Explore: Animal care

Head of Training & Skills
Wood Green Animal Shelters

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Sue K

00:00:003 My name is Sue K. I am Head of Training and Skill Development here at Wood Green Animal Shelters and I’ve also got my own business dealing in dog training and behaviour. I deliver all of the training for the dog staff that work with the dogs, so that includes husbandry so how to care for them. It includes behavioural input and advice and it includes actually training of the dogs as well. And then I coordinate and source training for pet staff and our field staff as well and our small animal staff.

00:00:36 Growing up, I’ve always had a love of animals. I was always finding injured fledglings and looking after them. I was feeding feral cats as a child. We had a family dog and I adored her. Actually I just classed her as an extra sister. I really, really adored her. So I always felt that animals was where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do, but in our immediate area, there wasn’t really an opening. So when I left school, I was a trainee in an accounts office of all things, but that only lasted six months ‘cos I was miserable at it.

00:01:12 I think without the right qualifications, the journey to the top is always going to be harder and that’s my biggest regret is not going back and getting a degree so that I could rub shoulders and perhaps command the respect that 20 years of getting your hands dirty and working with animals, you know, should give me. Because in reality, lots of people will study, study, study and they end up with strings of letters after their name, but they’ve never really got down and done the nitty gritty. So I guess having taken the route that I’ve done with a degree behind me as well, would’ve set me up for perhaps better things.

00:01:52 But when I started here on the youth training scheme, it was mostly just about cleaning and feeding and walking and then with more experience of doing those basic things, we then moved onto assessments and I found the behavioural or the temperament assessments, if you like, really, really interesting because it got more into really getting into a dog’s mind and looking at how they work and how they view the world, and it really started to make me see them differently and I thought, well if I can see them differently, then I want to help other people recognise that in them as well.

00:02:29 One of the people that first really got me inspired when I was sort of 20-21 years of age was a veterinary nurse that worked here. She was an Irish lady, very, very petite, very, very quiet and she had an amazing way with animals and especially dogs. When we got dogs that we saw at that time as vicious, you know, really aggressive behind the bars, she would be the one that we would go to to say, ‘will you get this dog out of the kennel for me ‘cos I’m too scared to go in with it?’

00:03:00 And just watching this tiny petite little woman go in and get these huge, big, aggressive dogs out of a kennel really, really made me dumbstruck, and I sort of teamed up with her and I trained under her for a while out-of-hours ‘cos she helped me work with my own dog and I just learnt from her and I did in fact become one of those people that could get those kind of dogs out of kennels. So she really helped me and inspired me to push on and do more.

00:03:27 Dogs feature heavily in everything that I do, so with one of my dogs we do competitive obedience and I’m out a lot of weekends showing and competing with him, which is great fun. I do have to keep my husband happy though, so we enjoy, between us, watching movies, movies is a big thing, I’m a big fan of sort of sci-fi and horror, that kind of stuff, and we both really enjoy Formula 1, ice hockey, that kind of stuff. Watching the Formula 1 is great.


Sue K is Head of Training and Skill Development for Wood Green Animal Shelters. She trains the dogs and the staff at the centre and has her own business in dog training and behaviour. “My biggest regret is not going back and getting a degree so that I could rub shoulders and perhaps command the respect that twenty years of getting your hands dirty and working with animals should give me.”

More information about Vocational and industrial trainers and instructors

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

46%  male 
54%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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? Vocational and industrial trainers provide instruction in manual, manipulative and other vocational skills and advise on, plan and organise vocational instruction within industrial, commercial and other establishments.
No formal educational qualifications are required for entry, although most entrants have qualified in some other area of work and will require a Certificate in Training Practice. Professional qualifications are available from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. NVQs/SVQs in Training and Development are available at Levels 3, 4 and 5.
  • Assesses training requirements and prepares lectures, demonstrations and study aids;
  • Supervises trainee development, assists trainees with difficulties and prepares regular progress reports on each trainee for management;
  • Arranges work experience and instructional visits for trainees;
  • Plans curriculum and rota of staff duties and updates or amends them in light of developments;
  • Advises on training programmes and discusses progress or problems with staff and trainees;
  • Devises general and specialised training courses in response to particular needs.
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