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Today’s apprentice, tomorrow’s talent! 

by Lesley Heaton-Smith, Director of the College of Animal Welfare

Why consider an apprentice?

  • It makes business sense
  • It multiplies up the effect of your investment in training by adding Government support
  • It allows you to compete on skills and reputation
  • It creates time for you to do other things

Levels of apprenticeships


  • Level 2
  • Equiv. to 5 A* – C GCSEs
  • 12-18 months


  • Level 3
  • Equiv. to 2 A-levels
  • 18-48 months


  • Level 4 +
  • Equiv. to foundation degree level +
  • 24 months +


Advantages of training apprentices

  • Employer controls selection process
  • Investing in skills you need
  • Raises profile & reputation of your business
  • Control over labour availability
  • Lower staff costs
  • Lower staff turnover

Financial benefits for Licensed Owners

  • 16 -18 year old Apprentices – Government pays for all the training
  • Older Apprentices – Government pays half the training cost
  • Salary costs reflect employer investment
  • Apprenticeship rate of pay is £3.30 per hour
  • Low cost recruitment process with screening by the College


Hiring an apprentice

The Licensed Owner needs to:

  • employ an apprentice for a minimum of 30 hours per week
  • pay at least the national minimum wage for apprentices
  • issue a contract of employment
  • induct the apprentice and support their on-the-job learning using skills and knowledge in the workforce
  • be involved in reviewing the progress of an apprentice


How does the College help?

  • it identifies the apprenticeship that fits your requirements
  • it develops a training plan for the licensed establishment owner
  • ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ free recruitment service
  • it provides training to develop knowledge
  • it monitors progress of the apprentice and provides feedback to the employer

Government grants

Grants are available to Employers that:

  • have up to 50 employees
  • haven’t started an apprentice in the past 12 months
  • want to take on an apprentice (or apprentices) aged 16 to 24

Licensed owners may be able to get a Grant of £1,500 per apprentice and employers can claim a maximum of 5 grants, so up to £7,500 in total.


Common challenges with animal apprentices


  • Seasonal business
  • The ‘cuddle factor’
  • Family run businesses often with no room for outsiders


  • Training a future competitor who may, in future, compete on quality
  • Apprentices are slow
  • If you’ve never employed anyone before, help is available

Dog Walking

  • Inexperienced
  • Unreliable

General Issues

  • Can’t drive
  • Age

Think Apprenticeship!

Do you currently employ unqualified staff? An apprenticeship can help you and your employee in the following ways:

  • Gain a qualification
  • Ties them into your business
  • Can act as a motivator
  • Improves efficiencies
  • Raises your skill base and standards
  • Attracts new talent
  • Increasingly important to employ qualified people
  • Builds on your reputation
  • Attracts clients

Types of Animal Care apprenticeships

  • Dog Grooming
  • Animal Care & Welfare
  • Animal Training
  • Pet Care and Retail
  • Zoos and Wildlife

Qualification Delivery

  • Level 2 Day release option (Huntingdon Sept to July)
  • Level 2 & 3 work based option

Case study

casestudyEric Hugenberg is an Animal Care Assistant at The Mayhew  Animal Home. His duties include kennel cleaning, dog walking, feeding, training, grooming, basic medical care and introducing dogs to potential adopters.

Eric says:

“As this course is work-based it’s relevant to my job. An assessor visits every 4-6 weeks …. I have also completed a distance learning course in Canine Nutrition and a day-course in Animal First Aid. I really enjoy learning on the job but also realise that a structured course can provide more in-depth knowledge, as well as adding a qualification”


Preparing-for-an-Emergency-as-a-Pet-Owner-620x348 more information

CAW Apprenticeships in Animal Care April 2016

CAW website

CAW tel: 01480 422060