Keeper and Aquarist Apprenticeship

Course overview

This new course is an exciting route into a career as a zoo or animal keeper.

This apprenticeship has been developed by industry experts and is led by The Zoological Society Of London (ZSL) – London and Whipsnade Zoo, to be delivered in partnership with Capel Manor College. To apply, you must already be employed in an organisation with a zoo licence such as a zoo, wildlife park, aquarium, private animal collection, animal reserves, or a farm.

You will learn from both your colleagues in your workplace and your tutor at the College, receiving support and guidance throughout the apprenticeship. Your studies will include a combination of online classes, face-to-face sessions, assignments, a portfolio and assessments.

You will learn

  • How to apply legislation and policies to ensure safe practices
  • How to use animal welfare and behaviour to make adequate life quality assessments
  • How to service, clean and manage animal enclosures to ensure healthy environments and health of the animals
  • How to use diet sheets and how to interpret, prepare and deliver animal feeds
  • How to best manage animals’ enclosures and enrich their environment in line with their natural history
  • Strategies for managing animal collections, in line with the organisation’s conservation efforts
  • How to take the first steps into zoo research and use the results to contribute to your organisation’s management improvements
  • How to use record keeping for individual animals and enclosures management
  • How to carry out supportive husbandry tasks such as training, vet support, and transportation
  • How to carry out enclosure checks and other work area checks for potential or existing hazards
  • How to ensure visitor safety and a positive experience
  • The importance of stakeholder engagement

Apprenticeship Standard : Keeper and Aquarist

You must be in full-time employment in a zookeeping role. Apprentices are expected to have some prior basic knowledge and experience of the sector.

Successful completion of this apprenticeship will help you to progress into more senior animal keeping roles.

As an apprentice, you do not pay for your course. Your employer pays all or part of the fee. We collect the remainder through our government contract.

Rachel’s story

Rachel began her studies with Capel Manor College on a foundation learning course, she then progressed onto animal care and management, studying Introduction to Animal Care (Level 1), the Animal Care Diploma (Level 2) and Animal Management Advanced Diploma (Level 3). Rachel is now undertaking a foundation degree in animal management and zoology. Rachel’s story