Course overview

Start your job search at our Animal Care Apprenticeship Recruitment Day: Thursday 22 November 2018 @ Leeds!

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This course is also available as a Level 2 Diploma for those not eligible for an apprenticeship

Quick Facts

  • 14-18 months (20% of your time must be spent studying off the job)
  • England (90 minutes radius of Huntingdon, Potters Bar and Leeds)
  • Monthly payment options
  • Non-apprenticeship option available

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


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

This course is also available as a Level 2 Diploma for those not eligible for an apprenticeship

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. Prior to commencing the course an invoice will be issued for the total course fee. There are, however, several payment options to choose from:

  • Full Fee:  Payment in full before the beginning of the course
  • Annual:  One payment prior to the start of the course followed by equal payments every 12 months thereafter
  • Quarterly:  One payment prior to the start of the course followed by payments every three months thereafter
  • Monthly:  One payment prior to the start of the course followed by monthly payments thereafter

If you have not achieved your qualification by the planned end date detailed in your individual learning plan, your employer will be able to pay monthly direct debit payments to allow you to continue to receive support and access to your course until certification of your award.

Course Fees

The way apprenticeships are funded, and paid for, has now changed. Employers should take note of the fees that are applicable to their organisation. As an employer you will either be an Apprenticeship Levy Payer (employers with over a £3 million pay bill) or Non-Levy Payers (employers with less than a £3 million pay bill).

Employ an apprentice aged 16-18 and save over £1,000!

If you take on an apprentice under 19 years of age, you will receive a £1,000 incentive from the government towards the training fees! In addition, if your organisation has less than 50 contracted employees  the course fees will be reduced by a further £200!

Course fees for Apprenticeship Levy Payers

Course fees are made up of two parts; a digital account payment and college course fees, as below:

Digital account payment – £2,000
College course fees:

Full Fee Annual Quarterly Monthly
£1,457 £728.30 per year £243 every three months £81 per month

Course fees for Non-Levy Payers

Course fees for Non-Levy Payers are paid via co-investment with the government, meaning that the government provide some funding towards course fees. The additional fees that you will be required to pay are as follows:

Full Fee Annual Quarterly Monthly
£1,657 £828.30 per year £276 every three months £92 per month

Awarding Body Fees*

City & Guilds registration and certificate fees: £168

* Awarding Body Fees are payable by all employers and recharged at cost and may be subject to change.

Sources of financial help 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.

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

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