Our app

Download our app

Click on the App Store or Google Play logos below to download the College app.

app store

google play

news icon 1.1       Policies1

Check out our latest events!

Apply now!

Not sure? No problem

Choosing what to study can be challenging. Speak to one of our advisors to find out what your options are.

Advice & Help Centre

About the course

The aim of the qualification is to provide a starting point for people wishing to gain a sound knowledge and skills base within the animal care sector which will allow progression to further learning or qualifications, or into employment opportunities. If you are looking for an animal based course but have little experience, or perhaps you didn't gain the qualification grades you were hoping for, this could be the perfect course for you!  


This course is a practical based study programme which includes some classroom based theory learning, in addition to the further development of both English and Maths. You will have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to assist with the care and health and well-being of a wide range of animals safely and with confidence, including domestic mammals, livestock and exotic mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish. In addition to developing your practical skills and animal husbandry knowledge, this course aims to develop your confidence working with others and your study skills to prepare you for further study. The course will also include trips to businesses associated with the animal industry, as well as input from visiting speakers and current employers. 

Entry requirements

Students wishing to study the Level 1 Diploma in Vocational Studies (Animal Care) require no specific prior qualifications, learning or experience. However, the nature of both the learning and assessment required for the qualification is such that learners will need basic literacy and numeracy skills: i.e. the ability to read and interpret written tasks and to write answers in a legible and understandable form. For this reason we are asking for applicants to hold at least 2 GCSE subjects at grade 2 (GCSE grade E/F), however we are happy to discuss this on a case by case basis at interview.




BTEC Level 1 Introductory Diploma in Vocational Studies - Animal Care (360 GLH)(Qualification Number 601/8588/0)

What you'll learn (core modules)

Level 1 Diploma in Vocational Studies (Animal Care) is a full-time vocational course studied over one year, three days a week.


Topics studied will include:

  • Being Organised
  • Developing a Personal Progression Plan
  • Working with Others
  • Researching a topic
  • Practical Actions to Protect the Environment
  • Present a Business Idea
  • Running an Event
  • Communication with Customers
  • Caring For and Feeding Animals
  • Moving and Accommodating Animals


We encourage the Level 1 students to gain an external work placement within the animal sector and undertake between 30 and 50 hours of work related experience. This provides the students with additional employability skills and assists with their progression if they are considering studying the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Animal Care the following year. Areas within the animal care industry that could be approached for work experience could include; veterinary clinics, rescue facilities, kennels/catteries, pet shops, farm parks, zoos, grooming parlours, dog crèches etc. 


'Routine Duties' are timetabled within the colleges Animal Centre in Bury St Edmunds for students to undertake the daily husbandry tasks necessary to provide high standards of animal welfare.  


Students that do not hold a grade 4 or above (GCSE grade C+) in GCSE Maths or English will be required to undertake these subjects alongside their Level 1 Diploma in Vocational Studies (Animal Care) until those grades are obtained.  Students will be asked to complete an initial assessment for English and Maths for the college to ascertain what level will be best for you to learn. 

44385723 328157394660140 1112235923656933376 n
44396184 328161677993045 6325330188020219904 n

Benefits, skills and character strengths

You will develop your character strengths and overall workplace effectiveness whilst undertaking 'Routine Duties' in the Animal Centre. You will work with other animal care team members to manage our animal collection, providing the highest standard of animal welfare to a range of species and receive regular feedback to develop your technical skill and working performance. You will also engage in some work experience in an external animal related establishment chosen by yourself one day a week.


This course will develop your confidence working with others, communication skills and time management skills, ultimately supporting you with further progression either onto further study or the into the animal care industry. 

How will I be assessed?

Students are assessed through a variety of methods, including carrying out practical tasks, presenting information that you have gathered, keep working logbooks, records and reflective journals, practise English and mathematical skills, take part in oral or written presentations, take part in role play, interviews and other activities.


Some study at home may be essential in order to successfully meet assessment deadlines, however all students will be supported across all aspects of their learning.

Where is the course delivered? (facilities/classrooms)

This course will be delivered within our new Animal Centre based at the colleges main campus in Bury St Edmunds. 

Where will the course take me?

Today's BTEC Introductory qualifications will demand a lot of practical work from you. You will complete a range of units, be organised, take assessments that will demonstrate your skills and keep a portfolio of your assignments. You can feel proud in achieving a BTEC because, whatever your plans, success in your BTEC Introductory Diploma will help you progress to the next stage of your learning.


Completion of the Level 1 Diploma in Vocational Studies (Animal Care Pathway) students can go straight into industry to jobs such as: Assistant Farm Worker, Assistant Yard Worker, Assistant Kennel/Cattery Worker, Pet Shop Assistant etc.    

Alternatively, students may progress onto the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Animal Care or an apprenticeship. Students wishing to progress to the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Animal Care will be asked to meet certain entry criteria which will be explained during the academic year. 

Will I need any materials or equipment?

Whilst working with animals it is of upmost importance that you wear Personal Protective Equipment to protect yourself and the animals.

To work safely within our Animal Centre and with our animals we ask that you wear;

  • Navy veterinary style tunic (approx. £25.22)
  • Steel toe capped boots


You are welcome to purchase your steel toe capped boots from any shop you wish (Screwfix, Amazon, eBay, Sports Direct etc.) but your tunic will need to be purchased from Salon Wear Direct. Further information regarding how to order the tunic and over trousers will be issued to you during the colleges induction week. You will provided with the opportunity to purchase an 'Animal Studies' hoodie but this is not mandatory (approx. £26.17).


We recommend that anyone working with animals ensures that their 'Tetanus Injection' is up to date, please speak to your Doctor if you are unsure. 


Students are expected to provide their own stationary in order to engage and achieve fully in their lessons, we suggest the following items:
  • A4 lever arch file
  • Dividers
  • Plastic 'poly pockets' for submitting assignments
  • A4 lined paper
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Highlighter pens
  • Ruler
  • Colouring pens/pencils

How much will it cost?

The Personal Protective Equipment required for the course costs approximately £50


We will be running trips throughout the academic year, the cost of these will be provided via a letter once the trip has been finalised. 


I'm interested. What should I do now?

You are welcome to apply online where you will be invited for an interview at with a member of the Animal Studies course team. However, if you would like the opportunity the see the campus sooner and discuss your options please visit us on one of the colleges open events. 

Days & times

Starting September 2020

Ask us a Question

If there is anything more you would like to know about this course, please message us here.

Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Invalid Input
Please enter a message

Ask us a Question

If there is anything more you would like to know about this course, please message us here.

Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Invalid Input
Please enter a message