Young apprentice is learning vital skills to help animals in need

Young apprentice is learning vital skills to help animals in need

Banking giant NatWest has pledged a £500,000 levy transfer to help us expand our apprenticeship programme to train up and inspire the next generation of animal rescuers.

We currently have nearly 67 members of staff being upskilled through apprenticeships including four young apprentices being given the first step on a career path in animal welfare.

Paige RSPCA Apprentice

Paige Stanley has been working as an apprentice animal care assistant at our West Hatch in Somerset for just over a year. She is studying the Level 2 Animal Care and Welfare Assistant Apprenticeship standard.

The 22-year-old knew she wanted to work with animals from a young age and hopes to become an RSPCA inspector one day.

Paige, who lives in Burnham-on-Sea, said:

I knew this apprenticeship would be a great way to start a career that I love as I had been trying to work for the RSPCA for a few years prior but never found the right opportunity.

I've always wanted to work for the RSPCA ever since I can remember. It's an amazing charity that does so much for animal welfare, and I wanted to be a part of that as well and help both people and animals.

The work Paige does as an apprentice

Paige's role involves daily care of the animals at our West Hatch Animal Centre from dogs, cats, rats, ferrets, exotic animals and even pigs. She moves between the different areas so the job covers all species of animals and is very varied.

She said:

I couldn't pick a favourite as I love working with all animals but I do love working with the dogs as I enjoy being able to release part of their stress by taking them away from kennels even if it's for only part of their day. I also have a soft spot for rats as they're often so misunderstood, despite the fact they are so loving towards humans and are very intelligent.

Paige has managed to study and work at the animal centre well with lots of support from the College of Animal Welfare (CAW) and her colleagues at West Hatch.

She added:

West Hatch has made me feel very welcome and they have all helped me with my learning as well. It's such an amazing opportunity to learn from people who have been in the job for 20 plus years!

We see animals coming into the centre in a horrific state and we spend every day working with an animal to give them a second chance. It's the best feeling when you see them go off to their forever homes knowing that they're going to live a happy life.

Once the apprenticeship finishes, Paige plans to go travelling and would like to work for animal charities abroad. After this, she would like to pursue her dream career of becoming one of our frontline rescuers.

Education is one of our key drives

David Allen, our Head of Prevention and Education, added:

Apprenticeships give young people a special, close-up view of the work of the charity. They are learning a gold-star standard in animal care and compassion directly from centre staff, the inspectorate, veterinarians, behaviourists and educators.

We feel it's vitally important that young people learn compassion and respect for animals and so apprenticeships are just one way that we hope to reach young people and create the next generation of animal lovers. Education is key to this so we're delighted that young people like Paige are so passionate and committed to animal welfare.

NatWest helped to extend our apprenticeship programme with its £500,000 levy transfer. This means we've been able to provide even more opportunities for young people like Paige to progress their career in animal care and play their part in helping the 100,000 animals we rescue every year.

Craig Neill, Head of Talent Acquisition at NatWest, said:

At NatWest, we know how rewarding a thriving apprenticeship programme can be for both an organisation and those who participate. Apprenticeship programmes help people to access new careers they may have never considered whilst building skills for the future, helping both people and industry.

I am delighted that this funding is being redirected to the RSPCA and will allow young people, like Paige, to develop the new skills and capabilities they need to continue the brilliant work the RSPCA do across the charity sector.

Find out more about our apprenticeships.