With zoos and safari parks reopening from lockdown now is a great time to focus attention on animal care and conservation trainingTake part in our consultation to help shape an exciting new government T Level training programme geared at 16 to 19-year-olds.

Animal welfare has remained an important priority through the Covid-19 crisis for the government, which launched a £14 million support fund for zoos and aquariums in May.

With zoos and safari parks set to reopen from lockdown this week (from 15 June), the time is right to think about future training for the people who care for all creatures great and small.

Industry experts have developed plans for a wide-ranging new animal care and management T Level training programme, with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, which you can help shape through taking part in a public consultation.

The planned new government training programme for 16 to 19-year-olds will cover two specialisms – animal care and management geared towards zoos, pet care, animal training and conservation: and equine care and management focused on looking after horses through the equine industry.

Vicky Skinner, T Level panel chair and education manager for the Pet Industry Federation, urged people from across the world of animal care and training to take part:

“This T Level is a great step for the animal and equine sector to move to a new and exciting learning platform for future students. We need as many people from the animal care and equine sector to participate as possible to help us create the very best training experience for the learners.”

T Levels are new two-year, technical study programmes that will be available across 11 industry routes. They will be classroom based but also involve significant work experience.

Alongside apprenticeships and A levels, T Levels will be one of the three major options available to students aged 16 – 19.

They will include a broad ‘core component’ which gives the learner an overview of key aspects of the sectors and an ‘occupational specialism’ which provides specialist training for a particular occupation. Students will also learn relevant maths, English and digital skills, for example measurement techniques, estimation or producing reports for customers.

The Institute’s deputy director for technical education implementation, Carmel Grant, said:

“It is extremely important that we hear as many voices as possible from the animal care industry as we look to move the sector into T Levels for the first time. This consultation is open to anyone and we want to hear from providers, employers, membership bodies and other interested parties to get a rounded view of how to make this qualification work for everyone.”

Alongside the animal care and management T Level, another consultation has been launched on the draft outline content for the agriculture, land management and production T Level. This consultation also closes on Monday 13 July.


For background

  • T Levels will be the technical equivalent to A Levels, combining classroom theory, practical learning and an industry placement. The new T Levels will involve 80 per cent classroom-based learning, and 20 per cent on-the-job learning through substantial industry placements and are equivalent to 3 A Levels.
  • T levels are being rolled out from 2020 to 2023 across 11 different sectors, which in addition to agriculture include sectors such as digital, construction, engineering & manufacturing and business & administration.
  • The first three T Levels (in Education and Childcare, Construction and Digital) will be available for delivery to students from September 2020.
  • The animal care and management ; and agriculture, land management and production T Levels will be launched in 2023.
  • This Institute will be running webinars for employers starting next week to gather feedback on the draft outline content and ensure T Levels include the knowledge and skills required by those who will be recruiting people into the industry. For more information email us at Employer.Panels@education.gov.uk. These will take place on:
    • Floristry: 22 June
    • Crop Production: 22nd June
    • Ornamental and Environmental Horticulture and Landscaping: 23 June
    • Tree and Woodland Management and Maintenance: 23 June
    • Land-based Engineering: 24 June
    • Livestock Production: 24 June
    • Habitat Management - Land and Water: 26 June
    • Animal Care and Management: 30 June
    • Equine Care and Management: 30 June