This week I attended the Dogs Trust Education Conference 2019, it was time for the teachers to become the students!
I had been really looking forward to this event, as because the education team is big (there’s nearly 40 in the UK team!) we don’t often get the chance to meet up. Not to mention the fact of how far and wide we’re spread; for example, there’s over 400 miles between myself in Glasgow and colleagues down South, in places like Kent and Brighton. Even though, as an Education and Community Officer I spend most of my days teaching and speaking to people, it sometimes can feel quite lonely as you’re the only one doing the job with no colleagues around. So, any opportunity to see your other team members (even though they’re always at the end of the phone or an email away) is greatly welcomed!
As well as the UK Education team we also welcomed education teams from Ireland and Bosnia. There was a wide variety of speakers, we heard from 12 in total over the two days. From members of our own team, both the other education teams, other teams at Dogs Trust such as Lisa Cooper Basildon Rehoming centre manager, Pete Croft from the property team and the Human Behaviour Research Team. We even had a special visit from our new CEO Owen Sharp, it was lovely to meet him and hear of the great first impressions he has of Dogs Trust so far, I’m sure his expertise and knowledge will mean exciting times ahead for Dogs Trust!
Other guest speakers included:
- Simon Tyler - Inspirational Speaker
- Judith Broug - Service Dogs UK
- Olivia Hutchinson - The Acting Space
So, what did I learn?
I could spend all day sharing my notes I took from each of the speakers, but I reckon I might lose a few of you especially having to make sense out of my shorthand sentences! But I’ll leave you with the highlights; that this was a busy two days filled with so much knowledge, passion and ambitions for the future.
As I expected it was lovely to catch up with the team, I thoroughly enjoyed being the student for a change and listening to so many amazing speakers, (with a theatre background) I really enjoyed Oliva's session and taking part in some vocal exercises that was great fun. But the highlight for me has to be the inspiration I will take away from the conference! It really did make me feel proud to be part of such a wonderful charity and fantastic team that really is a driving force for change. In order to make a difference you need people to change their behaviours and that can of course be done through education! By teaching future dog owners what it means to be a responsible dog owner we can have a direct impact in ensuring dogs live a safe, healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
I’m just going to leave you with a quote that has really stuck with me from Elma Sabanovic’s (Bosnian Education Team) presentation…
“A dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality”- John Lennon.