped up his qualification with a degree in Zoology with the University of Plymouth.

But it’s his time at Brinsbury that he credits for getting him to where he is today – helping him to turn his life around.

He revealed: “I absolutely wouldn’t have this opportunity if it wasn’t for Brinsbury.

“I’ll admit, I was a little bit of a menace at school and I came to Brinsbury without any real qualifications but I found my feet there. It really shaped me into who I am today.

“I loved my time there and, anytime I came back from university, I’d pop into the college to visit. I’ve also been helping out with the college’s kids club over the summer which has been a great experience.”