Animal Care (England)

Framework status: Current (latest) issue

Framework details

Framework ID: FR03280
Issue number: 3
Issued: 12 February 2015

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Animal Care (England)
(PDF document 2.76 MB)

Issued by

Contact name: Julie Murphy
Telephone number: 02476 419703
Please download the framework for email contact information.


The animal care industry covers a wide range of areas including: animal care and welfare, zoos/wildlife establishments, dog grooming, pet care and retail, animal welfare enforcement, animal training, dog/animal wardens, pet services and animals in education and entertainment. This provides a range of jobs such as: animal care assistant, pet shop assistant, dog handler (uniformed forces), animal boarding assistant, dog groomer, pet sitter, animal/dog trainer, dog warden and animal management technician. 

Animal health and welfare is a priority for all of the industry and the Animal Care Apprenticeships provide a practical entry and progression route that encourage apprentices to develop their skills and knowledge in areas of interest to them.

Lantra research from 2010/11 estimates that there are approximately 20,240 businesses and 222,850 people working in the animal care industry in the United Kingdom. This research also found that micro-businesses dominate the animal care industry with around 81% of businesses employing fewer than ten members of staff. Therefore, each person has an important role to play within the organisation. 

The animal care industry is important for the land-based and environmental sector in England, representing 11% of businesses and 21% of employment within the sector (Lantra Research 2009).  During the next ten years (2010 to 2020) the industry will need a minimum of 90,000 new entrants, 42,000 of these at levels 2 and 3 so the apprenticeship will play a vital role in providing the industry with the skills that it needs.  The research also found that 15% of businesses in the sector reported a skills gap and only 34% of employers and 40% of employees held an animal care qualification when they started their current job.  The aim of the Apprenticeship framework is to upskill entrants and employees in the industry to ensure that they attain the skills to be competent in their job.

The industry values the Apprenticeship which is evidenced by the growth in the completions of the Apprenticeship in England, the number of completions having almost doubled over the last 6 years from 230 in 2007/08 to 454 in 2013/14. Figures for the last three years are shown below:


  • Level 2 - 347
  • Level 3 - 107
  • Total - 454


  • Level 2 - 262
  • Level 3 - 69
  • Total - 331


  • Level 2 - 316
  • Level 3 - 43
  • Total - 359

During the review of this Apprenticeship, Lantra involved the English members of its industry and virtual group, which accounts for 125 individuals and organisations including Guide Dogs for the Blind, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA. 

It is the view of the animal care industry that because of the nature of their business, work-based learning through Apprenticeships is a good way for people to learn the necessary skills required to work in a practical environment. This important entry mechanism has therefore been highlighted by employers in the Animal Care Industry Action Plan, which states the need to prioritise and increase the awareness and uptake of the Animal Care Apprenticeship framework.

The animal care framework offers one pathway with a number of routes which is reflective of the areas of work within the animal care industry. 

Job roles at Level 2 (Intermediate Apprenticeship) may include: animal care assistant, pet shop/retail assistant, animal/dog groomer, dog handler (uniformed forces) and animal boarding assistant. 

Job roles at Level 3 (Advanced Apprenticeship) may include: dog groomer, animal/dog trainer, dog warden, animal management technician, zoo/animal keeper and pet shop manager.

Further information on the animal care industry can be found at:

Download framework

Animal Care (England)
(PDF document 2.76 MB)