Animal Care

Animal Care
Course Code: 5M2768
Qualification: QQI Level 5 Certificate
Aim of this course
This is a one-year full-time course which aims to provide a gateway for students interested in perusing a career in an animal related field. The course is designed to equip students with the practical skills, knowledge and experience required to work directly with animals and as a foundation for further study in this arena.

Entry Requirements
Students will be expected to have passed their leaving certificate and /or have relevant life experience in this area of Animal Care, although exceptions are given to mature students who are over 23 years of age. Acceptance to the course is also based on an interview which takes place a few weeks after applications have been submitted.

Course Duration
This is a one-year, full time course running from September to May.

Course Content
  • Animal Anatomy & Physiology 5N0750
  • Animal Welfare 5N0753
  • Communications 5N0690
  • Work Experience 5N1356
  • Safety & Health at work 5N1794
  • Small Animal Husbandry and Housing 5N1898
  • Biology 5N2746
  • Introduction to Animal Grooming 5M0752
  • Animal Behaviour 5N0751
  • Start your own Business 5N1418​
​Successful completion of this course will lead to a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Animal Care, 5M2768
Learners will also gain certification in Canine First Aid, Canine Nutrition and Animal Behaviour (upon successful completion of these courses)

Career Opportunities
On successful completion of this course students can progress into the world of work in several fields, including Veterinary Clinics, Catteries, Dog Kennels, Animal Sanctuaries, Self-Employment, Dog Grooming and work in Pet shops. Students may wish to progress to further education in this area also to level 6/7 courses.

Mary Deegan course Co-ordinator

Animal Care- testimonial

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Ella Heary
Animal Care Class of 2021

​I am so glad I completed the Animal Care course at St. Conleth’s. The modules taught on the course are very practical and are presented at a level that you can easily understand. My favourite module was Animal Behaviour, as I am very interested in Dog Training. During the year I secured work placement with a local Dog Trainer, and this module really helped me to understand animal body language and what they are trying to tell us whether it was pain, aggression, or fear. This module will not only benefit you while out on work placement but with your own animals!! The course requires hard work and dedication but if you apply yourself well, get stuck in and submit your assignments and work on time you will benefit from it greatly. The support network you have in this course is essential. The career guidance teacher is on hand to offer advice and progression information, and the tutors are all very friendly and are there to help. The course Co-ordinator Mary is not just a teacher but more like a friend. Her notes are extremely helpful and easy to understand. I could not recommend this Animal Care course enough. I have gained so much knowledge and experiences, friends, and memories from doing this course. If you are on the fence about whether this course or career path is for you, I would strongly recommend doing this PLC. If you want to pursue a career with animals, expand your knowledge of animals or even if you do not think you are ready to commit to a 4-year college course such as Veterinary Nursing this is an amazing foundation course. I have been accepted into a level 6 Animal Science course in Dun Laoighre Further Education Institute and I'm excited to begin my year there!!

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Jennifer Lee
Animal Care Class 2021

​I completed this course following my Leaving Cert as I wanted to get a taste of what it is like to work in an animal care setting. Even though we spent most of the year at home and joining our classes online, I still found it very beneficial. Our tutor and course Co-ordinator Mary was extremely supportive and encouraging, her classes are very engaging, and she made a great effort to get to know us all individually.

I really enjoyed the Animal Welfare and Animal Behaviour modules. I loved learning about what different animals need in order to thrive and live a mentally and physically fulfilled life. Upon completing this course, I am sure that I want to continue to develop my career in this industry. Next year I am going to study Veterinary Nursing in Athlone IT and I think that this course has given me a great foundation of knowledge to work off.

"Animal Care was the perfect course for me as I am very passionate about animals. The modules in the course are very practical and are a great start if you want to pursue a career or third level education in the animal care field, or even if you just want to gain more knowledge about animals. For example, Animal Behaviour module helped me a lot in understanding the body language of animals, especially dogs, which is super helpful in training, even your own pets. I’m currently studying Veterinary Nursing at Dundalk Institute of Technology and I am really happy that I chose to do Animal Care first, as it was a great head start for me. The modules gave me extensive knowledge that I improved upon in college and referencing in PLC helped me a lot when referencing in college, saving me a lot of time on assignments. I have many great memories from my time in Animal Care and I made many great friends who share the passion for animals. I am very happy that I chose to do this course before going to college and I would recommend anyone to do the same."

