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The college is open, and hygiene measures are in place to make the college as safe as it can be for our learners, staff and guests.
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New Courses & Support for Newton Rigg Students
From September 2021, we will be offering new courses in uniformed public services and are accepting Newton Rigg applications for the second year of study in some course areas.
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Course Mode
Start Date
Start Time
1 Year
End Date

Animal Care

With 54 million pets in the UK, we’re a nation of animal lovers.

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Course Overview

The course delivery is based around our Animal Rescue Centre (ARC), which has on-site veterinary facilities, and will give you the opportunity to gain necessary knowledge and practical skills required to work with a variety of animal species. The ARC provides care for a selection of resident exotic animals and small mammals, but also provides assessment and care for a wide range of presenting native wildlife casualties e.g. hedgehogs, seals, otters, birds of prey and garden bird species, co-ordinating the rehabilitation and intended release of these animals as appropriate.

Your participation and studies will not only benefit you, but the animals within the centre and beyond. Established links with the RSPCA, conservation organisations and local veterinary practices provide a very real experience and a network for you to explore future career opportunities.

You will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of trips to zoos and other animal care settings. There are also opportunities to take part in activities such as wildlife population surveying, conservation campaigns and fundraising events. We encourage the participation of visiting speakers, who can also provide valuable information to the learners regarding potential careers e.g. police dog handlers, conservation work

This course usually takes place over 3 days per week.

All of our learners will be given support with their English and Maths skills where relevant to their main programme. Those students who have not yet achieved a grade 4 or above at GCSE in these subjects will continue to work towards these important qualifications at a level suited to them.

Core Units are:
Unit 1: Animal Health
Unit 2: Animal Handling

Optional Units are:
Unit 3: Animal Welfare
Unit 4: Animal Housing and Accommodation
Unit 5: Principles of Animal Behaviour

Assessment is achieved through assignments (which may include written work, posters, presentations and practical workbooks) and external assessments which include examinations. Logging specific practical activities in the Animal Rescue Centre and work placement experience is vitally important in providing necessary evidence towards your qualification.

Our Animal Care staff hail from a range of backgrounds, all specialising in their respective disciplines including marine biology, veterinary, zoology, primatology and conservation.

Dr Lisbeth Tuckey is our resident veterinary surgeon with many years of clinical veterinary experience. She is particularly passionate about UK wildlife and is fundamental in allowing the College to run our wildlife rehabilitation centre. Lisbeth works closely with students, sharing her expertise and allowing them to get involved in practical procedures.

Sarah Neill is a marine biologist and expeditioner, with a love for anything that swims! She is also Cumbria Coordinator and Marine Mammal Medic for British Divers for Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) where she rescues marine mammals in need of help. Sarah has so much knowledge to share and inspires the learners daily with her exciting stories of missions to save animals.

James Mulvany is a zoologist with many years of experience in the zoo industry. He is particularly interested in birds, and regularly involves learners in bird watching around the campus. As an industry expert, James is an invaluable member of the lecturing team.

Rebecca Sweet is a primatologist and conservationist with experience working with primates all over the world. She links in her research knowledge with lessons to inspire learners to think 'outside of the box' from conventional conservation methods.

Collectively, our tutors provide a wealth of knowledge to inspire, teach, and prepare our learners for their next steps in life as academics or animal professionals. The College has connections with many conservation and animal related organisations including RSPCA, BDMLR, Mountain Marmosets Conservation Program, Animals Asia, Frog Life and many more!

Entry Requirements

You need to be able to demonstrate that you are working at Entry Level 3/GCSE Level 1 (or above) in Maths and English.

An interview will be required and initial assessments/transition visits may form part of the offer process.

After Your Course

Possible career opportunities include dog grooming, animal care assistant, kennel assistant and animal care technician. Learners who achieve high enough grades may progress onto the Level 2 Technical Diploma in Animal Care or onto another Level 2 Qualification.



Course fees are per year for full-time & degree-level courses, and per course for part-time courses.

The current full-time & degree-level fee information is related to the 2020/21 academic year and is subject to change before the start of the course. Fees for 2021/22 will be updated in the Spring Term 2021. There may also be additional costs associated with the course.

You may qualify for financial support to cover the cost of a government-funded qualification up to and including Level 2, if you:

  • Receive an eligible means-tested benefit e.g. JSA, ESA or Universal Credit
  • Have an annual salary of less than £17,004
  • Are aged 16-18 on 31/08/20 and are not studying at another school/college
  • Are aged 19-23 on 31/08/20 and do not already have a Level 1 or 2 qualification
  • Have a household income under £25,000 and are in financial hardship

Student Finance

Whether you qualify for student finance depends on specific criteria. The main student finance package for full-time students includes a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan for living costs. Part-time students can access a tuition fee loan to pay for your course.

Generally, you will only get student finance if you’re doing your first degree-level qualification. This is true even if your previous course was self-funded.

For further information please see

Access to Learning Fund
The Access to Learning Fund is a non-repayable discretionary fund that gives students facing hardship extra financial support to access and remain in higher education. This can is accessed via the college. Please speak to Student Services for more information.

Join us at our next

Open Evening

5 May 2021 16:00 – 20:00