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General Work Experience with Animals

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Animals Conservation Animal Careers

For people who love animals but are not sure which particular animals they would like to work with, or what sort of animal-related job appeals to them, general work experience with animals is a good place to start. It also helps to build self-confidence and provides the opportunity to work as part of a team

Simple Beginnings

Working with domestic pets is probably the most convenient way to build general experience because there are so many; along with pet-related industries. Pet shops, kennelsand catteries, grooming parlours, veterinary practices and animal charities are just some of the businesses that may be able to offer paid, or unpaid, work to the keen beginner who genuinely wants to learn.

Basic Care

Animals require food, water and shelter as absolute basics for survival. For animals to be happy, well adjusted and properly cared for takes a lot more time, effort and money!Animals need love, confidence and security. Compare the facial expressions and body carriage of abandoned pets, shown on TV, to those of much-loved family pets. That shows the distinct difference between surviving and living happily.

Working with pets promotes bonding with humans-animals would previously have had close relationships with their mother and litter mates-their pack. Animal carers play a vital role in the welfare of animals.

The best way to learn about animals is to observe them. Watch the body language between them and study their behavioural patterns. With wildlife and conservation projects, this is also relevant. When experts are dealing with gorillas or lions, for example, similar basic rules of care apply, but it can be life-threatening if an animal handler misreads or oversteps the accepted boundaries!

Work Experience

Whether their work experience takes place in a zoo, a farm, an animal charity centre, or the local pet shop, there are some tasks that have to be done as part of the animal's routine. Routine is important because it means animals know what to expect and when-that equates to security.

Main chores are to ensure all animals in their care have a comfortable, clean, place to sleep, fresh water and a good, balanced, diet. Time must also be found for grooming, training, exercise and play/companionship, appropriate to the animal. The bulk of general animal care, whatever the animal, consists of these regular tasks. Immunisation, worming,general health checks and record-keeping are other essentials.

Where to Find Help and Advice

Depending on the age and experience of an animal care worker, there are several options.
  • Careers advisors at schools
  • Local library and telephone directories
  • Local, national and international animal charities
  • Dog warden and local, council-run, animal centres/conservation schemes
  • Friends and family
  • Agricultural colleges, zoos, animal parks
  • Pet shops, veterinary practices, farms and stables

It is ideal to spend a certain amount of time with each, or at least some, of the above. That way, more general experience can be gained and different teaching techniques seen. If it becomes clear during the general animal work that a person has a natural affinity with onetype of work, or a certain species of animal, they can then make a more informed decisionabout what to do next.

The Next Step

When someone has done general work experience with animals and decides that they want to learn more, they could look for full time employment in the area that interests them most and find out about taking qualifications like an NVQ or BTEC in Animal Care. Although qualifications are not normally needed for basic animal care positions (and the pay reflects this) previous experience as a volunteer worker shows a degree of commitment and genuine interest.

Summary

General work experience with animals can be hard in several ways. It is physically demanding, poorly paid, sometimes monotonous and mentally and emotionally draining. Itis also one of the most valuable things to do for those interested in pursuing a career with animals.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hello, I am 16 years old and I'm looking for work experience. I used to have pets but have no overall experience. I haven't decided what I would like to do in the future yet but I want to experience how working with animals feels like since I genuinely love them. This would certanly help me decide my future career. I am available in any holidays and wouldn't mind working full time cleaning (any type of) animals, their habitat or observing small surgeries.
Paula - 25-Mar-17 @ 5:30 PM
Hi I'm doing my work experience in July and looking for a placement how would I go about doing so many thanks jake
Jake - 25-Jan-17 @ 9:13 PM
I am 16 years old and i am looking for a placement i`m at Askham Bryan collage studding animal care level 2 I am very good with animal such as cat, dog, parrots and other small animals like gerbils
jake - 30-Nov-16 @ 10:02 AM
Hi my name is Bobby and I'm 15 I'm looking for work experience with animals,I live in rutland uk and I'm n o t sure were to start,can anyone help.
Bobby - 3-Nov-16 @ 9:08 PM
I am 14 yrs old and I am interested in getting work experience with animals. Most people tell me that because of my age that I might as well wait until I am 16 before I look at it. If people do say I can look at experience I have to do it through school. I love animals and I find I understand them well so I would love to work towards a career with them. I don't live on a farm or anything like that (I would if I could) I just have my dog who is 10yrs old. I want to improve my CV to improve my chances in the future. I would be grateful for any advice you can give me.
Jo D - 28-Oct-16 @ 9:59 AM
I am 14 and I'll be doing work experience in a couple of months. I want to work with animals when I finish collage. I would like to know the number so I can call up. I live in stoke so Newcastle or Hanley would be preferable but if not somewhere in the vicinity. Please reply ASAP
April - 29-Sep-16 @ 4:23 PM
Hi I'm Zoe and I'm 14 years old I'll be helping animals when I'm in year 10 animals are my life I've got a dog cat rabbitand a bearded dragon I know how to look after any animal but I'm looking for some thing to do With animals and the right person to let me join thx zoe
Zobo - 31-May-16 @ 10:09 AM
Looking for work experience by July
Donna - 19-Jan-16 @ 3:48 PM
Leash - Your Question:
I am currently studying a Animal care(level 2) at St. Helens college and I am looking for working experience with animals. My course consists of taking on a work placement which should be 1500 hours and must take place on Thursdays, which is a given day for work experience. I would also have time on weekends. I am finding it hard to find any work experience and to become very successful in my future I will need work experience, I am hoping to become a zookeeper once I have finished college. I have had hamsters, fish and a rabbit in the past and I currently have 2 rabbits. The main reason for my comment is I need to find some work experience and was wondering if anyone knows of any locations that will allow a 16 year old to do work experience. I am from Skelmersdale, so I would be interested in places close such as Wigan or Ormskirk. I am also interested in trying to care for bigger animals as I am used to handling small animals. I would be ever so thankful if you have any suggestions, so I look forward to hearing from you, thank you. Alisha

