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Taking the Lead at Askham Grange

For the last 18 months I have been visiting Askham Grange women’s prison and delivering our accredited ‘Taking the Lead’ course

The course has been developed by Dogs Trust in conjunction with Open Awards, meaning once successfully completed, our learners will not only know a lot more about Dogs, they will also be awarded with a qualification!

The award they are given is a level 1 in ‘Further learning for skills and employment’ which is a great addition to any CV. But what has this to do with dogs? Well, the course itself has been written very carefully to cover all the criteria needed for the qualification whilst remaining dog themed! There is a lot of Dog vs Human comparisons, looking at the similarities and differences in behaviour, growth and development. We also explore communication, understanding emotion, stress and even self esteem!

So far we have awarded the qualification to over 30 ladies currently residing at Askham Grange and the feedback has been incredible.

I must admit, I was a bit daunted when I first started to deliver these sessions. Pretty much ALL of my learners have owned dogs for the majority of their lives, I’ve even had dog breeders, groomers and an ex RSPCA inspector in my group before! What on earth was I going to teach them?! I was however pleasantly surprised! Most of the learners have admitted they joined the course because they just liked dogs, but upon completing remarked that they have learned so much about dogs that they didn’t really know and now understand their four-legged friends a lot better. They will be able to leave Askham Grange with wealth of knowledge which will not only be applied to their own pets, but also passed onto family and friends, breaking the cycle of often outdated and inaccurate information.