Animal Care

Animal Care (Technical Diploma) Level 1 Full-time

In Brief

Start Date /

This one year study programme starts in September.

Entry requirements

  • Two GCSEs at grade 2 or above one must be English.

You will achieve

Level 1 Diploma in Land-based Studies (Animal Care).

Course overview

There’s a common saying that you should never work with animals. Try telling that to a Penguinologist…

Whether you’ve got a passion for your penguins, you’re crazy about your cats or you have an almost unhealthy love of llamas, working with animals could be the perfect career move for you. Key skills include being confident handling animals, patience, and a willingness to get your hands dirty. Being good at belly rubs and the ability to scratch behind ears are also desirable. Barnsley College has it’s very own farm! Set in the Worsbrough Country Park area of Barnsley, Wigfield Farm has three main functions:

  • A working farm producing livestock
  • A base for Barnsley College land based courses
  • An open farm and visitors centre accessible to the local and wider community

Although farm staff are employed, the day to day work of the farm is undertaken by students following one of our many programmes of study. This gives them a real working environment to develop their skills and knowledge. We have a wide range of animals including meerkats, cows, goats, Shetland ponies, donkeys, alpacas, pigs, sheep, chickens, red deer, guinea pigs, rabbits and much more. There is also a rodent room and an aquatics room featuring many different varieties of fish and other aquatic life. Our students take a walk on the wild side in our exotics room where they care for and study a variety of reptiles. This course is ideal if you are interested in a career working with animals, introducing the main principles and practices of animal care and welfare.

Course content

You will study the following areas:

  • Assist with Feeding and Watering Animals: In this unit you will select, prepare and present food and water to a range of animals taking into account equipment needed alongside weights and measurements for individual animal.
  • Assist with the Preparation of Animal Accommodation: You will clean and maintain a range of animal accommodation at the Wigfield Centre. Identifying correct fixtures and fittings as well as equipment needed for the maintenance of animal housing.
  • Assist with Maintaining Health and Wellbeing of Animals: This unit will allow you to assess and identify signs of good and ill health in animals. As well as administering preventative care and learning to deal with potential animal emergency situations.
  •  Assist with the Handling and Restraint of Animals: Within this unit you will assess and identify animal behaviour and body language. Identifying and using handling and restraint equipment safely and correctly demonstrating correct handling for health checking or grooming.
  • Safe and Effective Working Practices in Land Based Studies: This unit will be focusing on Health and Safety within the Animal Care Sector ensuring a safe working environment for both people and animals.
  • Animals in the wild and in society: In this unit you will be required to identify main features of animals in the wild including classification of a range of animals, identifying key characteristics and identifying relationships with people and animals.


Assessment is by a series of practical assessment with a degree of written underpinning knowledge to build a portfolio of evidence. To gain the full qualification you will also undertake an online health and safety assessment at the end of the programme. Students will also need to take and pass an online test.

You will be required to wear a standard uniform and also PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for practical work. This will be steel toe capped boots and overalls.

Wigfield Farm
Haverlands Lane
S70 5NQ

There are several opportunities available, one of which is to carry on studying for a Level 2 Certificate in Practical Animal Care skills.  Alternatively, you could progress onto the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Animal Care.

Beyond college, there are many opportunities such as stable work, kennel worker or pet shop assistant

How much does the course cost?

16 – 18 year olds

Full-time Barnsley College students aged 16-18 years old do not have to pay tuition fees.

19+ Students

Aged 19 or over and thinking about further education?

You may be eligible for free or reduced course fees . Please refer to our page ‘paying for your course.’

Extra information

For further information please contact our friendly Information Team on +44 (0)1226 216 123 or email

Barnsley College has a range of sports opportunities for all students to take part in, gain professional training and compete nationally and internationally. We also have a state-of-the-art fitness village, Honeywell Sports Village where students can make use of our fitness suite, spinning studio and classes for competitive rates. You don’t have to be studying sport to get involved in the Sports Academy.

Our Additional Learning Support team can provide you with the support you need. Please contact them on +44 (0)1226 216 769.

Having good English and Maths qualifications are important for most careers and we want to give you the help you need to succeed.

If you are aged 16 – 19 and don’t already have a grade C/4 or above in GCSE English and Maths they will automatically be included in your study programme. If you want to work towards higher grades in English and Maths we can help you do that too.

Need a higher level Maths qualification? We offer a Level 3 Mathematical Studies (Core Maths).

This can be added to your study programme.

If you need any further information, please contact our friendly Information Team.

Please note we reserve the right to change details without notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Animal Care (Technical Diploma) Level 1 Full-time

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