Our Response:
I'm afraid you would have to enquire directly. You can do this via the Do-It site here. I hope this helps.
CareerWithAnimals - 14-Sep-15 @ 3:20 PM
I am currently studying a Animal care(level 2) at St. Helens college and I am looking for working experience with animals. My course consists of taking on a work placement which should be 1500 hours and must take place on Thursdays, which is a given day for work experience. I would also have time on weekends. I am finding it hard to find any work experience and to become very successful in my future I will need work experience, I am hoping to become a zookeeper once I have finished college. I have had hamsters, fish and a rabbit in the past and I currently have 2 rabbits. The main reason for my comment is I need to find some work experience and was wondering if anyone knows of any locations that will allow a 16 year old to do work experience. I am from Skelmersdale, so I would be interested in places close such as Wigan or Ormskirk. I am also interested in trying to care for bigger animals as I am used to handling small animals. I would be ever so thankful if you have any suggestions, so I look forward to hearing from you, thank you. Alisha
Leash - 13-Sep-15 @ 7:47 PM
I am a year 10 student at TTC, I am starting a animal management course and would like to get 300 hours work experience to complete my course, my interests are to walk the 4 dogs and help out with the 30 reptiles in my house hold I also enjoy cleaning out the rats, mice, hamsters and the birds I wish I could do that bit more with larger animals... I wouldn't mind cleaning out and starting small but I am defiantly aiming big so if you have any suggestions that would be great.thanks. E.Moulding
Elliebelly - 1-Dec-14 @ 4:49 PM
Hi .Im 16 and doing and animal managment course in crystal palace and part of the course is 150 hours of work experience. I did 2 week work experience at Deen City Farm last year. I have had Grebils, Hamstersand Guinea pigs as pets. The main reason for my comment is I need to find some work experience and was wondering if anyone knows of any locations that will alow a 16 year old to do work experience. I would love to do work experience at a rescue center. Thanks
enirehtak - 16-Sep-14 @ 5:00 PM
I'm sixteen and have just began a BTEC course in animal management.I have completed three week's work experience with cat's protection which I did during the school holiday's.I have been informed by my tutor at college that I should be looking for work experience.I am prepared to work in any animal sector and would love to do voluntary work.I have two dog's a rabbit and fish. Could you please give me any information or address's that could help me.I look forward to hearing from you.Evelyn.
Eva - 12-Sep-14 @ 6:53 PM
hi I am 17 yrs old 18 this year ,I am interested in basic animal care , I applied to college last year but was told I would need to get some experience and I am finding it hard, I am at present volunteering just now one day a week with the well beloved charity looking after rabbits I have been doing this for a few months nowbut my aim is to work with dog trust but i would still like to get experience i feel this would benefit me greatly i have also reapplied to college for this next intake and hoping the experience with the rabbits is enough to get me in but hopefully by then i will be working with dogs and other small animals i stay in Glasgow so i would need to find something suitable in that area ,,,look forward to hearing from you
roo - 29-Jan-14 @ 6:40 PM
hi im 21 years old and i'm currently taking part in the prince's trust team programme. i am interested in working with animals. february 17th i am doing work experience and would like to no how i can help. its a 2 week placement. i will look forward on hearing from you. thank you for your time.
chaz - 24-Jan-14 @ 3:26 PM
I am a year 10 student and I am looking for work experience with animals. I work at weekends and during school holidays at a local equestrian centre and would like to become a vet. I live in Rochford, Essex but also have family in Southend and Basildon, Essex so any of these areas would be preferable. My work experience dates are 3rd -14th of February 2014. I would be grateful if you ave any suggestions. Thank you!
Liz - 19-Aug-13 @ 12:54 PM
I am a year 10 student and I am looking for work experience with animals. I work at weekends and during school holidays at a local equestrian centre and would like to become a vet. I live in Rochford, Essex but also have family in Southend and Basildon, Essex so any of these areas would be preferable. My work experience dates are 3rd -14th of February 2014. I would be grateful if you ave any suggestions. Thank you, Elizabeth Wynn
Liz - 19-Aug-13 @ 12:52 PM
I am very interested in working with animals I have a rabbit of my own and love to give her attention I would love to know more about cats and dogs.i look forward from hearing back from you.
zar - 19-Jun-12 @ 10:26 PM
I am very interested in working with animals, would like to get more experince with in an animal envionment
Lex - 19-Jun-12 @ 10:23 PM
very soon I'm starting work experience and i would very much like to help care with animals i'm very skilled because i have 2 rabbits which which are very healthy and cleaned out when ever needed cleaned also i have 4 tortoises which have there very own run in the green house and coming out of the greenhouse I also have 3 female chickens which eat allot and produce eggs they are very healthy well that is that so i would really like to help and care about some other animals so I look forward to hearing from you.
b-j - 6-May-11 @ 11:44 PM
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