I need to make some big decisions..

Ale

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And would appreciate some advice

As most of you probably know I'm currently studying part time for a level 2 qualification in animal care. So far I've gained distinction in everything and I have loved every second.

I have been thinking recently about what to do next, the qualification is only GCSE level and so won't open up many opportunities with employers.

I have felt especially drawn to the exotics, so the snakes, spiders, bugs and creepy crawlies. I think this is something I would like to explore more.

There is a two year zoo management foundation degree at a college only a half an hour drive away. It's alot of money and would mean begging work to be flexible on my days. I might need to reduce my hours I'm not too sure until I speak to the college, the course is advertised as full time 2 days per week. Then I would have to decide if I could afford to run a car or try and use public transport to keep costs down whilst I study.

I think I have enough ucas points to get in depending on how they are worked out and this course is a level 4 and level 5 so would open up so many more career opportunities at the end of it and hopefully eventually a better paid job.

Any thoughts or opinions. My parents are not jumping at the idea but I have enough saved to cover the tuition.
 
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Flipo's Mum

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My only advice is to thoroughly check the employment opportunities at the end of this, if you’re doing it with a view to get a better job.
If not then crack on, we should all do something we love.
I’d just be prepared that for this sort of role, you will probably need more volunteer experience as well. To set you apart from the rest.
 

Ale

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My only advice is to thoroughly check the employment opportunities at the end of this, if you’re doing it with a view to get a better job.
If not then crack on, we should all do something we love.
I’d just be prepared that for this sort of role, you will probably need more volunteer experience as well. To set you apart from the rest.

Thank-you, I want to arrange a meeting with one of the tutors asap so I can discuss what this can lead to and more about what it involves. I'm also incredibly lucky in that I can ask my tutors at my current college for their opinion and they are also very knowledgeable.

I mistakenly put diploma but it is infact a foundation degree. You can then choose whether or not to do a top up final year to get a higher qualifications.

I realise I'm going to be way behind experience wise given that I'm already 28 and haven't got a massive amount of hands on with most animals but that is also something I can discus with my tutors and see if they think it would affect my chances long term
 
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Mary Poppins

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Do it!!!

You are passionate about animals, it is what you want to do. I think you will need to be prepared to move out of London and move to where a job might be located, which could be anywhere really. But if you can do this then go for it!

Another route is to find a job where they will support you through the qualification. Again you may have to move out of London to find this. But you are young, free and single. Go and chase the dream while you still can.
 

Ale

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Do it!!!

You are passionate about animals, it is what you want to do. I think you will need to be prepared to move out of London and move to where a job might be located, which could be anywhere really. But if you can do this then go for it!

Another route is to find a job where they will support you through the qualification. Again you may have to move out of London to find this. But you are young, free and single. Go and chase the dream while you still can.

More than happy to move anywhere. I'm very fortunate to live where I am currently but it's not a long term option. I want to make sure I'm okay here for 2 years so would speak to my land lady before committing to anything.

I've looked into jobs where you receive training on the job, not alot out there and it's mainly targeted at 18 year olds. I don't want to be a vet nurse. I don't want to work with horses. But other than that I've never really made a definite decision. A keeper of some description be it at a zoo or a wildlife centre would suit me perfectly. I absolutely love all aspects of animals care, including just cleaning out the cages and preparing feeds which is the majority of the job.

Long term I'd like to focus on exotics or unusual animals but I can see myself being just as happy if I ended up mucking out rhinos or even a petting zoo setting.
 
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Star the Fell

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I think you should go for it too.
What would be your dream job at the end of it? Have a think, then contact some companies/ charities/ zoos etc who are likely to offer the type of job you would be looking for and ask their advice about the course and extra experience you need etc. Most would be happy to talk to you.
You can then decide if you are likely to get a job in your chosen area at the end of the course.
Charities are always looking for volunteers if you want to gain experience.
 
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Ale

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It's alot of money and a big commitment which is why I wanted to try out this shorter less time consuming course first, to see how I coped with assignments and classrooms again. But it's all been fascinating and I really think I could manage a degree. Not something I ever thought I would have the opportunity to do.
 
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orbvalley

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Go for it. Check out where you could find employment first if thats your major goal, otherwise crack on, a degree is always great to have and there's no time like th present. Sometimes or IMO mostly the longer you leave it in life the more difficult it will become to either fund it because of family commitments or find the time due to a million reasons
 
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Ale

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I think you should go for it too.
What would be your dream job at the end of it? Have a think, then contact some companies/ charities/ zoos etc who are likely to offer the type of job you would be looking for and ask their advice about the course and extra experience you need etc. Most would be happy to talk to you.
You can then decide if you are likely to get a job in your chosen area at the end of the course.
Charities are always looking for volunteers if you want to gain experience.

