Get a job working with animals

Tue, 09/04/2013 - 12:39 -- nick

UnemployedNet supports The Mirror's Get Britain Working campaign.

This week the campaign has moved on to getting a job with animals.

If you love animals then working with them could be the job for you.

Many people start by doing voluntary work with charities such as the RSPCA, The Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, PDSA or Wood Green, and move on to paid work later.

The bad news is a lot of the work only pays minimum wage, but if you want to earn more you could consider qualifying to become a vet or veterinary nurse.

But the love of animals is what keeps people in the industry - many of them wouldn't consider any other type of work.

'David Rose, of KEITS Training ­Services, says: “As a nation of animal lovers, it’s good to know that there is a diverse range of work opportunities ranging from the horse care sector to dogs and cats.”

Whether you want to work in a ­veterinary practice, an animal shelter, pet shop, farm or zoo, or even set up your own business as a dog walker or cat sitter, there is something for everyone.

For some jobs you need qualifications, others you just need to be enthusiastic and love pets of all kinds.

“Apprenticeships in this sector are ideal for people who enjoy working outdoors, are keen to learn more and have a real passion for animals,” adds David.

Worker's view

Horses have always been a part of Emily Elms’ life.

“I grew up around them,” says Emily, from Maidstone, Kent. “My dad kept and drove shire horses which I rode from when I was the tiniest little girl – I couldn’t imagine a life without horses.”

On leaving school, Emily went on to get the qualifications she needed to teach riding.

“I always knew it would be hard work so, at about the time I met my husband, I took a couple of years off just to make sure it was what I really wanted to do.”

During that time Emily, 30, had her son Hayden and found that a job in a warehouse and doing some home selling for The Body Shop was enough to make ends meet.

It wasn’t until about four years ago when Hayden was going to playschool that Emily decided to get back to working with horses.

“There’s no escaping the fact that horses are in my blood. I just had to accept that,” she smiles.

Emily heard of a part-time job at Pollyfield Farm, a livery stable near where she lives.

“I got the job and I was back mucking out stables, grooming and riding. I start work at 7.30am and finish at 4.30pm so it’s a long day, especially in the winter. But it’s what I know and love.”

Emily was delighted when she was told she could enrol on an apprenticeship course through KEITS Training to study horse care and management.

“Although I knew an awful lot of the course work it was really good to focus my attention and get back into studying. An assessor came in to work to sign off the units.”

Just before Christmas Emily passed her NVQ Level 3.

“That has boosted my ­confidence no end,” she says.

Where are the best jobs?

One of the best ways to find work is to get in touch with people in your local area who run businesses such as kennels or stables and offer to do some work experience, then show them how brilliant you are so they will take you on.

Jobcentre Plus has 653 relevant jobs, including an animal nurse in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire (up to £6.20 an hour), a trainee animal care assistant, mostly dog walking, in Reading ­(part-time), a stable hand also in Reading (up to £7) and a work rider/groom in Newmarket, Suffolk (£370 a week).

At we spotted 112 jobs, including an animal husbandry expert in Glasgow (£6.75), self-employed dog boarders ­(negotiable) and a veterinary receptionist in High Wycombe, ­Bucks (competitive).

We found a further 136 jobs at – from a trainee assistant dog trainer in South Yorkshire (£12,090) to a rehoming ­co-ordinator for the RSPCA in London (from £12,730).

Vets and nurses, plus those wanting to train as nurses, should check out sites such as, which has 35 vet jobs and 26 nursing staff, has 1,390 vacancies including 630 veterinary jobs and 736 vet nurse roles. Also ­ has 36 jobs.

At there were 101 jobs ranging from an animal technician in Bicester, Oxon, (£6.20 to £6.50) to a work rider in Bath, Somerset (£15,500).

Pets at Home is also looking to recruit more than 150 pet groomers.

Visit or ask at the Groom Room in your local store.

Getting started

Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Not only will you gain experience and life skills, it looks good on your CV and will
allow you to stand out from the crowd in the increasingly competitive jobs market.

It may even help you decide that you’re better suited to the drama of life in a veterinary surgery rather than feeding the monkeys at the zoo.

Whatever your age or background, charities could be the best places to gain invaluable experience.



There are many different types of qualifications such as NVQs in animal management. Find out more from City & Guilds at

If you’re interested in farming, agricultural college may be your best route when you have finished school, where you can focus on a specific area of study, such as dairy herd management. Or you can study for a degree in ­agriculture at universities including Newcastle, Nottingham and Reading.

A degree is not always a necessity; hands-on experience can be just as ­valuable especially if connected to an apprenticeship training scheme.

Check out:

Via The Mirror