Volunteer & Fostering Manager
Wood Green Animal Shelters

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Alan D

00:00:00 I’m Alan D. I’m Volunteer and Fostering Manager here at Wood Green Animal Shelter. Basically my job involves recruiting and maintaining volunteers here at the shelter and looking after any problems arising or anything and sorting them out for them. Most of the volunteers we locate on the internet, on our website. We don’t really need to advertise for volunteers as a lot of people want to work with an animal shelter.

00:00:34 Qualifications, I didn’t actually get any. I was much more of a practical person than qualifications. When I was 16 many years ago, I went to college, practical college but kept bunking it and in the end I decided no, this isn’t for me. I don’t want the education; I’d rather go and use my hands.

00:00:53 I then started off as a motor mechanic apprentice. It was in those days we were apprentices. Stuck that out for about six months to a year I think, then decided no, I’m not going to keep sweeping the floors and all that sort of the rubbish jobs which apprentices got those days, and so I decided to go for plumbing.

00:01:11 I did plumbing for a couple of years and then just got fed up with it, to be honest with you and then I decided to go into telecommunications as a, installing telephone exchanges.

00:01:22 When I made my mind up really what I was going to do, as I was getting older, I didn’t want to carry on repairing domestic appliances and carrying on doing that all the rest until I retire, so I thought it’s time to slow down a little bit and just, you know, see where life takes me basically, and through my career at Wood Green, it’s taken me through to the volunteers and fostering.

00:01:45 Yeah I’m totally surprised with how my work life’s turned out, to be honest with you, ‘cos I like said right at the beginning, I am more a hands-on person doing things with my hands rather than sitting in offices. But nowadays I’ve turned right round and I sit in the office most of the time, apart from when I go off site to deliver animals or pick animals up.

00:02:08 When I first started at Wood Green, as I said earlier, I started off as a volunteer and my wife and I, after a couple of months, we nearly left. We felt volunteers here are classed as second class citizens. We felt we were looked down on, we weren’t spoken to. It took about three months for them starting to have a chat with us, and so when I took over volunteering, my main mission or my main objective was get rid of all that.

00:02:34 Staff will talk to volunteers, they will intermingle, they will do things together sort of thing ‘cos now my volunteers, they can go to our staff Christmas party, they go to any staff functions we have, they’re welcome to all that. They can also go on any courses we run for staff, volunteers are also included in that as well. So we try to make them feel more part of the team. I feel really chuffed, pretty proud, I say proud of myself. It was one of my objectives when I took over volunteering.

00:03:05 Yeah I’d like to have gone to university. I’d like to have had a lot more qualifications behind me. I probably wouldn’t be in this job now, to be honest with you. My life could’ve been totally different if I’d had the money and had the salary to do the things, but unfortunately that’s the way it’s worked out and I’m happy now. I’ve managed to get this far in life and I’m quite happy with the way my job is at present.

00:03:30 But I don’t think this’ll go much further, to be honest with you which in a way ‘cos being a volunteer manager I can’t see where else to go from there. Within the organisation, possibly I could go higher up but then I’d lose touch with the volunteers and with the fosterers so I think I’m happy where I am and this is probably where I’m now going to stay until I do retire. It’s a nice life so I’m helping people all the time and the animals.


Alan D manages the volunteers and fosterers at Wood Green Animal Shelter. He started here as a volunteer himself, and nearly left because he felt the volunteers weren’t welcomed or treated with respect. His mission as volunteer manager has been to change that, so now volunteers are treated more like members of staff.

More information about Animal care services occupations n.e.c.

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

33%  male 
67%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Workers in this unit group care for animals held in kennels, stables, zoos and similar establishments, provide specialised training, grooming, clipping and trimming services for animals, and searches for and captures stray or nuisance dogs in public areas and perform a variety of animal care tasks not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 613: Animal Care and Control Services.
Entry is possible without formal academic qualifications, although some employers may ask for GCSEs/S grades. There is a variety of vocational qualifications available, including NVQs/SVQs in Animal Care at Levels 1 and 2, in Dog Grooming at Levels 2 and 3, and BTEC qualifications and apprenticeships relating to Horse Care.
  • Feeds, washes, grooms, trims and exercises animals;
  • Cleans animals’ quarters and renews bedding as necessary;
  • Houses, feeds, exercises, trains, grooms horses, dogs and other animals in preparation for entry to shows, races and other events;
  • Checks animals for illness, treats minor ailments or calls for vet if further treatment is required;
  • Meets prospective owners and advises on animal selection and animal care;
  • Patrols public areas to search for and capture stray or nuisance dogs, and transports captured animals to kennels.
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