Animal Care Apprenticeships

Animal care apprenticeships can provide a stepping stone into a highly rewarding career. If you have a love for animals and you’re keen to begin a career where you’ll be working with animals, then this could be the route you’ve been looking for!

This guide will cover:

  • Different types of animal care apprenticeships
  • The level of animal care apprenticeships available
  • What they involve
  • Where to find an apprenticeship in animal care 
  • Why commit to work experience

Apprenticeships in animal care will help you to gain the skills, experience and knowledge needed to kick-start you’re career in the sector. There are so many animal jobs available via the apprenticeship route too! You might be surprised to hear that you can even become a veterinary nurse through an apprenticeship. Whether you’re looking for equine careers, animal training or everything in between an animal care apprenticeship can certainly help you.

Different types of Animal Care Apprenticeships

There is a range of animal care apprenticeships, it’s all about finding which is the right level for you. Take a look at some of the opportunities below:


In short, farriers are blacksmiths but for horses. They make and fit horseshoes. Blacksmiths are only able to do this if they are registered as farriers! Everyday roles and responsibilities include: 

  • Discussing the requirements of the horse with its owner
  • Ensuring the horse it properly balanced by cutting away excess hoof growth, as well as checking the horse’s foot and leg
  • Choosing the horse’s shoe to suit its working conditions and activity level, as well as taking into account, weight, size and foot condition
  • Manufacturing the horseshoes by hand/machine
    Making any adjustments as required using an anvil or hammer
  • Fitting the horseshoes
  • Liaising with vets as required for surgical procedures and farriery

Animal Trainer

If you start your career as an animal trainer apprentice, you could be planning, delivering and managing the training of animals in your care. You’ll use a range of methods and positivity to reinforce good behaviour. You’ll also be expected to review what is working and what isn’t so you can amend your techniques as required. 

You could be working for a range of organisations, from charities such as the RSPCA or Guide Dogs to the British Army. 

Animal Care & Welfare Assistant

As an animal care and welfare assistant, you could be working in a range of different settings. From kennels and catteries to farm parks, veterinary practices and pet retailers, it all depends on where your passions and interests lie. 

This role will be an animal care assistant job but there will be plenty of opportunities for progression after qualifying. As part of your apprenticeship, you’ll be expected to care for domestic and/or wild animals ensuring you meet their requirements, such as water, feeding, playtime as well as safely handling the animals.

vet caring for cat

Veterinary Nurse

An apprenticeship in this area will see you providing care to animals who are sick and have an appointment at the veterinary surgery. You’ll be caring and work closely with animals and their owners to educate them on keeping their pets healthy and fit. You’ll also explain different dietary requirements, fitness levels as well as carrying out technical work. This might include carrying out medical treatments, minor surgical procedures and diagnostic tests under the direction of the veterinary. To become a veterinary nurse, you must be a registered professional with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and able to work within the high standards and practices they outline. 

Equine Groom

For this apprenticeship, you’ll need to have a keen interest in working with horses and not be afraid of hard work! This career often involved working in all different types of weather conditions, as well as out of hours so commitment is a skill you’ll definitely need to have! 

Your main responsibilities will be to provide care to horses while looking after their welfare and safety. Your daily tasks will include:

  • Feeding
  • Grooming
  • Cleaning
  • Handling
  • Exercising

Depending on the job you commit to, you might also be expected to transport and care for horses who enter races, competitions, shows etc.

Although these are currently the main animal care apprenticeships available, don’t forget – there are also more apprenticeships in animal care, which are in the development stages. These will be available at a later date! To keep up to date with these visit The Institute For Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

What level of Animal Apprenticeships are available?

Animal apprenticeships currently range from Level 2 (Intermediate) to Level 4 (Higher). Opting for the apprenticeship route is a great way to gain a qualification, while also developing your experience, skills and knowledge. Not only will you be working towards a nationally recognised qualification but you will also get paid a real salary!

To get into animal care, most employers will look for: 

  • A keen interest in working with animals
  • Empathetic, patient and understanding
  • A close attention to detail

What do apprenticeships in animal care involve?

Animal care apprenticeships offer a wealth of opportunities. Going to university isn’t for everyone and an apprenticeship provides an alternative opportunity for you to get qualified while working in a hands-on role. As an apprentice, you will split your time between 80% on the job training and 20% off the job. An apprenticeship in animal care will give you all the skills, experience and knowledge you need to progress your career forward in the industry. 

Remember – there are lots of indirect roles within animal care too! For example, you might opt to work as a receptionist at a vets, marketing for an animal charity or on the shop floor at your local pet store. There really is a diversity of opportunities, it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Still unsure if this is the right route for you? Work experience is a great way to help you decide!

Work experience in Animal Care

Animal care is an increasingly important career and a very popular choice. The UK is known as a nation of pet lovers, with more and more owners considering themselves as a pet parent, it’s only set to get more in demand. Work experience can provide a stepping stone for you to find employment in the industry. It will showcase your dedication and desire to start your career and help you to gain experience first-hand.  Employers love work experience and commitment and this will highlight both while also giving you the chance to learn more about the industry and whether it’s the right route for you. 

So whether you’re looking for an animal care apprenticeship, work experience or course, can help you find the right role for you!

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