Nationally Recognised Qualifications

We are proud to be an approved training centre for both City & Guilds, and also now the Skills & Education Group Awards. We have an excellent reputation within City & Guilds and future employers - for the high quality of the training we deliver to our students, and the calibre of the achievers that leave us to go out into the world of animal welfare and conservation.

We offer a unique, hands-on route to gaining a fully accredited and nationally recognised qualification, whilst working with all species of British wildlife.

We offer practical training in all aspects of animal husbandry. As a working wildlife hospital, and a practical training centre, our students spend 60-80% of their time hands-on: cleaning, feeding, mucking out and moving some of the thousand plus wild animals that we have in our hospital at any one time.

In their practical sessions, students handle the hedgehogs, birds of prey, rabbits and swans, to name but a few species. They are involved in all aspects of care from taking in deliveries of bags of feed, cleaning and hosing down pens, cages and aviaries to working in the wards and outside enclosures, or assisting with health checking. The year round course means students get to experience everything the varying seasons brings, whilst playing their part in the care of all the sick, injured and orphaned species that come through our doors every day. Students play a key part in the care and rehabilitation of our patients and help them on their road back into the wild.

Our classroom-based learning builds the students’ underpinning knowledge of animal health and welfare, and students will complete assignments and assessments to gain excellent grades in their qualifications to help them move on to employment or further/higher education after their course is completed.

These courses are ideal for anyone wishing to have a career in the animal welfare industry, whilst learning hands-on with wildlife, in a very busy Hospital environment.

From 2012 to 2023 – 98% of our learners went into employment or further/higher education on achieving their qualification with us.

In terms of University courses, our Level 3 two-year programme students go onto to take degree courses such as Zoology, Animal Physiotherapy, Marine Biology, Conservation and Veterinary Nursing.


2023-24 Term Dates

Autumn Term:   Tuesday 5th September to Sunday 17th December 2023
     Christmas Holiday – Monday 18th December 2023 to Tuesday 2nd January 2024
Spring Term:     Wednesday 3rd January to Thursday 28th March 2024
     Easter Holiday - Friday 29th March to Sunday 14th April 2024
Summer Term:  Monday 15th April to Sunday 21st July 2024

Walking Routes to Tiggywinkles

Please see below for the recommended walking routes to Tiggywinkles, from both the main bus stop and the train station.

Courses Available

We run different course levels, click below to learn more about each course.

Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care

Level 3 Animal Management

Level 3 Practical Animal Care

Apply Today

Download an application form here: Student Application form

Hands-on & Theory learning

We run practical learning sessions, where all students spend time training in all of the different areas of the Hospital, 'hands on' with our patients, assisting with their care and welfare – cleaning, feeding and moving – as part of the animal’s treatment and rehabilitation, as well as a small amount of time in Reception and our Visitor Centre. Assessment in all of these areas is by practical assessments, with observations & questions.

Students also spend time every week in our classroom and study areas, with theory lessons covering all aspects of the courses’ underpinning knowledge, as well as spending time completing a mix of written assignments (ranging from essays and feeding plans, to posters and fact sheets), along with undertaking controlled assessments and online testing.

At the end of the course our students achieve grades up to Distinction*, as well as gaining professional employability skills which will help them on the next steps of their career whether into employment, continuing their education or off to University.


Assessments are carried out on-site by our team of experienced, qualified Assessors, using a variety of methods including observation, assignments and questions & answers.

Entry Requirements

Level 2: 3 GCSEs at grade 3 / D or above, including English and Maths.

Level 3: 4 GCSEs including English, Maths and Science at grade 4 / C or above (or instead of Science GCSE you could have a Level 2 Animal Care Diploma with a Distinction in the Biology Unit).
Plus independent study skills are required to work at this level.

What do I need?

All students are required to wear Tiggywinkles uniform tops when here. Students are expected to provide their own A4 folders, dividers, pens and a lot of punched pockets. More importantly, you will need plenty of enthusiasm!


There are a number of ways you can help and support our life-saving work.