work experience

Trainee Animal Technician - Cambridge

Still recruiting throughout COVID‑19

Job description

Trainee Animal Technician paid Internship with leading employers via the ATDP Programme

  • Are you looking to launch your career working with animals?
  • Are you passionate about looking after animals and offering the best welfare?
  • Looking for a role with brilliant pay, structured training and varied employer options?
  • Are you struggling to get a job working with animals due to a lack of experience or don’t want to be stuck with unpaid, voluntary roles?

Did you know that new Animal Technicians will earn on average £20,000 pa – the highest starting salary of any role working with animals (data provided by National Careers website)

If you want to work with animals and earn a living there are very few career options open to you. Animal careers are specialised and in many cases the vast majority of animal jobs offer limited career progression, low or no pay (voluntary work) and without clear, achievable career goals. Based on the Government's National Careers Service an Animal Technician career within the life sciences sector offers the highest salary bandings and career progression. Animal Technicians are highly regarded, well paid and offered continuous training within multimillion pound animal facilities. They are well educated professionals with salaries starting at £15,000 to £20,000 pa rising to £40,000 pa with experience.

  • The Animal Technician Development Programme (ATDP) links employers with college leavers and university graduates providing 24 weeks of Animal Technician training (12 weeks study based training and 12 weeks paid internship). Upon completion of 12 weeks basic training our prestigious partner employers work with the ATDP to complete your training within their state of the art animal facilities. Partner employers include academic institutions such as Cambridge University, charities including Cancer Research and world leading research organisations such as The Sanger Institute (to name but a few). In total the ATDP has 18 partner employers covering Kent, London, Surrey, Essex, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Wales and Scotland. We will always match your application to a local ATDP programme with work at a local partner employers animal facility.

The ATDP programme has been created by employers specifically as an employability programme combining training, work experience and paid internships with the sole aim of providing suitable, enthusiastic and developed new Animal Technicians to employers nationwide.

By joining the ATDP, you will have access to

  • A structured 24 week development programme – from day one of your enrolment you will have clear and achievable goals, leading to work experience and then finally the opportunity of a 12 week paid internship to complete your training
  • Fast tracked career opportunities - upon accreditation you will have access to ATDP partner employers vacancies. These roles are ring fenced and only made available to accredited ATDP Learners
  • 24/7 support – our in house team of highly knowledgeable Trainers provide support 24/7 ensuring you have the best experience and training. Having worked as Animal Technicians ourselves we will give you all the training and skills you require to pass each stage of the programme so that you can truly shine in your role. Just drop us a text or call our 24 hour telephone help line. (This is an all year round helpline so yes, it does even include bank holidays)
  • Continued and ongoing training (CPD) – training that is specifically focused on the important and rewarding role of an Animal Technician
  • Work with the most prestigious and interesting organisations in the UK – the role of an animal technician is like no other career working with animals. You can look forward to working within a large team of likeminded professionals in well-funded, clean and state of the art animal facilities
  • Passionate and sociable teams - work with a team of fellow animal technologists every day that just like you share a passion for animals. You will be joining an elite workforce of super intelligent, animal loving (animal mad!) individuals that get to do what they love – to work with animals whilst getting paid

What can I expect once I have applied?
First of all send us your CV and full contact details. You will be contacted by one of our ATDP trainers to discuss your qualifications and suitability to the role of an Animal Technician and to discuss the programme.

Successful applicants are then invited onto one of our one day workshops (currently held in Cambridge, Bristol, London and Edinburgh)
You will then be invited to enrol on the programme consisting of six to eight weeks study based training working your way through seven training modules. We will provide all of the learning materials and study resources as well as provide 24/7 telephone support. Once you complete the modules you will be required to attend a one day animal handling course at one of our partner employers (either in London, Cambridge, Bristol or Edinburgh).

Upon completion of the animal handling course you commence two weeks work shadowing experience within a partner employers animal facility. At this stage you will be ATDP Study Accredited and 50% of the way through the full programme. Successful Learners are then made available to our regional ATDP partners employers. so they may complete 12 weeks of paid work to complete their on the job training. After the full 24 weeks ATDP Learners are fully accredited.

Accredited ATDP learners are then matched to ATDP partner employers for all available Animal Technician employment opportunities

Note: as of October 2018 the ATDP programme has achieved a 100% 'In to Work' rate upon successful completion / accreditation of the programme.

Once you have completed your online and on the job training, your daily duties as an Animal Technician and Animal Technologist include:

  • Feeding and watering
  • General health checking
  • General animal husbandry
  • Understanding breeding and scientific procedures
  • Handling animals
  • Cage cleaning and washing

Providing your aim is to work with animals and you meet our requirements this programme is designed for you – our ATDP employer partners are looking to develop tomorrows future Animal Technicians. ALL training is provided cost-free providing you are willing to train and can commit to remaining available for Animal Technician employment opportunities for 12 weeks post study accreditation.