(Joanna, Vet Nursing Student, DKIT)
Student Testimonial
"I can honestly say I would not be where I am today, only for the St. Conleth’s Animal Care course, which I completed three years ago. I have been lucky enough to further my career as a Veterinary Nurse, currently heading into my 3rd year in Athlone IT. My favourite part of the Animal Care course had to be the Animal Behaviour and Animal Anatomy and Physiology modules. The modules St. Conleth's offered really set me up for success in my future career. They also offered me a lot of support and encouragement to go on and achieve my dreams. As a mature student I really did not think I could do it, but thanks to the staff at St. Conleth’s', turns out I could!"
Animal Behaviour
This module allows Learners to:
  • Explain how animals have adapted to best suit their environments through the process of evolution
  • Compare social animals with solitary animals
  • Discuss the natural habitats and housing environments
  • Summarise the different courtship behaviours of animals
  • Discuss different reproductive and nurturing strategies performed by a variety of species
  • Explain the main functions of juvenile behaviour, look at how animals actually learn
  • Examine the abilities species have to navigate long haul and short haul journeys
  • Explore predatory and prey responses
  • Study captive animals in situ., research their behaviours
  • Compare domestic with wild cousins
  • Look at the timeline of domestication for different species
  • Look at adaptations of both predator and prey
  • Study the 4 forms of communication that species exhibit
  • Examine stereotypical behaviours in animals, including making recommendations for behavioural and environmental enrichment
  • Summarise a behavioural study
  • Contribute to discussion groups regarding our perception of animals
Assessment Criteria: Project 30%, Skills Demonstration 30%, Examination – Theory 40%

Animal Anatomy & Physiology
This module allows Learners to:
  • Explain basic levels of structure within the body, to include cells, tissues and organs.
  • Study the major systems within the animal body i.e. skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, reproductive, endocrine and urinary.
  • Outline the functions of major organs within systems. Look at the the nervous system, stomach and intestines, heart, lungs, reproductive organs in male and female mammals, endocrine glands and kidneys.
  • Apply knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology to illustrate the effect of pathogens and diseases in animals.
  • Compare and contrast the anatomy and physiology of a variety of animal species. Examples of canine, feline, bovine/ovine, porcine, avian, reptile and amphibian/aquatic animals to review.
  • Examine suitable specimens by dissection etc.
  • Investigate the functions of the animal body through suitable practical experiments.
  • Interpret results of investigations.
  • Become familiar with laboratory techniques.
  • Be aware of ethical issues in a laboratory context.
  • Study zoology through live specimens and models.
Assessment Techniques: Examination – 40%, Skills demonstration 30%, Learner record 30%

Animal Welfare
This module allows Learners to:
  • Explain the processes of evolution.
  • Explain the process of domestication.
  • Discuss the feeding options available for domestic and captive animals.
  • Design suitable enclosures for domesticated, exotic and wild captive animals.
  • Prepare a health care plan for a variety of domestic animals to prevent illness and disease.
  • Handle a variety of animals in situations ranging from handling for
  • companionship to examination so to minimise distress and potential injury.
  • Identify signs of optimal health in a range of animals and comment on the potential signs of poor health, stress and discomfort through physical appearance.
  • Give assistance in emergency animal care through use of effective and efficient handling, restraining and emergency first aid techniques.
  • Implement best practice for personal health and safety.
  • Interpret Irish law and local authority regulations.
  • Evaluate considerations for responsible breeding of domestic and captive animals.
  • Reflect on the role of zoos, wildlife parks, circuses and other animal collections.
  • Reflect on personal views and ethics in relation to a variety of controversial animal related subjects.
Assessment Criteria: Examination – Theory 40%, Skills demonstration 30%, Learner record 30%

