There may be more people in the UK with hairdressing qualifications than there are actual hairdressers in the world, but spare a thought for other species which could do with a wash and trim.
It might be expensive getting a decent hairdo (unless you know Ferret's favourite pound;10 barber) but it seems it's a dog's life if you are a bitch with a shabby coat.
Among the UK's skills shortages is apparently a serious lack of beauticians qualified to cater for the canine community.
But help is at hand thanks to FE, including Duchy College in Cornwall which is training students to deal with every conceivable dog breed. The only problem is that dogs, like people, are not plentiful in the far reaches of the west country. So now the appeal has gone out for dog owners to entrust their pets to the expertise of the college students and only pay for the cost of grooming materials.
If your shih-tzu needs a shampoo, your bichon frise needs a frizz or your westie needs a wash, you could be in luck. Apparently these breeds, not to mention poodles, scotties, airedales, jack russells and spaniels, all have to be groomed by the students if they are to succeed.
Just in case this picture isn't enough to soften your heart, let me try some moral blackmail. If the students don't get their hands on these breeds to primp, they will not qualify.
Learning and Skills Council take note: the latest recruitment crisis seems to be about classroom assistants of the four-legged variety.