A Ledbury dog grooming school is aiming to help tackle a national shortage of dog groomers.

The Four Paws Groom School in The Southend provides Ofqual-regulated qualifications for people looking to change careers and become a dog groomer.

It says there has been a massive increase in demand for the services, so there has never been a better time to join the industry.

Nationally during the pandemic, 3.2 million households brought home a pet of some kind.

From 2020 to 2021 there was a boost in dog numbers from nine million to 12 million.

READ MORE: Four Paws are better than one for dog groomers

And with some of the most popular dog breeds, including labradoodles and cockapoos, needing regular grooming or treatments, this has led to a big surge in demand.

Belinda Morris, who runs the Four Paws Groom School, said: "Dog grooming is a booming industry, but it is so important that would-be pet professionals get themselves qualified.

"We all want an industry that we can be proud of, and that includes excellence, safety and high standards.

Looking forward to meeting new students

"Our iPET Network qualifications are regulated by Ofqual, and we are passionate about the industry because we work in it too. We are so looking forward to meeting new students, and sharing their journey with them."

Four Paws opened in Ledbury in October 2021 on the site of a former solicitors in the town centre and is run by Ms Morris, who has more than 15 years’ experience in the dog grooming industry.

The centre had a stall at Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show, earlier this year.

Ms Morris said after the event: “I am shattered but had a fantastic time. My demonstration dogs did me proud.”

READ MORE: Four Paws has a blast at Crufts

Four Paws also joined a national campaign calling for mandatory first aid qualifications for groomers.

Currently it is not mandatory for any pet professional to have first aid training, but many industry chiefs are calling for the rules to change.

Ms Morris, who has two poodles and a Jack Russell of her own, said: "We are proud to support Safe Pets and People and hope that by spreading the word more people will sign the petition and help us make a change.”