Animal Care & Welfare Assistant - Level 2 Apprenticeship

Writtle University College are excited to be rolling out the new Animal Care and Welfare Assistant Apprenticeship Standard, which has been specifically designed by employers to meet the needs of industry and provide you with the skills and knowledge to succeed in your industry.

The Apprenticeship provides a blend of practical hands on experience with the underpinning knowledge. At the end of the Apprenticeship you will be required to complete an independent End-Point Assessment to prove you have gained the required skills to achieve the Apprenticeship.

You will:

  • Work in your chosen industry for a minimum of 30 hours per week.
  • Get paid a minimum of the Apprenticeship Wage (
  • Study in a flexible way - students attend College one day a week and work with their employer for the rest of the week.
  • Be assessed and graded with either a pass, merit or distinction at the end of your programme by an Independent Assessment Organisation.
  • Complete work-related tasks and assessments.
  • Receive mentoring visits in your workplace from your Writtle University College Training Officer, who will provide support, assess and review your progress.
  • If you do not have a GCSE Grade 4 (C Grade) in Maths and English you will complete Functional Skills in English and Maths or there is the option to study for Maths and English GCSE (depending on previous qualifications).

Course Content

Depending on where you employed, there are two different pathways: Animal Care or the Veterinary Care Support route.

Examples of some of the topics you may cover (depending on pathway):

  • UK and EU Animal related legislation
  • Current legislation, policies, procedures, guidelines, Codes of Practice and ethics relevant to the workplace and the health and welfare of animals
  • The species/breeds specific to your role and common characteristics
  • Signs that indicate potential problems with animals’ health and welfare and the actions that should be taken
  • Medication types, administering medication, safe handling and disposal of medication
  • Animal first aid, urgent, ongoing and preventive care
  • Accommodation and environment requirements that are suitable and safe for animals
  • The use of different cleaning materials and equipment
  • Feeding, watering and basic nutrition and characteristics of foodstuffs
  • How to safely approach/handle/restrain/move animals
  • The behaviours of the animal, applicable to the species and how it impacts its care and welfare
  • Animal behaviour
  • Methods required to meet the animals’ need for enrichment/exercise opportunities, appropriate to species and individual animal
  • Basic anatomy and physiology
  • Basic reproduction and obstetrics and reproductive behaviour, including neutering
  • The importance of the human and animal bond
  • The changing needs of animals’ dependent on their life stage
  • Basic awareness of capture techniques
  • Hygiene, bio security procedures and infection controls when working with animals

What are the progression options?

After completing an Apprenticeship at level 2, the natural progression route would be to progress on to the level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship or Level 3 Full time Animal Care course. After which the option for continuing study would be to progress in to Higher Education or alternatively the Apprentice can progress in to full time employment within the industry.

This employment would likely be in the following type of job roles:
  • Animal Care & Welfare Officer
  • Zoos / Wildlife Establishments
  • Pet Care & Retail
  • Animal Training
  • Dog Grooming

How do I apply?

An apprentice needs to be in paid employment, so whilst you can apply for the Apprenticeship before you find an employer, you'll need to be employed before you can start the course. Many of our Apprentices already worked or volunteered for the companies who then decide to support them through their Apprenticeship. Our employers range from large local authorities and national contractors to micro companies. We are always happy to provide your employers with the information they need regarding potentially employing an Apprentice and can offer advice, however small or large businesses may be.

I don't have an employer

If you are interested in becoming an Apprentice, but don't have an employer please visit our website for tips on how to find an employer and to see a list of our current Apprenticeship vacancies.

I have an employer

If you have secured or are already in relevant paid employment with an employer willing to support you through the apprenticeship please complete the application form.