New graduates join the RSPCA’s frontline against animal cruelty

Twenty men and women are set to join the RSPCA’s 265-strong team of committed Inspectors fighting animal cruelty in England and Wales, following their graduation ceremony in West Sussex today (30 March).

After a gruelling six-month course, focussed on legal study and lawful process – covering wildlife, farm livestock and Human Rights legislation – RSPCA chairman Michael Tomlinson presented the well-earned awards at the charity’s main office in Horsham.

“This is not a career for the faint-hearted and a successful trainee RSPCA Inspector will need to develop a very wide range of skills,” said Brian Dalton, the RSPCA’s Head of Learning and Development.

“We strive to ensure that our uniformed staff are recruited and trained in such a way that we, and they, are assured that they will be able to cope with the pressure of the workload; the emotional challenges that they will face when dealing with animal abuse, and stress from dealing with the abusers – some of whom may be violent.”

Each of the 20 graduates are now being welcomed into the RSPCA inspectorate after successfully completing intensive training. Those whose aptitude in specific areas was particularly acute will also receive individual awards.

— The Chris Laurence Veterinary Cup was awarded to the 'best vetted student' – the trainee inspector who achieves the highest marks in the veterinary examination. This time the Cup went to Karen Colman. Karen achieved a BA (Hons) in modern languages and her earlier career was predominantly Human Resources centred. Karen also has extensive equine experience having worked in a professional capacity with horses at her own establishment.

— The Martin Daly Wildlife Award was presented to the trainee inspector who achieved the highest aggregate score for the wildlife assessments. Abuse of wildlife is commonplace and particularly cruel, but detection of offences and successful implementation of the legal process is exceptionally difficult. The Martin Daly Award was presented to Jennie Ronksley. Jennie achieved a BA (Hons) in Law & Criminology from Sheffield Hallam University. She pursued a position working with young people, supporting them in overcoming barriers to learning and development.

— The Simon Gosling Shield was awarded to Kristina Raine. This Shield is the only award made at the discretion of the Trainers who have worked with the class of trainees. It is a special award, in that while all trainee inspectors have to manage their own ‘demons’ and meet their personal trials, the recipient of the Simon Gosling shield goes to the trainee who has met those challenges head on; who has shown an indomitable spirit, demonstrated a determination to succeed, and done so with an outwardly positive and professional countenance. Krissie has worked for the RSPCA since 2009, when she was employed as an Animal Welfare Officer.

— The Daljinda Padam Award was presented to the trainee inspector who achieved the highest overall score from the combined total of all of the examinations. The Award this time was presented to Suzi Smith. Suzi has an equine background and also experience as a trainee veterinary nurse. Suzi joined the RSPCA as an Animal Collection Officer in 2001, before becoming an Animal Welfare Officer in 2009.

Brian Dalton added: “The new graduates are all extraordinary people: committed, level-headed, mature, with life skills appropriate to meet the rigours and pressures of front line animal welfare law enforcement We congratulate them wholeheartedly on becoming fully fledged Inspectors, and wish them luck in their future career with the RSPCA.”

Now that last year’s intake has been successfully put through its paces, the RSPCA will soon be recruiting for a course to commence in autumn 2012. Aspiring candidates are asked to monitor the charity’s website for details.

“The position of RSPCA Inspector, contrary to popular belief, is centred on people, not animals – although a general experience in a range of animal handling is an advantage. Inspectors will achieve little for animal welfare if they cannot communicate effectively with the range of people who are responsible for animal care in both the domestic arena and the commercial world,” concludes Brian.

Notes to editors:

Eight of the successful trainee inspectors from this intake have previous work experience with the RSPCA, working as Animal Welfare Officers, Care Assistants and one as a reception manager at West Hatch Wildlife Centre.

The full list of graduate Inspectors is as follows, along with the district in which they will soon be covering for the RSPCA:

Suzie Smith – Worcestershire
Lewis Taylor – Essex
Helen Scott – Tyneside
Kristina Raine – Darlington
Dudley Clements – Somerset
Karen Colman – York
Emma Stainthorpe – Cleveland
Gemma Fowler – Leeds
Jennie Ronksley – South Yorkshire
Mark Roberts – North Wales
Kevin Lodge – London
Sarah Chambers – Derbyshire
Sarah Hetherington – Somerset
Adrian Langley – Worcester/Warwickshire
Aislinn Balderston – Cleveland
Zoe Ballard – Kent
Laura Bryant – Sussex
Leanna Rice – Surrey
Louise Labram – Birmingham
Tina Ward – Oxfordshire



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