Small Animal Husbandry and Housing
This module allows Learners to:
  • Explain the general requirements of small animals to include rodents, reptiles, birds, fish, dogs and cats
  • Describe the physical traits of a variety of breeds of small domestic animals and give examples of breed standards
  • Summarise the feeding requirements of carnivorous, obligatory carnivorous, omnivorous and herbivorous pet animals and how food can be prepared and presented
  • Discuss the housing options for small animals and the housing requirements to ensure animal health, safety, security and ease of management by owner and or keeper
  • Discuss the bedding materials and substrates available for domestic pet animals
  • Describe common illnesses, diseases and ailments affecting small animals
  • Outline the variety of commercial and domestic kennel and cattery designs including options for exercise areas, grooming facilities, storage and staff resources areas
  • Describe the daily, weekly and monthly routines of a typical commercial kennel and cattery
  • Outline duties and responsibilities of an animal carer including stock checking, facility checks, record keeping, general maintenance and appropriate waste disposal
  • Identify physical and behavioural male and female characteristics in order to accurately sex small animals and identify when receptive for breeding
  • Interpret the signs of ill health in small animals to provide a suitable response including recording, isolating, seeking veterinary advice or administering medication and or treatment as appropriat
  • Maintain animal housing according to given protocol and standards of personal hygiene
  • Select between chemical and physical disinfection for a variety of different tasks
  • Design housing ensuring dimensions are in line with suitable guidelines or legislation as appropriate
  • Prepare a breeding programme for small animals including assessment of fitness, nutrition, housing, handling, whelping, post-parturition care and weaning
  • Assist in the admission of animals to and collection from commercial housing including greeting customers, assessing animals and recording customer and animal details
  • Implement personal health and safety including practical understanding of zoonosis and appropriate prevention methods
  • Implement relevant laws and statutory regulations in relation to commercial housing of animals including fire safety requirements, personal health & safety to include training and inoculations and insurance requirements.
Assessment Criteria: Project 30%, Skills Demonstration 30%, Examination – Theory 40%

This module allows Learners to:
  • Identify a range of plant and animal cell types
  • Explain the functions of a variety of cell types, differentiating between different types of cell division
  • Explain the factors that influence photosynthesis and transpiration
  • Outline the life cycle of bacterium, fungus and virus including examining the structure of each
  • Describe the main pathogenic agent infection pathways
  • Describe the role of bacteria in a variety of industrial processes, including citric acid, methane production and cheese production
  • Explain the basic structure and function of DNA and RNA
  • Outline the science behind the of the four blood groups and demonstrate the importance of compatibility in blood transfusion
  • Describe the role of genetic engineering in the manufacture of a variety of industrial products
  • Explain the basic structure and function of the antibody molecule
  • Describe a breeding programme used to improve a specific crop and one used to improve a specific animal or product
  • Discuss the plants and animals found in a specified habitat using a range of keys
  • Discuss the effects of common physical hazards on the human body and the appropriate safety precautions necessary to minimise hazards
  • Outline the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees under health and safety legislation
  • Use a variety of field work techniques to estimate the number and distribution of plants and animals
  • Apply Mendel’s laws of inheritance to mono and dihybrid crosses
  • Select tools and techniques to culture, isolate and inoculate micro-organisms, identifying the main pathogenic agent pathways
  • Carry out biological experiments or investigations that relate to the coursework
  • Maintain laboratory reports within planned timelines and deadlines on experiments and investigations
Assessment Criteria: Examination- Theory 50%, Skills Demonstration 25%, Learner Record 25%

Communications 5N0690
Students studying Communications Level 5 will be able to do with the following:
  • Analysis of a range of current issues in communications and information technology.
  • Summarise in practical terms the elements of legislation that must be observed in a personal and/or work context, to include health, safety and welfare at work and communications-related legislation.
  • Use appropriate non-verbal and visual communication in personal- and work-related settings, to include one-to-one, in a group/team, and in formal and informal interaction.
  • Demonstrate verbal skills appropriate to working under general direction, to include making a case and presenting a point of view in group discussion, formal meetings, interviews.
  • Demonstrate listening skills appropriate to working under general direction, to include making eye contact, receiving and interpreting information, control of personal response.
  • Research a relevant vocational topic, to include use of primary and secondary sources, acknowledgement of sources, use of enquiry techniques and methods to establish validity and reliability
Assessment Criteria: Collection of Work – 50%, Skills Demonstration – 50%

Safety and Health at Work
This module allows Learners to:
  • Analyse the duties of employers and employees as specified in current Safety, Health and Welfare at work legislation
  • Examine the role of the Health and Safety Authority
  • Explore the role of communication and training in the promotion and provision of health and safety in the workplace
  • Comment on the elements and functions of the safety statement
  • Summarise the factors which contribute to safe and healthy working environments
  • Outline the principles and procedures of good housekeeping in the workplace
  • Explain the causes, prevention, emergency procedures, reporting and recording of accidents and dangerous occurrences
  • Analyse the causes and prevention of fire related events to include identification of emergency procedures, the fire triangle and fire equipment
  • Comment on specific hazards and risks when working with equipment to include mechanical and electrical equipment
  • Investigate how personal protective equipment (PPE) is used in the workplace
  • Explore appropriate procedures for use and disposal of hazardous materials and waste in the workplace to include reference to material safety data sheets (MSDS)
  • Examine the control and associated risks of a range of health and safety issues to include noise, sound, fumes, dust or any vocationally specific work issue
  • Explain the typical contents of a first aid kit and their appropriate use
  • Examine a range of issues related to infection control to include conditions for the growth and development of micro-organisms, routes of infection, symptoms, ill-health, preventative measures and emergency procedures for suspected contamination
  • Investigate risk factors in relation to safety to include hazards, work environments, work practices, effects of medication, drink and drugs
  • Interpret a range of safety signs in the workplace
  • Promote safe and healthy working practices in relation to oneself, others and the workplace
  • Outline risk factors in relation to health to include stress, lifestyle, diet, illness
  • Outline the role of diet and exercise in the promotion of good health.
Assessment Criteria: Assignments – 60%, Examination – Theory – 40%

