Course Overview

This introductory work-based programme, awarded by City & Guilds, is ideal if you see yourself working with animals, but have little experience in the animal care industry. This course provides learners with a solid foundation in basic animal care principles and practices from which to progress onto further animal care qualifications.

As a work-based programme, you will not be required to attend College, instead one of our work based learning assessors will visit you in your place of work to support and assess you at regular intervals throughout the course. All course materials are provided via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), therefore you can work towards your qualification in your own time, at work or at home, or even on the move! Our experienced team of assessors will be here to support and help you to achieve your qualification and succeed.

Students with prior knowledge or experience may start with a higher level course. If you are unsure at which level to start please contact us for advice; we will be pleased to discuss your options with you and advise on which course most suits your experience and career objectives.

Please note that this programme is usually undertaken within a 90 minute radius of our Huntingdon, North London and Leeds centres; however if you are located outside of these areas please contact us, as we may still be able to accommodate your training requirements.

Key facts

Attendance: As this is a work based, distance learning programme, you will not be required to attend college. Instead all course tuition, support and assessment will be provided in the workplace, online and via email and telephone contact. You will be supported by one of the College’s work-based learning assessors and will be mentored by your supervisor in the workplace.
9-12 months
Start date:
This programme can be started at any time.
Within a 90 minute radius of our centres in Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire), North London and Leeds (West Yorkshire)

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Course Content

Over the course of the qualification you will undertake the following units:

  • Assist with the care of animals
  • Assist with animal accommodation
  • Assist with the movement and handling of small animals
  • Assist with feedstuffs for small animals
  • Maintain the safety of self and others in the workplace

And then choose from a range of optional units in order to gain enough credits to achieve the qualification.


Assessment consists of completing a portfolio and passing work-based practical assessments.

Entry Requirements

There are no formal academic entry requirements; however you must be either employed (or volunteering) in a suitable animal care environment, such as a boarding kennels or cattery, animal charity, zoo or wildlife centre.

Course Fees

Course fees can either be paid in full before the beginning of the course, or via our ‘Pay As You Learn’ monthly payment scheme

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

Course Fees

Full Fee Pay As You Learn
£893 £74 per month

Awarding Body Fees*

City & Guilds fees: £113.60

* Awarding Body Fees are payable by all students or 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 this course you should have a solid understanding of the principles and practices behind animal care, which will stand you in good stead when looking for employment within an animal care environment such as a kennels, cattery or rescue centre. If you’re looking for a place to start, our jobs board advertises current animal care jobs from time-to-time.

Alternatively, you might wish to pursue further study by progressing onto the Level 2 Diploma /Intermediate Apprenticeship in Work-based Animal Care, which will build upon existing skills and knowledge.

CAW Connect

After you complete your studies with The College of Animal Welfare, you will be invited to join our alumni association, CAW Connect. CAW Connect is a social networking website and education hub which gives you the opportunity to connect with other alumni, enjoy industry discounts, make use of exclusive careers advice and resources, find new job opportunities and keep up-to-date with the latest industry news. Find out more about CAW Connect