Level 3 – Certificate in Practical Animal Care Skills

Applications for September 2024 are now open.

Starts: September

Course Length: 11 Months – 4 days a week (plus any Maths/English classes needed)

Location: Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital, Haddenham (near Aylesbury)

English/Maths: 16-18 year old students will be required to take English and Maths classes at the Buckinghamshire College Group (Aylesbury or Wycombe campus), if they do not have 9-4 / A*-C grade GCSEs. These are part of the Animal Care programme of study, and does not require any additional application for these classes.

About the course

This qualification develops practical skills, promotes sound working practices, and provides essential industry knowledge to help learners to progress into higher levels of learning or into sustainable employment in the land-based sector. Learners will complete this qualification with a concrete understanding of how to promote and maintain the health and well-being of animals, including identification of abnormal signs, monitoring, and maintaining accurate records, as well as understanding of diets, animal behaviour and caring for young animals.


Students who achieve grade 4+ in Maths & English, may alternatively wish to progress onto two-year Level 3 Animal Management qualification.

Note: This Certificate course does NOT give you UCAS points, therefore will not lead directly onto University.


Three weekdays, plus one day at the weekend, every week. 16-18 year olds requiring English or Maths classes will additionally need to attend lessons at the Buckinghamshire College Group.

Note: Courses run from September to end of July – with two weeks off at Christmas and two weeks at Easter. We do NOT break for half-terms or bank holidays.

Entry Requirements

Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care at Pass or above AND GCSEs at grade 3 / D-E or above, in English & Maths
All students need to be enthusiastic, complete a successful interview, plus attend every day of a hands-on, practical Assessment Week.

Mandatory Units

Students must complete all mandatory units:

· Unit 1507 Promote and maintain the health and wellbeing of animals

· Unit 1648 Plan the handling and restraint of animals

· Unit 1565 Implement and evaluate plans for welfare of animals

· Unit 1454 Monitor and evaluate the feeding of animals

· Unit 1469 Establish animals in a new environment

· Unit 1453 Plan diets and feeding regimes for animals

· Unit 1661 Manage the care of young animals

· Unit 0675 Provide information on how to maintain the behaviour

Students will have extensive practical work experience throughout this year and will also cover CV writing, job applications, interview techniques, team working, dealing with the public and employability skills.

2024/25 - Fees & Funding Support

On enrolment, ALL students will need to purchase and wear uniform tops. This is not covered by course fees.

16-18 year-old students are exempt from tuition and registration fees.

19+ course fees - £1,175 for the course. Payment in instalments may be possible but needs to be agreed in advance.

19-24 year-olds may qualify for full or partial course fees funding, depending on eligibility criteria. Contact Bucks College Group.

Awarding Body

Skills & Education Group Awards, who issue digital certificates.

What careers could this lead to?

As part of the Level 3 Practical Skills qualification you will be given support in moving into the industry, for example as an Animal Technician or Trainee Zoo Keeper, or gain promotion to a more senior position within existing employment.

It also offers access to further education, such as Level 3 Animal Management course.