New Centre for Renewable Energy Training at BCA


Last Friday, we were delighted to welcome the Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP to celebrate the official opening of its newest facility – The Energy Centre.  The capital for the refurbishment and development of the site was made available through investment funds from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Centre will provide training in the form of apprenticeships and short courses in biofuel engineering and related skills.

Rt. Hon Theresa May MP commented on her visit to BCA; “I was very pleased to go back to Berkshire College of Agriculture to hear of the innovative work the college is doing and to open the new energy centre. It’s vital that young people have the education and skills to take on the jobs needed for the future. So I was pleased to be able to meet with students who, through using the new energy centre, will be given the training and opportunity to make a real difference to help protect our planet for future generations.”

The emerging sector of biofuel and renewable energy had been identified by the College and employer partner LC Energy as having a significant skills gap, with a substantial need for education and upskilling of the current workforce. BCA’s Principal, Gillian May, explains “The College enrolled 12 new apprentices in April 2018 for this and associated programmes.  We already have two biomass boilers and engine rooms on campus; the addition of this new Centre provides the facility for the development of professionally recognised training for this sustainable energy provision. The capital for the refurbishment of this unit has been provided by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP in accordance with the Skills Priority Statement.  Tim Smith, the CEO of the LEP, was on site for the opening along with Mark Lebus, CEO of LC Energy, our employer partner in this venture”.

Mark Lebus reiterated Gillian’s position by adding “we are delighted to have collaborated with BCA and the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to deliver the UK’s first biomass training facility at a Further Education college. The renewable energy sector offers sustainable employment but currently lacks accredited training and skills.  By widening access to training, we can eliminate the skills shortage and play our part in creating a Britain fit for the future – outlined in the Government’s recent Industrial Strategy. Our thanks to The Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP for opening this facility and helping to raise awareness of the skills shortage and opportunities in the biomass industry”.

The Thames Valley Berkshire LEP have financially supported the College and LC Energy in their mission to promote and educate the local and wider communities in this sustainable form of energy.  Peter Read, Chairman of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP explains “This a great example of where the LEP has supported the development of new facilities in the area to support our students, workforce and business community. Investment in Colleges in Berkshire is a key priority in our Strategic Economic Plan, which identifies investment in skills as a fundamental pillar of local economic growth.”

BCA Conservation Fundraising Efforts to Feature on Marlow FM

BCA Animal Technician, Nick Shelley, will be featuring on Marlow FM’s ‘Mid Morning Matters’ (97.5FM) show tomorrow morning (6th April) from 10am to discuss the fundraising efforts of the Conservation Club outlined below. Make sure you tune in to hear all about the important reasons behind the mammoth effort.

On Wednesday 30th May, a team of BCA students and staff are undertaking a sponsored walk from Howletts Wild Animal Park to Port Lympne Reserve in Kent raising money for the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit. These incredible women work 365 days a year patrolling their patch of the Kruger National Park with a particular focus on protecting rhinos. They walk at least 18 miles a day through scorching temperatures monitoring the wildlife and looking for and removing evidence of poaching including snares.

Poaching is pushing all five remaining species of rhino to the brink of extinction. This was evidenced recently by the death of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino in the world. The Black Mambas work hard to prevent this. More information on these women can be found at 

To make the walk all the more challenging, Nick will also be wearing the rhino suit featured in this image, kindly donated to the cause by Save the Rhino.

If you would like to sponsor the team or want more information on the walk itself, please visit

Cake Sale Success for Stand Up to Cancer

An incredible £137 has been raised by our fantastic Animal Management team in aid of Stand Up to Cancer UK, organized by the team’s Learning Support Assistant, Sarah.
Staff spent their weekends baking, to have their amazing creations judged by BCA’s answer to Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Congratulations to Katherine, Level 1 Animal Care Course Manager, who won ‘Star Baker’ with her incredible Sea Turtle cake – what a masterpiece!
Well done to all involved, including the students who took over cake sales after judges had picked their winners.

We Are Open


We are open to staff, students and visitors, as usual, today – Monday 19th March 2018.

The campus has been gritted, but we ask everyone to dress sensibly with sturdy footwear and have a safe journey this morning.

A Big BCA Welcome

We are proud to welcome DC Vickers as a new member of our Apprenticeship team in the role of Arboriculture Programme Manager.

DC is a qualified teacher holding a BA (Hons) in Education and has QTLS status, is a City & Guilds NPTC assessor, and a qualified LOLER examiner for arboricultural equipment, who has been delivering forestry and arboricultural courses since 2005, initially at Sparsholt College then via their own business, Drivelink Training.

DC also writes for essentialArb magazine with a series called Lets Get Climbing and Forestry & Timber News (produced by Confor, the forestry trade body). DC has written in the past for Pro Arb Magazine too and wrote a book on chainsaw maintenance in conjunction with Makita.

Recently a part of the steering committee with the Arboricultural Association, setting out the five new technical guides that are due to be released to the industry in 2019 and is now on the peer review group for the climbing and rigging guides.

DC came out as transgender back in 2013, describing it as ‘one of the scariest things I have ever done’ but has since met with universal acceptance; naturally enough, treating others with respect is high on their beliefs. DC is married and lives in Farnham, Surrey.

Welcome to the BCA Team, DC.

Book Donations Required

Do you have any academic books that are collecting dust on the shelf? 

We are looking for books in the following areas:

Research & Statistics
Animal Biology
Animal Biochemistry 
Animal Nutrition
Animal Management
Animal Anatomy and Physiology
Animal Health and Disease
Animal Welfare
Animal Ethics
Animal Law
Animal Behaviour
Animal Breeding
Habitat and Conservation 

We are grateful to anyone who wishes to donate materials to the Higher Education Library and ask for the books to be taken to BCA reception. 

For more information, please contact: 

College Closed – Friday 2nd March


The decision has been made for BCA to remain closed for staff & students tomorrow (Fri 2nd March) due to the worsening weather forecast.

Students should please continue to access work via Moodle.

Stay safe and warm this weekend everyone.

College Closed – Thursday 1st March

Due to the continued risk of adverse weather the College will be closed today – Thursday 1st March.

All students should access their work via Moodle.

Please keep an eye on this page or our social media sites after 5pm for further updates.

College Open – 28th Feb


Please note that the College remains open, it is business as usual today. All paths and roads on the campus have been well gritted.

Please ensure that you wear appropriate clothing and footwear if visiting.