Vision Logo 2
Image of three students holding small animals

Welcome animal care applicants!

You have made a great decision choosing West Notts!

A big hello!

Welcome to the animal care department and the beginning of a very exciting and fulfilling career! Although, currently the industry of looking after and caring for animals is not operating as normal, we all know that our nation loves animals and this industry is growing year on year, part of which is a large animal visitor attraction economy in the UK that requires knowledgeable and trained employees.

Once you’ve completed the course you will be perfectly placed to apply for the roles, where our experienced students will be high in demand!

Animal care is much more than just looking after animals and their needs, it’s also about how animals work on the inside and their different functions in modern society. There are hundreds of different animal care job roles that are required to exceed customer (and animals’!) expectations. Some of our students have gone into employment in pet retail, in kennel/cattery work and in veterinary practices to name a few.

Our lecturers are experts within the industry and all have diverse experience, with specialisms including animal science, animal behaviour, exotic animal welfare, pet retail and environmental science.

We offer excellent opportunities to all of our students including the chance to travel and visit the industry in action, undertake valuable work experience and to gain the practical skills required to work in the industry through our links with industry partners such as White Post Farm, Matlock Farm Park, RSPCA and Stonebridge City farm. We hope to have our very own new small animal house ready in autumn that will house some exotic and other small animal species.

We are very proud of the outstanding progress achieved by students to ensure that they have the very best opportunity to gain employment within the sector or progress to university-level study.

We really look forward to welcoming you at the college and look forward to helping you develop your knowledge, your skills and ultimately aid you on your journey to success.

Helen Wilcockson
Head of Department – Travel, Hospitality, Animal Care and Foundation Studies


FAQs - animal care courses

The following information will hopefully give you a little bit more of an insight into what it will be like to be a student with us.

  • Where will I study?

    Our animal care courses are based at the Derby Road campus, Mansfield, and have a dedicated area with rooms for study and presentations. There is also a small on-site animal facility so that you can get real hands-on experience. You will also study one day per week at off-site venues such as local farm parks. The college operates 13 different bus routes to and from this campus, both in the morning and the evening.

  • What is it like?

    College is an adult, professional environment intended to prepare you to work in your chosen industry. We expect our students to behave in the way that they would in a job with an employer. Attendance and punctuality are very important too. The animal care team have a massive amount of experience and bring all their enthusiasm to their teaching.

  • What will I study?

    The courses are a mix of practical hands-on learning with a range of animals alongside classroom-based study. The higher the level of study programme that you’re on, there will be more theory combined with practical. It is important to understand that you will have plenty of time to care for animals but this is not the only thing you will do. You will need to study in a classroom too. The team will get you to work with a range of animals from the cute and cuddly rabbits to the not-so-cute and cuddly snakes and spiders!

  • What about English and maths?

    If you start at college and you haven’t yet achieved your English and maths GCSEs at grade 4 or above, then you will continue to study these for three hours each week per subject. At the end of your first year you will take a re-sit GCSE exam. It is important you attend your English and maths lessons alongside your chosen course.

    Take a look at our fact sheets to find out why English and maths is important within this industry.

    View English and maths fact sheets

  • What will I have to wear?

    Animal care students wear a uniform which includes navy blue polo shirts and fleece hoodies, and safety boots/wellingtons when they are in their practical environments. Jewellery will need to be removed or taped-up and long fingernails are not allowed in practical sessions. Animal care students sometimes choose not to wear uniform in classrooms. This is fine and we have no policy about clothes as long as they are not offensive, and we have no issues with hair colour, tattoos etc.

  • Will I have to do a work placement?

    Work placement is embedded at all levels of animal care and it is expected that every student spends one day a week outside college in a practical environment. In addition, students at levels 2 and 3 will be expected to spend some time on a formal work placement with an employer. This is a great way for you to get your foot in the door, impress an employer and potentially move into a job or apprenticeship as a result.

    All of our students will be able to also get engaged with our learning companies, which provide in-house opportunities to gain real-world experience. This year students are offering a ‘doggy day care’ service to members of staff at the college!


  • Applicant activities

    Before you start at West Notts, here are a few activites to get invloved in.

    Screenshot of on online form

    Complete your applicant information form

    As a condition of completing your application to West Notts, please select your course level below and complete the online form.

    Animal care Level 1 applicants

    Animal care Level 2 applicants

    Animal management Level 3 applicants

    Image of a women handling a goat on a farm

    Watch - Animal handling demonstration

    Here you can watch how animal care tutor Polly assesses the behaviour of a range of animals and she demonstrates how to handle them when picking them up.

    View the video on YouTube

    NCS loggo

    Read story - Students have fun building skills in the outdoors

    Find out how students have had fun in the great outdoors this autumn, challenging their communication, interpersonal and team-building skills through the National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme.

    Read story

    Young woman writing a letter

    Read letters from our current students

    Our students wanted to share their experiences of college with you. We hope their letters help answer some of your questions and put you at ease.

    Read Amy's letter

    Read Grace's letter

    Read Jorden's letter

    Read Linda's letter

  • Ask your tutor

    Anything playing on your mind about your college course? Then send your questions to our college tutors using our simple online form.

    Ask a question

Why choose West Notts?

The word 100% written in a circle

100% A Level pass rate in 2020.

An icon of a tick and checkbox in a circle

One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction.**Learner Exit Survey 2019/20

An icon of a bus in a circle

An extensive bus service across Mansfield and the surrounding area.

An icon of a building in a circle

We have four campuses each boasting a number of state-of-the-art facilities.

2020 Appeals Process | Policies and statements | Freedom of Information | Accessibility Statement | Modern Slavery Statement | Privacy Notices
© West Nottinghamshire College