Animal Care/training

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Animal Care/training

The animal care and training sectors provide rewarding career opportunities for school leavers who are passionate about working with animals. These fields are crucial for the welfare and proper training of pets, wildlife, and working animals. From entry-level roles to structured apprenticeships, here's a guide to the opportunities available in the animal care and training sectors in the UK.

Opportunities in the Animal Care Sector

Animal Care Assistant

Animal care assistants support the daily care of animals in settings such as veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and zoos. School leavers can start in this role with minimal qualifications and receive on-the-job training. Responsibilities include feeding animals, cleaning enclosures, and assisting with medical treatments. This role is a great starting point for those looking to work closely with animals and gain experience in animal welfare.

Veterinary Nurse Apprentice

Veterinary nurse apprenticeships offer school leavers the chance to gain practical experience and formal qualifications while working in veterinary practices. These programmes typically last two to three years and cover animal health, surgical procedures, and client communication. Completing an apprenticeship leads to a qualification as a registered veterinary nurse (RVN).

Kennel or Cattery Assistant

Kennel or cattery assistants care for pets in boarding facilities, ensuring their well-being during their stay. School leavers can enter this role with minimal qualifications and receive training provided by employers. Duties include feeding, grooming, exercising animals, and maintaining cleanliness. This role is ideal for those who enjoy working with domestic pets and ensuring their comfort.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Assistant

Wildlife rehabilitation assistants help care for injured or orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. School leavers can start in this role with relevant qualifications or volunteer experience. Responsibilities include feeding and monitoring animals, administering medications, and assisting with rehabilitation programmes. This role is perfect for those passionate about wildlife conservation.

Pet Groomer

Pet groomers provide grooming services such as bathing, brushing, and trimming for domestic pets. School leavers can start as grooming assistants and receive training through apprenticeships or certification programmes. Responsibilities include handling pets safely, performing grooming tasks, and advising pet owners on grooming needs. This role offers opportunities for self-employment or working in pet salons.


Opportunities in the Animal Training Sector

Dog Trainer

Dog trainers work with dogs and their owners to teach obedience, address behavioural issues, and train for specific tasks. School leavers can start as assistant trainers or through dog training apprenticeships, gaining experience and certification from recognised organisations. Responsibilities include conducting training sessions, creating training plans, and educating pet owners. This role requires patience, communication skills, and a strong understanding of canine behaviour.

Equine Trainer

Equine trainers work with horses to develop their skills for riding, racing, or performing. School leavers can start as stable hands or through equine training apprenticeships, learning about horse care and training techniques. Duties include exercising horses, training for specific disciplines, and ensuring the well-being of the horses. This role is ideal for those with a passion for equine sports and activities.

Animal Behaviourist

Animal behaviourists study animal behaviour and work to address behavioural issues in pets and other animals. School leavers can start as assistants or pursue relevant qualifications in animal behaviour and psychology. Responsibilities include observing animal behaviour, developing behaviour modification plans, and working with pet owners to implement strategies. This role requires strong analytical skills and a deep understanding of animal behaviour.

Assistance Dog Trainer

Assistance dog trainers train dogs to assist people with disabilities, such as guide dogs for the visually impaired or therapy dogs for those with mental health conditions. School leavers can start as trainee trainers with organisations that specialise in assistance dogs. Training involves teaching dogs specific tasks, socialising them, and matching them with clients. This role is highly rewarding and impactful.


Zookeepers care for animals in zoos, ensuring their health and well-being while educating the public about wildlife. School leavers can start as junior keepers or through zookeeper apprenticeships. Duties include feeding animals, cleaning enclosures, monitoring animal health, and assisting with breeding programmes. This role offers a unique opportunity to work with a wide variety of exotic animals.


The animal care and training sectors in the UK offer numerous opportunities for school leavers seeking fulfilling and impactful careers. Whether you start as an animal care assistant, dog trainer, or through an apprenticeship, there are many pathways to develop your skills and advance your career. With dedication and the right training, you can build a successful and rewarding career working with animals. Start exploring your options today and take the first step towards a promising future in animal care and training.

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