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Overview

This page provides information and data on the following Animal Care and Management services:

  • Animal breeding services
  • Pet and companion, assistance and therapy animal services
  • Animal technology services
  • Captive wildlife operations
  • Animal control services
  • Wildlife care and rehabilitation services
  • Non-veterinary health and welfare services.

Industry and economic figures are difficult to obtain for this sector due to ABS data limitations, emerging occupations not included in ANZSCO classifications and certain occupations falling into more generic categories not necessarily specific to Animal Care and Management services.

Industry figures that are available indicate there are about 4,000 pet grooming businesses and up to 100 wildlife operations including zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums which employ up to 7,200 people.

It’s estimated that the zoological sector had a total revenue of $801 million in 2018, while companion animal services contributed $12.2 billion to the Australian economy, this includes allied services like pet food, accessories, veterinary services and a range of other pet care services.

Nationally recognised training for these sectors is delivered under the ACM – Animal Care and Management Training Package, which is maintained and developed by the Animal Care and Management IRC.

Visit the following pages for information on Veterinary Nursing, Agriculture and the Racing industry.

Information sourced from the Animal Care and Management IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast and the Animal Care and Management IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and skills forecasts

IRCs now submit comprehensive Skills Forecasts to the AISC every 3 years, with abridged annual updates submitted in the intervening 2 years.

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

Employment snapshot

The intended occupation for the majority of Animal Care and Management training is Animal Attendants and Trainers.

The employment level for Animal Attendants and Trainers more than doubled between 2000 and 2020 from approximately 11,000 to 20,600. There was an anomalous year in 2017 when employment increased by over 10,000 on 2016 employment numbers, but then subsequently dropped again by over 10,000 in 2018. The occupation is projected to decline to 18,200 by 2024, reversing the upward trend between 2018 and 2020.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Animal Care and Management-related qualifications (excluding Veterinary Nursing) grew from around 14,170 in 2015 to 16,840 in 2018 but have declined to approximately 15,170 in 2019. Program completions have also declined from the peak of roughly 6,170 in 2018 to around 5,710 in 2019. The majority of training in 2019 was undertaken at the certificate II level, followed by certificate III level qualifications. Approximately three quarters (76%) of training is in Animal Studies qualifications, and the intended occupation for the vast majority of training is Animal Attendants and Trainers (not elsewhere specified).

Overall, TAFE institutes provided the majority (76%) of all training in 2019.

Almost three quarters (74%) of subjects were Commonwealth and state funded, including 100% of training delivered by schools. Domestic fee for service funded a quarter (25%) of subjects, including 88% of training delivered by universities.

Most students were located in New South Wales (37%), Victoria (29%) and Queensland (13%).

The majority of training was delivered in either New South Wales (44%) or Victoria (28%), with a further 14% delivered in Queensland.

Apprentice and trainee commencements declined from the peak of around 440 in 2014 to roughly 210 in 2018. In 2019, commencements increased to approximately 240. Completions peaked at just over 300 in 2015 and declined to 120 in 2019. The majority of apprenticeships and traineeships are for the intended occupation of Animal Attendants and Trainers (not elsewhere specified) (58%), followed by Farrier (32%). More than a third (38%) of apprentices and trainees in training were reported by Victoria, with 28% reported by New South Wales and 22% by Queensland.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested skills by employers were communication and research skills. The most advertised occupations were Animal Attendants and Trainers and Pet Groomers. The top employers were Monash University and Best Friends Support Services. The top location for job advertisements was New South Wales.

The top generic skills identified for the Animal Care and Management industry include:

  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy skills
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management skills
  • Customer service/Marketing skills
  • Managerial/Leadership skills
  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence skills.

In addition to the above generic skills, the following were identified as important skill priorities for the industry:

  • Ethical animal use
  • Animal awareness and behaviour
  • Emotional intelligence of animals.

