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Course Mode
Start Date
Start Time
1 Year
Milnthorpe Road Campus

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.

Work placement experience is also included as a requirement in completing this qualification, and we have links with a range of animal care sector employers with whom we are often able to arrange placements. Work placement experience can take place in a wide range of environments e.g. veterinary surgery, boarding and day care provision, dog groomer, zoo, pet shop, stables and farms.

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.

Mandatory units are:
- Practical Animal Health
- Introduction to Animal Biology and Health (externally assessed)
- Animal Care Work Placement
- Animal Welfare (externally assessed)
- Animal Behaviour Assessment and Safe Handling
- Feeding, Accommodating and Moving Animals

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

4 GCSEs Grade 3 (old grade D) or above.

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 3 Animal Management or onto an apprenticeship in Animal Care.



The fee displayed is the course fee. Course fees are per year for full-time & degree-level courses and per course for part-time courses.

There may be other costs associated with this course, e.g. kit, equipment, books, trips etc. Financial support may be available to support you with these. See the Student Money pages for more information.

Courses fees

The current full-time & degree-level fee information is related to the 2023/24 academic year.

Entry Level, Level 1 & Level 2 Courses

You may qualify for financial support to cover the cost of a government-funded qualification if any of the below apply to you:

  • Have an annual salary of less than £20,319.
  • Receive an eligible means-tested benefit, e.g. JSA, ESA or Universal Credit.
  • Are aged 16-18 on 31/08/23 and are not studying at another school/college.
  • Are aged 19 or over on 31/08/23 and do not already have a Level 1, 2 or 3 qualification.
  • Have a household income under £35,000 and are in financial hardship.

See the Student Money pages for more information.

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