South Devon College

Inspiring our community through learning for all

Contact us on: 08000 380123

Animal Care

Here at South Devon College, we are very proud of our outstanding Animal Care facilities and resources. We house over 150 species of animals, including meerkats, pigs, insects, lizards and rabbits, which means that you get a high quality, varied and practical learning experience. Animal welfare is of the utmost importance to us, which is why we are committed to providing only the best facilities, enabling you to develop as a leading professional with a passion for success, as you learn from our team of experienced teaching staff.

Studying Animal Care with the College is an easy decision thanks to our links with local employers, including Paignton Zoo, the largest zoo in the South West. You will have the opportunity to undertake various work placements that will help develop your skills and knowledge of the industry, and we also schedule a range of vocational trips throughout the year to help you understand the careers that are open to you as you find your own specialist area of interest.

Our provision extends from Level 1 qualifications through to our Bachelor's Degree in Applied Animal Science, which means that whatever your goals or ambitions in the animal care industry, you can achieve them with South Devon College. During your time here, you will cover topics that include animal handling, biology, husbandry, conservation and many more, preparing you for employment in a range of jobs and roles such as veterinary nursing or working in wildlife parks and rescue centres.


Why South Devon College?

South Devon College is an outstanding place to learn, and the perfect place for your education and development. In 2014, we were delighted to be recognised as the top Further Education and Tertiary College in England, in results published by the Skills Funding Agency for 2012-13. We were also graded as 'Outstanding' in our most recent Ofsted inspection.

We are proud to promote a culture of success within the College, with fantastic results across the entirety of our provision. With an exceptional learning environment and our inspirational teaching team, we know that together, you will enjoy the same success in your studies and achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

Personalised Learning Programmes

Every student at South Devon College has a Personalised Learning Programme; a custom plan tailored to you as an individual that ensures you gain the academic, vocational and employability skills necessary to achieve your goals and find employment upon the completion of your studies.


Suzanne Stewart : Animal Care student

I really enjoyed my studies on the Level 3 Animal Management course. I found the tutors to be extremely supportive, and was able to progress to the FdSc Animal Science course, knowing that I would receive fantastic support. There were regular trips which always supported my learning, and it was incredibly useful to hear from speakers who had industry experience. My goal is to work with primates or in veterinary practice, and I'm excited about my future in this industry thanks to the knowledge gained from my studies.


Donna Fowler: Animal Care lecturer

I have been a veterinary nurse for 17 years, working in Paignton and Bristol as well as spending time in a practice in Cape Town. I worked my way up from a trainee level to managing 2 surgeries. I love my time teaching at the College, and watching learners grow in confidence as they develop their knowledge and interact with our animals in the unit. I always consider it my greatest success to see a learner join us at a particular level and grow into an experienced practitioner with an exciting future ahead of them in this rewarding industry.

We have 3 fulltime courses in Animal Care:

Animal Care - Level 1 Diploma

This course has been designed to provide you with the essential skills necessary to progress in a career working with animals, or alternatively further education. You will learn through taught lessons and practical sessions, as you gain valuable experience working within our animal unit. You will need to be committed and reliable, because our animals will depend on you and your work. Upon completion you can consider entering employment, or progress onto the Animal Care Level 2 Diploma, which will support your progression and develop the skills you have acquired.

What will I learn?

  • Animal health and welfare
  • Animal feeding and watering
  • Animal moving, handling and accommodation
  • Assisting with exercise
  • Wildlife and conservation
  • Safe and effective working
  • Developing performance
Animal Care Level 1 Diploma

Entry Requirements

  • You will be required to be working towards achieving Maths at Level 1
  • You will be required to be working towards achieving English at Level 1
  • You will need to have achieved a minimum of 3 GCSEs at grade D or above
  • You should have a genuine interest in this subject

Locations available

  • Paignton Campus

Animal Care - Level 2 Technical Certificate

This course is the perfect opportunity to develop a broader understanding of the animal care industry, which will enable you to develop theoretical and practical skills that will prepare you for employment. You will consider elements of animal care such as; behaviour, handling, feeding, health and biology. You will also learn about caring for our British wildlife species, their habitats and how to rehabilitate them. You will be supported to gain a work experience placement within the Animal Care Industry as an essential part of preparing you for employment. Upon completion you may have the opportunity to progress to the Animal Management Level 3 National Extended Diploma. Alternatively, you could study an additional course to specialise in dog grooming or animal nursing or consider employment in animal-related businesses, which can include working in kennels, catteries or pet shops.

What will I learn?

  • Animal behaviour and handling
  • Animal health and welfare
  • Animal feeding and accommodation
  • Animal biology
  • Animal breeds and grooming
  • British Wildlife species, habitats and rehabilitation
  • Health and Safety
  • Work Experience
Animal Care Level 2 Technical Certificate

Entry Requirements

  • You will be required to have achieved Maths at Level 1
  • You will be required to have achieved English at Level 1
  • You will need to have achieved a minimum of 3 GCSEs at grade C or above
  • You should have a genuine interest in this subject

Locations available

  • Paignton Campus

Animal Management - Level 3 National Extended Diploma

This two year course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the animal care industry, as well as the high level practical skills required to excel in the sector or progress to university level study. You will be taught through practical sessions, group and individual work, lectures and research. You will be supported to gain a work experience placement within the Animal Care Industry as an essential part of preparing you for employment. You will study most subjects at college with access to our excellent animal care facilities, your Zoo Animal unit will be taught in our classroom at Paignton Zoo. After completing this course, you could progress to the FdSc Animal Science degree and the BSc (hons) Applied Animal Science top-up that is offered at South Devon College University Centre, apply to other university courses or seek employment working in zoos, wildlife parks, organisations such as the RSPCA, conservation groups, or working in animal behaviour and training.

What will I learn?

  • Practical Animal Husbandry
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Biology, Health and Disease
  • Animal Welfare and Ethics
  • Principles of Animal Nursing
  • Zoo Animal Health and Husbandry
  • Animal Breeding and Genetics
  • Practical Skills in Animal Science
  • Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Management
  • Advanced Animal Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Human and Animal Interactions
Animal Management Level 3 National Extended Diploma

Entry Requirements

  • You will be required to have achieved Maths at Level 2
  • You must have a GCSE Grade C in English
  • You will need to have achieved a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including Maths and English
  • You should have a genuine interest in this subject

Locations available

  • Paignton Campus
  • Paignton Zoo

Apprenticeships with South Devon College

Could an Apprenticeship be the right path for you?

South Devon College is a leading provider of apprenticeships, offering nearly 40 different types of apprenticeships and we work with over 1000 apprentices and 500 employers a year. Our apprenticeship are the perfect option for you if you want to study towards a qualification and increase your employability whilst getting paid.

By working in your chosen trade or sector, you'll be developing vocational experience that employers look for and putting the skills you learn at the College into practice, giving you the ideal preparation for starting a career.

We offer a wide variety of apprenticeship frameworks, working at a range of levels across different industries and job roles, so we are confident that we can find the right course to help you achieve your goals. To find out more about South Devon College's apprenticeship programmes, click here:


My future with South Devon College

Careers: I want to be...

Our courses at South Devon College have been designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge employers seek, enabling you to find employment and take the first steps towards a successful career. Our Animal Care courses will help you gain employment in the following industries:

Work Outdoors

Would you rather work in the great outdoors, with the sun on your back, then between the four walls of an office? Then we have the course for you! If the idea of working on the sea, out on the land or even up in the air sounds appealing to you, then our courses can lead to careers as:


Conservation Officer
Ecologist
Vet
Zookeeper