Course overview

A Level 2 Animal Care Apprenticeship is also available

This City & Guilds programme is ideal for those who are working with animals, looking for a qualification that reflects their practical skills and knowledge.

This course is studied on a work based learning basis. Whilst the majority of students choose to undertake the Animal Care and Welfare pathway of this qualification, there are other pathways available such as Animal Training and Pet Care and Retail; allowing you to tailor the course to your interests, job requirements and career objectives.

Your course materials will be provided via our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), meaning you can work towards your qualification in your own time, at work or at home, or even on the move!

The knowledge you will gain from undertaking this qualification, alongside the practical experience you will be accumulating through employment or work experience, will enable you to do your job more effectively and boost your career prospects.

Please note that this programme is usually delivered within a 90 minute radius of our Huntingdon, North London or Leeds Centres.  If you are located outside of this area, please contact us, as we may still be able to meet your training needs.

Fully funded places available for this course, subject to eligibility. Learn more →

Key Facts

  • Attendance: You will not be required to come into college; your assessment and support will be carried out in your workplace and via email and telephone contact with one of our work-based learning assessors.
  • Duration: 14-18 months
  • Start date: The work-based learning programme can be started at any time.
  • Location: Within a 90 minute radius of Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire), North London or Leeds (West Yorkshire)

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Course content

A Level 2 Animal Care Apprenticeship is also available

Over the course of the qualification you will undertake the following 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

You will then choose from a range of optional units such as:

  • 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

As some of the units that make up the qualification are optional, you will have the opportunity to discuss the units that you will be undertaking at induction to make sure they fit with your interests and job role.


You will complete a portfolio, pass work-based practical assessments and undertake a technical certificate test.

Entry requirements

A Level 2 Animal Care Apprenticeship is also available

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

Course fees

Fully funded places available for this course, subject to eligibility. Learn more →

Course fees can either be paid in full before the beginning of the course, on an annual basis, 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 Annual Pay As You Learn
£2,195 £1,098 per year £122 per month

Awarding Body Fees*

City & Guilds fees: £139.20

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

A Level 2 Animal Care Apprenticeship is also available – view fees

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?

Completion of this qualification will demonstrate to employers your practical skills and abilities, standing you in good stead when applying for future job roles in the industry. Depending on your personal skills and career aims, you could pursue employment in, for example, a cattery, kennels or rescue centre. If you’re looking for your next opportunity, our jobs board advertises current animal care jobs from time-to-time.

This course will also lay the foundations for further animal care study. As such you may wish to look at undertaking the Level 3 Diploma in Work-based Animal Care or Advanced Apprenticeship in Animal Care. To do this, you will need to be working in a supervisory role. If you have any concerns about whether your job role will allow you to do this, please speak to your work based assessor or a member of our Customer Advice Team on 01480 422060.

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


“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, Level 2 Diploma / Intermediate Apprenticeship in Work-based Animal Care