In addition to the priority skills above, The Animal Care and Management IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also identifies several other priority skills it aims to address through proposed projects for 2019–2020. These areas of highest priority include:

  • Companion and therapy animal skills – As growth in the use of companion and therapy animals increases so does the need for skilled workers who are capable of safe and effective training and use of these animals. Therapy and companion animals can assist with a variety of disorders including hearing and vision impairments, epilepsy, diabetes, dementia, mental health issues and learning difficulties. Not only do these animals aid with a widening range of disorders, the type of animal and situation in which they are used is expanding, including hospital visits by horses and alpacas. Understanding applicable legislation, public safety and workplace health and safety, risk management and coordination of animal assistance activities form part of the developing skill set required.
  • Pet grooming skills – Skills in pet grooming are in such short supply in Australia that an International Working Pet Groomer Scheme has been established by Pets Australia to encourage workers from the United States, Japan, Thailand and UK to come to Australia on working holidays.
  • Captive wildlife animal skills – Increasing work around preventing the extinction of species requires workers skilled in creating and maintaining optimal breeding conditions in captive wildlife situations. The sentiment among business and stakeholders is that formal training qualifications are not meeting the current skills requirements of this field, leading to a widening skills gap.
  • Compassion fatigue skills – Compassion fatigue can occur among animal care workers who are continually helping people and animals in distress, this is reportedly having a negative impact on student enrolments, recruitment and worker health and welfare. Skills are needed in the industry for trigger recognition and avoidance, coping strategies, assisting self and others and maintaining compassion.

The Animal Care and Management IRC's 2020 Skills Forecast highlights that services provided to equines have not been covered in the current projects. Key issues to be addressed have been identified and are proposed as new projects for 2020–21:

  • Equine care careers – Industry are looking for improved practical skills training for new employees and a stronger vocational pathway. There are transferable skills across a variety of sectors involved in the care of equines. It is recommended that existing qualifications and skills standards are reviewed and repackaged to enable a variety of job outcomes and reduce complexity in the vocational education and training system. To achieve this, a 'job family' is being proposed by the IRC to reflect the 'equine care' sector, which groups a range of current and emerging occupations, such as performance horse (equestrian events), rescue centres, sanctuaries, agistments, and allied health services (massage, body workers, saddle/equipment fitting, dentistry). Skills standards in these sectors would also be revised to meet industry expectations for practical skills in handling traditional and modern equine tools, horse safety, horse behaviour and horse welfare.
  • Pre-requisite barriers to training – The aim of this project is to remove barriers to training and to strengthen skills in horse safety, behaviour and welfare. Extensive industry consultation and feedback from the IRC-led Equine Industry Survey has suggested that pre-requisite units should be removed. More effective on-going learning could be achieved by embedding horse safety, behaviour and welfare skills in every practical unit of competency. This will negate the need for pre-requisite units and remove barriers to developing specialist skills and knowledge. It will also ensure the robustness and consistency of training, and will reflect the holistic approach to equine welfare that survey participants overwhelmingly demanded.

The report Technology Impacts on the Australian Workforce, highlights that, projected across the next 15 years, 53% of work by ‘Animal Attendants and Trainers’ will be ‘unimpacted’ by technology, 45% will be ‘augmentable’, and only 2% will be ‘automatable’. As such, professions in this category are amongst the most susceptible to ‘augmentation’. This ‘augmentation’ of roles and tasks will require significant upskilling of existing workers and training of new entrant

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Relevant research

Technology Impacts on the Australian Workforce – Michael Priddis, Greg Miller and Richard George for the Australian Computer Society

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Animal Care Australia (ACA)

Animal Ethics Committees

Animal Health Australia (AHA)

Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC)

Animal Medicines Australia (AMA)

Animal Therapies Ltd

Animal Welfare League Australia (AWLA)

Association of Pet Boarding and Grooming (APBG)

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia (APDT)

Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA)

Australasian Association of Equine Dentistry (AAED)

Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping (ASZK)

Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc (AVBC)

Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA)

Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB)

Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB)

Australian Cat Federation (ACF)

Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC)

Australian National Cats (ANCATS)

Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Australian Pig Breeders Association (APBA)

Australian Registered Cattle Breeders' Association (ARCBA)

Australian Standardbred Breeders Association (ASBA)

Australian Stock Horse Society

Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA)

Australian Trainers Association (ATA)

Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)

Cat Protection Society of NSW

Dog Groomers Association of Western Australia Inc (DGAWA)

Dogs Australia

Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ)

Equestrian Australia (EA)

Equine Dental Association of Australia (EDAA)

Equine Veterinarians Australia Group

Guide Dogs Australia

Horse SA

International Association of Equine Dentistry (IAED)

