TV presenter, chef and sustainable living expert, James Strawbridge has officially opened the brand new £1.7million Animal Management Centre at Duchy Rosewarne.

He unveiled a plaque after a short speech about the students’ experience and his envy at their being able to enjoy such an exciting learning opportunity. He brought his family along to enjoy the day and meet some of the animal residents at the College on a tour given by Animal Management students.

James said: “I’ve absolutely loved today, it has been a real eye-opener to see the enthusiasm and passion coming from the students here – some of whom didn’t come from farming backgrounds, weren’t necessarily used to handling animals but they seem to have caught the bug and it is infectious.

“Farming is a part of life, as a cook – where my food comes from is incredibly important so the skills of how it is reared and produced responsibly are very important. The people who are working at Duchy College are equally working for tomorrow’s fancy Michelin-starred restaurants in London – it is all linked in. I have a massive amount of respect for what is going on here and I’ve really enjoyed being invited.”

One member of the Duchy College Council was particularly pleased to participate in the day; Andrew Oatey has been part of the council since 1989 and was delighted to see the opening of the new build which has been named The Oatey Building in his honour.

He said: “It has been very rewarding to have a good relationship with the college and to see how it has progressed over the years. I’ve really enjoyed being shown around by several of the students and speaking to members of the animal care team on who the students depend. It has been a really memorable day.”

Andrew Counsell, the Principal of Duchy College said: “These high quality facilities replicate those which students will encounter when they go out to work within the animal industry, giving them the opportunity to experience the very best example of good animal welfare and, in the longer term, will enable them to support the land-based sectors in the county more effectively.

“We are delighted that so many guests were able to join us for the opening. Students are already benefitting from using these facilities which are some of the best in the South West. We are committed to enhancing our vocational training provision and improving our resources in order to provide learners with the best possible experience and skills for their progression into the workplace.”

The new learning zone provides Duchy College students with state-of-the-art facilities such as the isolation unit to enhance their learning experience and practical amenities such as the laundry room that help make life easier. It contains spacious, modern classrooms for theory lessons, plus specialist areas to house exotic species, a range of small mammals and a commercial dog grooming salon.