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Animal Care

Level 1 Diploma

a student holding a ferret

Availability & Details

Animal Care - Level 1 Diploma (City & Guilds) SF-ANCA1D-D(0000)000

South Downs Campus

Type of study
Full Time, Vocational

Academic Year 2023-24 (1 years)

Examination board
City & Guilds

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This course involves regular handling of small animals including feeding, checking their health, cleaning and preparing animal accommodation and general outdoor animal-related activities. You will work in our own Animal Care Unit here at the South Downs Campus. You will be taught how to work safely on your own and within a team and you will have the opportunity to develop a range of skills in animal care. There will be an emphasis on personal responsibility and growing your awareness of environmental issues. In our purpose-built animal care building, there is a wide variety of small mammal species and large glass vivariums built into the walls that house reptiles and amphibians.

On the outside is a selection of aviaries and runs where ferrets, rabbits and chickens are kept. On this programme, you will also be able to complete your Functional Skills in English and Mathematics.


Three GCSEs at grade 2. You will be required to study Functional Skills mathematics and English alongside. It is recommended that animal handlers are up to date with their tetanus vaccination.

On this course, you will study:

  • Safe and effective working practices in land-based industries
  • Preparing to work in land-based industries 
  • Assist with maintaining the health and wellbeing of animals
  • Help with the movement, handling and accommodation of animals
  • Assist with the feeding and watering of animals
  • Support the preparation and maintenance of animal accommodation
  • Assist with the handling and restraint of animals


This diploma is a combination of practical and classroom-based teaching with an emphasis on developing your hands-on skills, alongside literacy and numeracy. The animal management laboratories are large, bright rooms designed and built especially for teaching animal care and animal management courses.

The purpose built spaces are bright with natural sunlight and enhanced air handling and ventilation systems, with facilities for washing and animal food preparation. The rooms have been designed to be easy to use for the care of animals, as well as a practical teaching environment.

There is animal housing and large glass vivarium built into the walls that house snakes and lizards. Outside, a large yard has benching, aviaries and a stable as well as large grassed areas. Outside the yard is a clearing in the surrounding woodland that contains runs for ferrets, rabbits and chickens. There are block paved areas and a pond.

You will be assessed by exams in 2 units. The remaining units will be assessed through coursework and assignments. Coursework and assignments will be varied, including some written work, discussions and practical tasks. You will need to produce some work independently and some as part of a group.

Some visits will need to be paid for by the students.

Progression through passing the course can lead to our Level 2 Animal Care options, further study at HSDC in a different area, or Level 2 Apprenticeships.

You will undertake practical work in the College Animal Unit and offsite at an equine establishment. Your work experience may take place in local veterinary practices, riding and livery yards, Sea Life Centre, catteries, kennels, grooming parlours, RSPCA, wildlife sanctuaries, rescue centres or pet shops.

The tutors were really supportive and it was all thanks to them that I have achieved what I have. I’ve also made loads of great friends and really enjoyed my time at the college.

Lizaveta Sinkerich, A Level student

The teaching and support was absolutely brilliant, they couldn’t have done anything more or anything better, if I had any questions my lecturers would always stay behind to help me if I needed it and their emails were always open, it was second to none. This college is the best by far.

Amber Searle, BTEC student

I’m really happy and pleased with my grades. I really loved my time at the college, I have also made lots of friends, it’s a really nice place to be, I don’t want to leave.

Lauren Piper, A Level student