Aspiring animal care workers in South Wales now have more opportunity to train and develop their skills following the launch of a new animal care centre in Caerphilly.
One of Wales’ largest training providers, ACT Training, is the only one which offers animal care courses in South Wales.
The company already has an animal care centre at their Hadfield Road site in Cardiff and the provision of animal care services in Caerphilly means that animal care learning routes are now available to learners in Caerphilly, RCT and beyond.
The pet industry has grown rapidly in recent years and there are now 24 million pets in the UK.
As a result the animal industry is said to be worth £1bn with more than 13,000 businesses servicing the needs of pet owners. This has created more than 78,000 jobs and many more volunteer opportunities. Voluntary work is very important within the sector and over one-fifth of all animal care employees began their careers on a voluntary basis.
The new Caerphilly animal care centre comprises of three rooms: a reptile and amphibian room, a mammal and bird room and an invertebrate room. Learners will be on hands on with all of the animals, with a view to pursuing a career within the animal care industry in diverse roles that include veterinary nurse, police dog handler, horse trainer, dog groomer, farmer and many more.
BBC Wales wildlife presenter and ACT skills ambassador Dr Rhys Jones officially opened the new Caerphilly animal care centre.
Learners heard first-hand experiences from the evolutionary biologist and BBC Wales resident wildlife correspondent, and received tips on caring for animals from domestic hamsters to wild snakes.
Dr Jones’ love for animals grew when his mother kept 26 pets at their home. Leaving school at 16, he was awarded a grant at Cardiff University to study physics, chemistry and mathematics, before completing a degree in Zoology and Genetics. Dr Jones then went on to become a Master of Philosophy in medical molecular entomology and gained a PhD in molecular evolution, specialising in herpetology and parasitology.
Dr Jones said: “It’s exciting to see ACT expanding their animal care provision in order to inspire the next generation of animal experts. Wales is a country that is full of wildlife, we’re a nation of animal lovers and I’m keen to share my knowledge with those who are as passionate about animals as I am.”
The animal care route will be taught by Ashton Osborne, a graduate of the animal care course at the ACT Training Hadfield Road centre, who is now one of ACT Training’s newest and most passionate recruits.