National Animal Technology Educators Forum (NATEF)

National Parks Association of NSW

National Parks Association of Queensland Inc

National Parks Association of the ACT Inc

National Parks Australia Council Inc (NPAC)

Nature Conservation Society of South Australia (NCSSA)

NSW Cat Fanciers Association (NSW CFA)

NSW Marine Estate

NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc (WIRES)

Parks and Leisure Australia

Parks Australia

Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)

Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA)

Pets Australia

Responsible Pet Breeders Australia (RPBA)

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA)

Taronga Zoo

Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA)

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA)

Vertebrate Pest Managers Association Australia (VPMAA)

Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia (VNCA)

 

Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA)

WA Horse Council (WAHC)

Wildlife Health Australia (WHA)

 

Wildlife Victoria

WorldWide Association of Equine Dentistry (WWAED)

Zoo Aquarium Association (ZAA)

 

Employee associations

Australian Workers Union (AWU)

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)

Professionals Australia

 

Regulatory bodies

ACT Veterinary Practitioners Board

Veterinary Board of Tasmania

Veterinary Board of the NT

Veterinary Practitioners Board of New South Wales

Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria

Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland

Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia

Veterinary Surgeons’ Board of Western Australia

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 3611 Animal Attendants and Trainers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 August 2020 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupation, 2000 to 2020, May Quarter
    • 3611 Animal Attendants and Trainers.

 

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • Animal Care and Management Training Package
  • Animal Control and Regulation
    • ACM40110 - Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
    • ACM40117 - Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
    • RUV40104 - Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
  • Animal Studies
    • ACM10110 - Certificate I in Animal Studies
    • ACM10117 - Certificate I in Animal Studies
    • ACM20110 - Certificate II in Animal Studies
    • ACM20117 - Certificate II in Animal Studies
    • RUV20104 - Certificate II in Animal Studies
    • RUV20198 - Certificate II in Animal Studies
    • ACM30110 - Certificate III in Animal Studies
    • ACM30117 - Certificate III in Animal Studies
    • RUV30198 - Certificate III in Animal Studies
  • Animal Technology
  • ACM30210 - Certificate III in Animal Technology
  • ACM30217 - Certificate III in Animal Technology
  • RUV30104 - Certificate III in Animal Technology
  • ACM50110 - Diploma of Animal Technology
  • ACM50117 - Diploma of Animal Technology
  • ACM50119 - Diploma of Animal Technology
  • RUV50104 - Diploma of Animal Technology
  • Captive Animals
    • ACM30310 - Certificate III in Captive Animals
    • ACM30317 - Certificate III in Captive Animals
    • RUV30204 - Certificate III in Captive Animals
    • ACM40210 - Certificate IV in Captive Animals
    • ACM40217 - Certificate IV in Captive Animals
    • RUV40204 - Certificate IV in Captive Animals
  • Companion Animal Services
    • ACM30410 - Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
    • ACM30417 - Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
    • RUV30304 - Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
    • ACM40310 - Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
    • ACM40317 - Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
    • RUV40304 - Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
  • Farriery and Equine Dentistry
    • ACM30510 - Certificate III in Farriery
    • ACM30517 - Certificate III in Farriery
    • ACM30918 - Certificate III in Equine Hoof Care
    • ACM40512 - Certificate IV in Equine Dentistry
    • ACM40517 - Certificate IV in Equine Dentistry
    • ACM40818 - Certificate IV in Farriery
  • Horse Care and Breeding
    • ACM20217 - Certificate II in Horse Care
    • ACM30717 - Certificate III in Horse Breeding
    • ACM30817 - Certificate III in Performance Horse
  • Pet Grooming and Styling
    • ACM30612 - Certificate III in Pet Grooming
    • ACM30617 - Certificate III in Pet Grooming
    • ACM40612 - Certificate IV in Pet Styling
    • ACM40617 - Certificate IV in Pet Styling.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 subject enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 program completions.

 

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2019 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

 

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Animal Care and Management IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2020, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2020, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017 and June 2020 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • 3611 Animal Attendants and Trainers
  • Employers
    • 361199 Animal Attendants and Trainers nec
    • 361113 Pet Groomer
    • 361112 Horse Trainer
    • 361111 Dog Handler or Trainer
    • 361114 Zookeeper.
Updated: 05 Nov 2020
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