SRUC

HND Animal Care

Campus: SRUC Barony, Dumfries

"Lockdown was a big challenge as everyone had to quickly adapt to a totally different course delivery. It is really hard to stay motivated when you're in the house looking at the same computer screen all day. I tried to get out for some exercise each day and keep a good schedule to avoid sitting around doing nothing. I got there in the end."

When Johnny Walls left school with one Higher, he wasn’t interested in going into further education and instead got a job with a veterinary supplies company.

He was put through HGV driving lessons, got a license and spent the next few years working as a driver.

However, when he realised he no longer had any interest in his job, he decided he should follow his twin passions for nature and animals.

“I felt a bit fed up doing something I didn't really care about day in and day out,” the 27-year-old from Dumfries said. “I was reading the book The Selfish Gene and it was really bringing back my passion for nature and animals.

“I already knew about SRUC through friends and decided to take the plunge and apply for the NC Animal Care course. I quit my job and here I am now.”

Three years later, he is graduating with an HND in Animal Care from SRUC’s Barony campus and is going on to do a degree in Applied Animal Science.

He valued the hands-on experience of working with animals at SRUC and spent his summers doing bat surveys, as well as surveys for great crested newts, for an ecological consultancy.

The biggest challenge came during the coronavirus pandemic when he struggled to keep motivated doing classes online.

“Lockdown was a big challenge as everyone had to quickly adapt to a totally different course delivery,” he said.

“It is really hard to stay motivated when you're in the house looking at the same computer screen all day. I tried to get out for some exercise each day and keep a good schedule to avoid sitting around doing nothing.

“I got there in the end.”