Start your own Business
This module allows Learners to:
  • Explore the legal requirements and regulations pertaining to starting a variety of business structures
  • Analyse the personal, functional and business factors that contribute to business success
  • Research the relevant sources of business start-up information and support available to entrepreneurs
  • Examine the market for new product or service niches
  • Assess the potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business
  • Explain the role and function of a realistic and coherent business plan
  • Examine the importance of complete and correct business documentation to include budgets, cash flow and financial statements
  • Apply for the legal, financial and government agency and other support required by the business
  • Conduct opportunity, feasibility and market research studies
  • Design a product or service to be provided by the business
  • Analyse revenue, costs, quality and customer service elements of the new business
  • Analyse the internal and external business environment pertaining to a new business start up
  • Create appropriate funding, marketing, finance, technology and staffing strategies for the business
  • Construct a business plan
  • Organise independent or third party review of the business plan
  • Analyse the business and business plan post the external review, recognising strengths and making improvements
Assessment Criteria: Collection of Work – 100%,

Introduction to Animal Grooming
This module allows Learners to:
  • Interpret canine, feline and other small animal body language so as to handle, house and groom animals appropriately
  • Explain the cycles of hair and nail growth in a variety of dog breeds and other small animals
  • Apply knowledge of anatomical skin structure and physical skin appearance in animals so as to be able to suggest skin and coat abnormalities
  • Outline potential causes of hair loss and how to deal with them if evident in the grooming facility
  • Explain the correct uses of equipment used in the grooming facility and the appropriate maintenance of such equipment
  • Use information sources, including dog owner, examination and observation of dog, to plan the grooming process including brushing and de-matting, nail and ear care, bathing, drying and clipping, hand stripping and or cutting as appropriate
  • Exercise appropriate handling and restraining of animals during the grooming process
  • Select suitable products and equipment for a variety of animals with different skin or hair types
  • Use a variety of grooming equipment including grooming table, dryers, brushes, combs, clippers and others following best practice
  • Exercise initiative to aid the efficient and effective running of the grooming facility
  • Deal appropriately with the public and their animals
  • Obtain the details required from an owner prior to assuming responsibility for their animal
  • Maintain personal and professional health and safety requirements of a grooming facility including personal protective equipment, safe handling and housing of animals, prevention of transmission of disease and safety, health and hygiene of facility for the benefit of the public.
Assessment Criteria: Learner Record – 40%, Skills Demonstration – 40%, Examination – Theory – 20%

Work Experience 5N1356
Students studying Work Experience Level 5 will do the following:
  • Examine work organisations and personal career opportunities in a particular vocational area, to include consideration of work-related issues and needs.
  • Summarise the basic rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in a particular work, organisational or institutional context, to include health, safety and welfare at work, equality legislation, union representation and regulations relating to pay.
  • Present relevant work experience material, to include a Curriculum Vitae or personal statement, letter of application, evidence of job-
  • finding skills, skills checklist, statement of learning goals, contractual arrangements.
  • Participate effectively in a work experience placement for a minimum of 60 hours to gain experience/insight into their chosen vocational area.
Assessment Criteria: Collection of Work – 60%, Skills Demonstration – 40%

  • Online Click Here!
  • OR Contact 045 431417 school office
Please note application fee applies, this fee is to cover administration costs

Interviews will be held in May 2023
Applicants will be contacted in due course

Mary Deegan course Co-Ordinator
Nov 27
TY Work Experience
Dec 05
3rd Year Parent /Guardian Teacher Meeting
Dec 08
School Closed
Dec 18
Transition Year Portfolio Interviews
Survey on possible school tour for the 2024/2025 school academic year.
Cherry Centre; visit from Newbridge Fire Rescue Service Visit on the 27/11/23
Station road, Newbrige, Co. Kildare.
045 431 417
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