Leo the West Highland Terrier might have seemed unfazed by all the attention, but his grooming session today represented a significant first for Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga Veterinary Nursing.
Amid the whirr of hairdryers caressing canine coats, the Dunedin facility hosted the first cohort of ākonga engaged in a block course of the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Pet Grooming).
Developed at the request of the burgeoning pet care industry, the Level-4 programme recognises the role of the groomer in the routine healthcare of our companion pets.
Francesca Brown, Otago Polytechnic Head of Veterinary Nursing and a member of the transitional lead team at Te Pūkenga for Animal Healthcare and Veterinary Nursing, says today’s activity is the result of much work done behind the scenes to get a qualification listed and then a programme written.
“We were approached in 2021 by members of the Pet Groomer Employers’ Association with a request to support the development of an NZQA-accredited qualification in Pet Grooming. At the time, there was no standard of training and they wanted to drive industry standards and expectations.
“Our team is responsible for rolling out the delivery of unified Animal Healthcare and Veterinary Nursing programmes across Te Pūkenga network. We are really excited to have been able to take the lead in bringing this qualification to the pet grooming industry and supporting them in their journey to increase the standards within the industry.”
As well as teaching ākonga about how to groom dogs and cats, the programme covers health, welfare, behaviour and husbandry, anatomy, physiology, as well as low-stress handling techniques integral to being an effective dog groomer.
The programme is delivered through a “flexible facilitated” format, which is a combination of online and in-person teaching through block courses, and work placement.
The New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Pet Grooming) is the latest example of Te Pūkenga integrating programmes and delivery approaches. This unification of programmes removes duplication, providing scale and efficiencies in order to deliver stronger learning outcomes for ākonga across New Zealand.
More than 350 unified programmes are currently delivered across Te Pūkenga.