Two former learners from the Grimsby Institute’s Animal Care department, who are now working as part-time Specialist Practitioners at the Institute alongside their careers as Dog Groomers, were recently invited by City & Guilds to demonstrate their grooming talents for a panel of judges looking to standardise the industry qualifications.
Emma Taylor and Connie Critcher both trained in Level 3 Dog Grooming at the Institute, seeing national success as they won titles at Crufts and Premiere Groom for their skills, before embarking on careers as Dog Groomers at Fur Friendly Grooming Salon in Howdales near Louth.
Lee Lister, Head of School for Animal Care, Horticulture and LLDD, at the Grimsby Institute, explained how Emma & Connie were chosen to take part in the mock assessments. Lee said:
“The Pet Care Trust who recently implemented the professional Level 3 Dog Grooming exams have been taken over by City & Guilds. As part of that process all of the examiners were retrained, with City & Guilds using the opportunity to embed national standards across the industry.
“Because Emma and Connie have recently passed their Level 3 qualifications and Grimsby Institute has an outstanding reputation for Dog Grooming, City & Guilds requested that they each take a dog and groom them for the examiners. Both girls had to complete the groom using the correct tools in the required time.”
25-year-old Emma Taylor, who completed her Level 3 qualifications 18 months ago, was named as the Young Groomer of the Year at Premier Groom in 2013 and last year formed part of a team that won the Groom Team England Special Award.
Emma said: “It was very scary as we were grooming in front of well-known people from within the industry and we only had an hour to each groom a dog. They were very impressed with what we’d done. They were picking up on good and bad points so that they all knew what to look for when they were examining.
“Undoubtedly if I hadn’t trained at the Grimsby Institute I wouldn’t be where I am today. I never thought I would find something I was passionate about and it’s a privilege to be able to work here now.”
Connie Critcher, 20, took the top prize at Crufts 2014 in the Young Kennel Club competition, and works alongside Emma, both at the Institute and at Fur Friendly.
Connie added: “They were looking at what specific things a groomer would need to do to get pass, merit or distinction. We both got a high merit score. I owe a lot to the Institute, it’s been the foundation for everything I have gone on to do, not just in industry but personally too.”
Lee Lister continued: “It’s important for lifting industry standards that qualifications are of the same standard across national colleges and training providers and that all examiners are examining in the same way. Emma & Connie being asked to take part in this process is a testament to the Institute’s excellent reputation within the industry.”