Course overview

Quick Facts

If you are located outside the 90 minutes radius of the above centres, please contact us as we may still be able to meet your training needs.

Get qualified and do your dream job!

Many people dream of working with animals from an early age, which makes entry into animal related jobs very competitive. Working with animals often involves low pay, long hours and can be physically demanding; but the rewards that come from the love of the job and making a difference to the lives of animals make the work a popular career choice for many.

‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’ Confucius

As an animal care apprentice, you will be employed in an animal care environment gaining vital practical skills and experience, and earning a wage alongside studying your formal apprenticeship qualification.

By choosing to study with The College of Animal Welfare you will be joining a community of like-minded students and staff, who all share a passion for animal welfare.

Your apprenticeship materials will be delivered online via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); as such you can apply to start at any time of the year and will not be required to attend College for tuition. You will be allocated a Work-based Learning Assessor who will support you through your qualification via email and telephone contact and regular visits to your place of work.

Whilst the majority of students choose to undertake the Animal Care and Welfare pathway of this qualification, there is also the option to undertake the Dog Grooming pathway if you are working in a dog grooming environment. It may also be possible to undertake other pathways such as Pet Care and Retail or Zoos and Wildlife Establishments, please contact us for details.

Benefits to employers

  • Grow your business: Affordable way to expand and develop your business
  • Cost effective: Provide valuable opportunities whilst minimising recruitment and training costs
  • Enhanced reputation: Provide client reassurance by investing in trained staff
  • Increased productivity: Maximise staff efficiency though the development of knowledge and skills

The College of Animal Welfare has a well-earned reputation for excellence; delivering quality training and education and employer support. Your apprentice will benefit from:

  • Tuition, support and assessment provided in the workplace, online and via email and telephone contact
  • Support and guidance from an allocated, qualified Work-based Learning Assessor
  • Access to our unique Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and extensive eLibrary resources

* Any employer taking on an apprentice under 19 years of age, will receive an incentive of £1,000. £500 will be paid to you after the first three months of the apprenticeship and the remaining £500 after the first year on programme. *

Employers with less than 50 employees
If you take on an apprentice under 19 years of age (or 19-24 years who has an EHC plan or who has been in the care of their local authority), the apprentices training will be fully funded.

Course content

This apprenticeship consists of:

  • City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Animal Care
  • Functional Skills Level 1 in Maths and English
  • Lantra Employment Right and Responsibilities Workbook
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Animal Care

Over the course of the qualification, you will undertake both mandatory and optional units, which will allow you to tailor the qualification to the needs of both yourself and your employer. The units you undertake will be discussed with you at induction to make sure they fit your interests and job role.

Mandatory units:

  • Maintain and develop personal performance
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with others
  • Promote and maintain the health and well-being of animals
  • Select and prepare accommodation for animals
  • Maintain animal accommodation
  • Control and restrain animals
  • Moving animals between locations
  • Make sure your own actions reduce risks to health and safety
  • Maintain the cleanliness and bio security of the animal care working environment
  • Prepare feed for animals
  • Provide feed and water to animals

Optional units that you can then choose from include:

  • Provide controlled exercise opportunities for animals
  • Provide opportunities for animals to have freedom to exercise
  • Welcome, receive and care for visitors to sites
  • Prepare and groom animals
  • Dry dogs prepare their coats for styling
  • Load and unload animals for transportation

You will be assessed via completion of a portfolio, pass work-based practical assessments and undertake a technical certificate test.

Functional Skills

You will undertake Level 1 Functional Skills in English and Maths unless exempt. These are assessed via online examinations and practical assessments.

Entry requirements

There are no formal academic entry requirements. However, you will need to be living and working in England in a suitable animal care environment (such as a boarding kennels, cattery, animal charity or zoo), within a 90 minute radius of our Huntingdon, Potters Bar or Leeds centres, earning at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices. To complete this apprenticeship within 14-16 months you will need to be working for a minimum of 30 hours per week, if you are working less than 30 hours a week the length of your apprenticeship will be extended depending on your working hours.

If you have a level 4 (or above) qualification, from May 2017 you are now still able to undertake this apprenticeship if your current qualification is in an unrelated subject. If your existing qualification is in a similar subject you will not be able to undertake this apprenticeship, in which case you may wish to undertake the City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Animal Care as a standalone qualification.

Course fees

Apprenticeship fees are payable by the employer. We offer two different payment options; our ‘Annual Fee Scheme’ or our ‘Pay as You Learn’ monthly payment scheme. Details on both of these payment options can be found here.

Sources of financial help if you require support during your studies can be found on our student finance page. Before making any financial decision it is recommended that you seek advice from an independent source, for example the Money Advice Service.

Please note that course fees listed below apply to courses starting before the 1 May 2017. Fees for courses starting on, or after, 1 May 2017 will be published in due course.

Intermediate Apprenticeship in Work-based Animal Care

Age at start of course Annual Fee Scheme (?) Pay as You Learn Scheme (?) Awarding Body Fees (minimum) *
16-18 No fees payable No fees payable No fees payable
19-23 £860 payable by employer £53 per month payable by employer £168 payable by employer
24+ £895 payable by employer £56 per month payable by employer £168 payable by employer

Fees listed are current figures and may be subject to change. Course fees reflect the level of funding that is available as a result of government policies and priorities. These may be the result of age, employment status, previous education achievements or location for example, and are outside the control of The College of Animal Welfare.

* Awarding Body Fees are recharged at cost and may be subject to change; these are payable in full prior to the commencement of the course and are non-refundable. The costs shown are based on the minimum number of units necessary to achieve the qualification.

What next?

On completion of your apprenticeship you will have gained the confidence, practical skills and abilities to excel in your position. During this time, your desire to learn and increase your knowledge further may lead you to wondering what you should do next!

If you are looking to study to the next level you may consider undertaking the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Work-based Animal Care. To do so you would need to be working in a supervisory or managerial position, however, if you are not currently working in such a role but are aspiring to do so, it may still be possible to undertake the advanced apprenticeship; this will be assessed on an individual basis and is something your assessor will discuss with you as you approach the end of the intermediate apprenticeship.


“I really enjoyed the different assignments that were set as I was able to lay them out how I wanted  to using photos and tables, and I could also choose the animals I wanted to write about in my assignments. I would highly recommend the Animal Care Level 2 and 3 courses as they are enjoyable qualifications and look good on a CV! I would also recommend an apprenticeship as it really helps you through your qualification by gaining experience on a daily basis.” Read the case study
Shannon Summerell, Intermediate Apprenticeship in Work-based Animal Care