The iPET Network will offer specialised awards for cat grooming.
The UK's first ever dedicated portfolio of cat grooming qualifications have been launched by the groomers for groomers awarding organisation, iPET Network.
The only industry qualifications available prior to this were add-ons to dog grooming courses. However, with the upsurge in demand for all kinds of grooming, and the key differences in core skills required for cat grooming, the awarding organisation decided that it would be the best course of action to provide cat qualifications too.
The qualification is a balance of theoretical and practical learning, to ensure that vocational skills lead the qualification with underpinned knowledge developed throughout, and has been developed by leading industry professionals to ensure the appropriate outcome for the cat grooming industry, and the continued development of the sector.
A number of approved iPET Network Training Providers from across the country will deliver the practical training, offering the iPET Network Level 3 award in an Introduction to Cat Grooming, iPET Network Level 3 Certificate in Cat Grooming and Introduction to Styling, iPET Network Level 3 Diploma in Cat Grooming and Salon Management, and the iPET Network Level 3 Award in Feline Emergency First Aid.
The qualifications are suitable for new learners who wish to gain a cat-specific grooming qualification, and also offers a progression route for those who are already qualified as a dog groomer. There is also a fast track route available for those who meet the eligibility of having one year's experience styling cats. These qualifications aim to bring candidates on a journey from complete beginner to competent commercial cat groomers.
Absolutely Animals Ltd in Lewisham, South East London, will be one of the providers offering the qualification. Salon owner Heidi Anderton, who has run the business for 28 years, said: “We are so excited to be offering these cat grooming qualifications, and think they are so important. Cats are very different to dogs, they are very fragile and so is their skin, they must be handled with great care.
“The industry has needed this qualification for a long time, because without the proper training things could go wrong.
“The industry needs more cat groomers, and getting the qualification shows that you are working to the correct standard. Groomers of all animals also need to provide services appropriate for that animal’s coat type and spot any potential health issues.”
According to PDSA figures, 24 per cent of the UK adult population own a cat, and with an ever more discerning customer base, which are increasingly demanding to see a qualified groomer, iPET Network founders Sarah Mackay and Fern Gresty believe the industry needs to level up, and get its existing skills recognised too.
They said: “Grooming is a growth industry with more people than ever owning a pet, and it is never a better time to get qualified.
“Even if you have worked in the industry for a long time, there are ways to get the recognition you deserve for your experience on our courses.
“iPET Network is proud to be the first in the country to offer these dedicated cat grooming qualification, which not only help to safeguard the welfare of cats, but also our industry as whole.”