Ag Challenge is saddling up to take students on a 22-week journey to what may well be their future career.

Starting July 2, the Whanganui-based private training establishment would commence its next Level 3 Animal Care Technology course.

There are three strands to Animal Care Technology — companion animals, lifestyle block animals and horses depending on demand — the 22-week course beginning in July will focus on equine studies.

While the focus will be on horses, many of the skills learned are cross-over skills compatible with other animals, big or small.

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There is no prerequisite to join the course which will be open to anyone regardless of whether they hold Level 1 or 2 certificates.

Animals are such an important part of our lives, and taking care of them is a fast-growing industry for employment. The skills learned are ideal for handling animals or working in a place that deals with animals.

The course will provide the skills to care for horses in a safe manner allowing graduates to find work in a variety of industries like racing, showjumping and horse trekking to name but a few.

The Animal Care course is great pathway for those wanting to go on to become a Rural Animal Technician working with large animals. Animal Care is a prerequisite for the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) — Rural Animal Technician Strand which is a full time 40-week course commencing February 2019.

It covers large animal anatomy and physiology, breeding and feeding, health and wellbeing along with many other tasks that will allow the graduate to work as a technician in alongside a veterinarian.

The course is hands-on and on-farm for the majority of the 40-week journey. The closing date for applications to this course is September 28. It could lead to work as an on-farm technician or a veterinary nurse assistant.