TAFE NSW Orange has had massive success with the launch of its Animal Behaviour and Learning course, which was launched earlier this year as part of a national project to update and develop units of competency and skill sets for trainers of assistance dogs.
The Statement of Attainment in Animal Behaviour and Learning course was initially launched to help address the post-COVID boom in dog ownership but has been taken up by dog owners from a broad range of groups from domestic dog owners, pet sitters, kennel workers, agility trainers and assistance dog trainers, an area which is now covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).i
NSW has more than 270,000 working farm dogs, up from 80,000 in 2018, one selling last year for $35,000. According to Animal Medicines Australia, Australia now has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, with approximately 61% of households owning domestic pets.
Madi Namec, who studied a Certificate III in Animal Studies at TAFE Orange, said, “The course was essential for anyone who wants to own a well-trained dog. I have four Australian Collie puppies on our farm, and its improved our training so much.
“The course covered a range of different topics which will help anyone interested in working with animals, especially identifying and understanding an animal’s body language, conditioning techniques and the methods used to train animals in other people’s homes.
“It is so rewarding to see the reaction from the dogs when you have worked so closely with them,” Madi said.
According to the Skills Impact report, the Animal Behaviour industry is seeing an emerging demand for qualified professionals with a projected growth rate of over 10% and a predicted 2,000 new jobs by 2024.
Animal attendants and trainers have been highlighted as the top occupation in demand within the animal services sector, according to Michelle Bond, Head Teacher of Animal Services at TAFE NSW in Orange.
“There has never been a better time to join the animal services industry, especially with the expansion of assistance dogs into the fields covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“We have seen considerable interest from people working in different areas such as animal care shelters and pounds, kennels, veterinary clinics, and training centres. It is a great entry-level qualification for those wanting to launch a career in the industry and provides an excellent foundation for work or further study,” said Michelle.
The Statement of Attainment in Animal Behaviour and Learning is about teaching practical skills in maintaining and monitoring animal health and wellbeing, providing enrichment for animals, assisting with conditioning animals, and providing information on companion animals.” Ms Bond said.
TAFE NSW is currently offering a Certificate III in Animal Studies that is fully subsidised by the NSW Government to meet the growing demand for skilled workers and allows students to learn hands-on skills at TAFE NSW at no cost.
For more information on the Animal courses, fee-free initiatives, or to explore courses on offer at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
Media contact: Callum Darby-Linfitt, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, 02 7921 1823 firstname.lastname@example.org