Apprenticeship fund helps animal lover fulfil lifelong ambition

This National Apprenticeships week (3-7 February) the has announced an exciting expansion to its apprenticeship programme.

The expansion is possible thanks to a £50,000 apprenticeship levy transfer from NatWest, which has enabled the RSPCA to upskill even more employees as well as recruit new apprentices across the charity from animal care workers, vets and fundraisers.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, the RSPCA is shining a light on its apprenticeship’s expansion.

Riana Crichton, 25 worked as a hospital assistant at the RSPCA’s Putney Animal Hospital in London before the opportunity to start an apprenticeship and expand her knowledge arose.

Rosie the Jack Russell, a patient at RSPCA Putney

She began the veterinary nurse apprenticeship in September at the City and Islington College, London, which has seen her help change the lives of many animals including an injured Jack Russell called Rosie.

Riana said: “I wanted to increase my skills and knowledge and open up more job opportunities by doing the apprenticeship. It was my lifelong ambition to work with animals and it’s a very hands-on job – so it’s perfect.”

At the end of the three-year training, Riana will receive the RCVS accredited licence to practice veterinary nursing at Level 3 alongside her apprenticeship.

Riana’s role entails looking after animals on the hospital ward, flagging up concerns to vets, administering medication, placing IV catheters and taking bloods, monitoring anaesthetic and preparing animals for surgery, as well as giving owners information on after-care and a whole host of other duties.

Riana added: “I always wanted to work with animals. I’ve grown up around animals and couldn’t imagine my life without them. Ever since school, I knew where my career was headed when I did work experience at a local vets.”

Riana explained that the most rewarding part of her job is seeing the amazing transformations of the animals the RSPCA care for. Jack Russel Rosie was signed over to the charity in December after another dog in the house of her previous owner attacked her leaving her with a severe abdominal wound.

“It took a long time to heal as the wound was so big, but she recovered really well,” said Riana. “We thought she might have behavioural problems after what she has been through, but she is the sweetest dog. It’s amazing to see animals in such poor conditions come back to life as it were, it’ so satisfying seeing them get better and it gives you an amazing sense of achievement when they go on to be rehomed and have a better life.”

Riana explained that throughout the apprenticeships she has been supported in her personal development and hopes to continue a long career with the RSPCA in the future.

Chris Wainwright, deputy chief executive at the RSPCA, said: “We are incredibly excited to be able to offer these personal development opportunities to our valued employees, thank to the NatWest Apprenticeship Levy.

“In our mission to improve the lives of all animals, the RSPCA rescue, rehabilitate, rehome, educate, prosecute and advocate. This work requires a huge range of skills and specialisms and we are looking forward to building on an already talented workforce to continue improving lives for animals across England and Wales.”

Craig Neill, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at NatWest, said: “At NatWest, we know how rewarding a thriving apprenticeship programme can be for both an organisation and those who participate. Apprenticeship programmes help people to access new carers they may have never considered whilst building skills for the future, helping both people and industry.

“I am delighted that this funding will be redirected to the RSPCA and will allow young people to develop the new skills and capabilities they need to continue the brilliant work the RSPCA do across the charity sector.”