Apply now to start your career as an Animal Technician or Animal Technologist.

Please Note: ATDP is delivered throughout the UK, Scotland and Wales with a new intake every 12 weeks, so please feel free to ask for more information as to when and where the next programme is being run.

Please note when applying
You must be willing to commit to the pre-study training which is flexible, home based, online and conducted in your own time. A pre-study pass is easily achievable, as the programme allows learners to retake until an 85% pass rate is achieved. We also allow up to four weeks for you to complete this, so plenty of time to sit down and do this. You can go at your own pace, enabling you to complete this as quickly as you like.

Following the online training you will then be required to carry out a one-day animal handling workshop, followed by two weeks unpaid work experience within your nearest employer host's facility.

Providing you pass this phase (currently 100% study pass rate) you will then be eligible for 12 weeks paid learning.

After completing your 12 weeks paid learning, providing you have dazzled your employer, you will then be accredited as 'Work Ready' and supported into work either on a temporary extension at the current employer partners site, placed back out on a temporary basis with another employer partner or even placed on a permanent basis dependent on the employer demand.

As an ATDP learner, you will have ring fenced access to ATDP Employer Partners vacancies, which means that they will look to you first before going external for any 'trainee animal technicians'. Whilst on your ATDP journey, you will also build and develop a portfolio that contains employer testimonials based on your performance (which speak volumes compared to a standard CV!) The ATDP programme allows you to show case your ability so if you also struggle in interviews, please do not worry, we are here to help 'by pass' this process

As you can see, this is a fantastic opportunity to kick start and fast track your career working with animals. So if you are committed to becoming an animal technician and passionate about working with animals then please apply today.

Please note: all training costs are paid for by the ATDP which is a social enterprise. All learners are required to read and sign an ATDP enrollment contract which outlines all that is expected of you as a learner whilst on the programme.

Here's what some of our ATDP Learners have to say about the programme

“ didn’t know where to start when looking for a career working with animals. Before the ATDP I was led told that the only paid animal related jobs were as Veterinary nurse or working in a Zoo. I heard about the ATDP from a careers talk at my college and immediately applied. I was overjoyed to be enrolled and worked through the study modules. Even though some of the questions were hard I was allowed to resit the module tests plus the ATDP trainers were brilliant – their coaching and advice really helped me. I then attended a 1 day animal handling course in London at a really smart animal facility. I got to handle rodents and speak to qualified animal technicians about what they do - it was amazing. I was then invited to attend work experience at the same facility and am now completing my final 12 weeks on the job training at another ATDP partner employer. I’m earning £8 per hour during this final 12 weeks training which really helps. Overall I have to say that the ATDP has been a fantastic experience – I can’t wait to become accredited and get a full time job.“ Angela M, HND in Animal Care

“I left University 18 months ago and was really fed up trying to find suitable employment – my parents and I felt that all my studying had been for nothing. Even though I was applying for all sorts of different animal related jobs I wasn’t even getting interviewed. I didn’t know anything about working as an Animal Technician before I came across the Animal Technician Development Programme on the internet. The programme allowed me to learn about the work before I even stepped foot in an Animal Unit and for me it’s been a really worthwhile. I’m now employed full time in an Animal Unit earning just over £20k and work with the most amazing bunch of people. I absolutely love my job and cannot recommend the programme enough.” Michael S, Zoology degree graduate

What we are looking for

  • High levels of motivation and a good work ethic
  • The ability to repeatedly work to set procedures with a high degree of attention to detail
  • A genuine passion to work with animals, demonstrating care, welfare and compassion
  • Your own transport is an advantage (although not essential)
  • Although a very rewarding role, the successful candidate must have the emotional maturity to deal with emotional issues such as euthanasia
  • Successfully selected candidates will be required to undergo security and occupational health screening


Do I need qualifications?

  • Ideally we are looking for candidates hold either an 'animal related qualification' or have two or more years work experience of handling animals
  • Although ‘animal lovers’ with a real passion for animals will be considered, so please do call and see what we have on offer.

Accepted degree subjects


Additional job details

Number of vacancies
£8 per hour

Over time and travel paid (dependant on location)

Contract, dates and working times


  • Investor in People Gold
  • Disability Confident Committed
  • Institute of Student Employers

How to apply

Click Apply to start your application now. This job will be available on Prospects until 8 December 2020

Don't forget to mention Prospects to employers when you contact them.

Closing date:  Continuous recruitment

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