I’ve always loved cats, (especially black and white ones) and thought it’d be amazing to be able to combine my passion with work.
Initially when I left school, I wasn’t too sure what my options were when it came to working with animals, so I actually went to college to study childcare. After finishing my course and spending some time working as nursey supervisor, I realised that I wasn’t happy in this sector and my career aspirations remained with caring for animals. It was at this point I really started exploring how I could turn my passion for being around animals (…especially cats) into a job. I came across Reaseheath College through a friend and after coming along to an open day, seeing the lovely campus and the great facilities on offer over in the animal management centre, I knew this was the place I wanted to be.
A little more about me…
As I mentioned, I’ve already been to college a number of years ago, so came to Reaseheath as a ‘mature student’ or ‘career changer’. I was a little daunted about going back into a learning environment, as I knew there would be a lot of students younger than me and being away from education for a little while meant readjusting to writing assignments and generally being in a classroom. It turns out that I soon settled in and I’ve found studying at Reaseheath has worked out well so far. I’m part of a 19+ cohort studying Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Animal Management , so that means I’m studying alongside other career changers and people who are similar age to me. That’s made it much easier to make friends and, you just find that people are on the same page as you.
Work experience as well as studying is really important
One thing that’s been particularly good about our course is the focus on gaining work ready skills. As diploma students we’re all required to complete a minimum of 40 days’ of work experience, which counts towards our final qualification. In my first year I did my placement with Cosy Cats Cattery, I already knew I loved cats, but this really sealed the deal on my ultimate dream career goal – to own my own cattery.
Moving into second year, I’ve been fortunate enough to incorporate my job into the placement process. Currently, I’m working for Eastham Wood Boarding Cattery on the Wirral. This is all great experience for me and a good opportunity to put some of the theory we’ve been learning in lessons into practice, plus this feeds into my final grade! I would say in terms of placements and jobs, this industry is getting more and more competitive, so being proactive is important! When I applied for my job, I sent a speculative email to my now boss, who wasn’t advertising, but having shown a little initiative and passion for animal care I was offered an interview and was offered the position I’m currently in.
I have to be totally honest, working and studying at the same time can be quite tough going, but I know it’s the best way to ensure I’ll be able to get me to where I’d like to be in my career. It’s also given me a realistic idea of what it takes to set up and run your own business. It’s going to be quite a long process but the experience of working alongside studying is definitely putting me on the right path.
In my experience…
I think I’ll finish on a tiny bit of advice from my experience… If you’ve got an idea of what you’d like to do with your career – go for it! The support is out there, you simply need to be proactive and go looking for it. If you don’t try you’ll never know what you’re capable of achieving!
PS. I couldn’t write a blog post about cats and not feature my own lovely felines…Tilly and Dixie, they are just fabulous…check them out :).
Liz Tipping, Level 3 Extended Technical Diploma in Animal Management, Year 2