I'm quite open ended on the dream job bit, I have alot of interests but at the same time still a great deal to learn. That's a really good idea. Ideally I would also like to volunteer along side the course but it will depend on time issues. I do volunteer for a small animal charity and have done for many years on and off so at least that is a start even if it's just domestic animals
 
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Ale

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Go for it. Check out where you could find employment first if thats your major goal, otherwise crack on, a degree is always great to have and there's no time like th present. Sometimes or IMO mostly the longer you leave it in life the more difficult it will become to either fund it because of family commitments or find the time due to a million reasons

I sort of think I couldn't pick a better time. I have a place to live and a job and no other commitments. Before live gets in the way I would like to start on some sort of career path
 
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orbvalley

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I sort of think I couldn't pick a better time. I have a place to live and a job and no other commitments. Before live gets in the way I would like to start on some sort of career path

Excellent timing then - if it were me I'd get signed up and committed asap
 
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Ale

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You should be able to get a student loan to cover your tuition fees?

I have enough saved to cover them which was going to be part of my house deposit with my ex. I can't afford to buy on my own so that's on hold anyway so probably a better use of the money if it means in the long term I'd be in a better line of work
 
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Mary Poppins

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I have enough saved to cover them which was going to be part of my house deposit with my ex. I can't afford to buy on my own so that's on hold anyway so probably a better use of the money if it means in the long term I'd be in a better line of work

But it does make more financial sense to get the loan because you don't pay it back until you are earning a certain amount. While it is a debt, it isn't a debt in the same way as a normal loan or a mortgage and it won't be used against you when you want to buy a house. Look up what Martin Lewis has to say about student loans - he explains it much better than I can. If you are ultimately wanting to work with animals then it is unlikely that you will ever earn enough money to pay it off anyway, at least not in full. You have to be earning over £25,000 or something like that before the repayments even start, and then I think that you pay 9% of your earnings which are over the £25,000. If you never earn above £25,000, you never pay it back. You would be better off keeping your house deposit in a high interest account and then taking a loan out for the course fees.
 
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Ale

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But it does make more financial sense to get the loan because you don't pay it back until you are earning a certain amount. While it is a debt, it isn't a debt in the same way as a normal loan or a mortgage and it won't be used against you when you want to buy a house. Look up what Martin Lewis has to say about student loans - he explains it much better than I can. If you are ultimately wanting to work with animals then it is unlikely that you will ever earn enough money to pay it off anyway, at least not in full. You have to be earning over £25,000 or something like that before the repayments even start, and then I think that you pay 9% of your earnings which are over the £25,000. If you never earn above £25,000, you never pay it back. You would be better off keeping your house deposit in a high interest account and then taking a loan out for the course fees.
I just assumed it gained interest and you paid it back eventually by which time it would be a huge amount. I'll look into this more thank-you
 

Mary Poppins

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I just assumed it gained interest and you paid it back eventually by which time it would be a huge amount. I'll look into this more thank-you

No, it's a different type of loan. Martin Lewis says to treat it more as a 'graduate tax'. If you earn the extra money that a degree brings then you pay more tax, but if you don't earn the extra money you don't pay that tax. The interest rates have been debated in previous years but are nothing like credit card interest rates. I think that they are supposed to reflect the rate of inflation. It is definitely something you need to read up on as it could save you thousands of pounds in the long term.
 
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Ale

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@Mary Poppins just had a quick read into it and why has no one ever told me about that before! I probably would of gone to uni years ago if I'd realised how the loan system actually works.
 
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KP nut

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As MP says, A student loan is not like any normal debt. It is actually a graduate contribution scheme not a loan. The fees are paid directly to the college by the Student Loans Company. You pay NOTHING back until you earn over 25k a year. And after that you pay 9% of all earnings over £25k. So if you earn £26k you pay 9% of £1000 or £90 a year. The amount you owe is irrelevant because the amounts you pay are based on earnings and not on the loan amount. So if you borrow £10,000 and earn 25K you pay zero. And if you earn 26K you pay £90 a year. And if you borrow £100,000 or £1 million you would still pay zero on 25K and £90 on £26k. So the scare stories of being saddled with enormous debt are very misleading. Plus the entire debt wipes after 30 years no matter how much you still 'owe'. Most people won't pay off the entire loan and many never pay anything at all.

So never, never pay for tuition fees upfront. Or prioritise paying off a student loan over any other debt.Those other debts are going to be 'real' debts and are far more of a burden than the student 'loan'.

It is such a shame that people aren't taught this and it is not properly explained I guess because it is politically toxic to look like you are defending student loans. But the fact that people don't understand it means people don't pursue further education for fear of debt, or make bad financial decisions like paying off their loan early before trying to buy a house. I don't know why student finance is not hammered into kids at school.

Go for it. The world is your oyster!
 
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Jessey

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I would love to say just do it, but I have a horribly sensible head, I would def need to look at the potential for the sorts of jobs you are hoping for, how many come up each year, what sort of pay do they offer and what is the cost of living in the areas they might be in. Often things like zoo's and wildlife parks are in very nice and touristy areas which can be very expensive to live in and if the role doesn't pay much (which I don't think those types of jobs do generally) then even if you scrimp though and stress yourself to get the degree, are lucky enough to find a suitable job, you may not be able to afford to do it anyway which would be horrible. But if you check out all those things and it looks promising, definitely do it :D you will be ace at it :D
 
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