New national qualification for farm animal health professionals
Vet Tech apprenticeship takes two years to complete
A level five apprenticeship for veterinary technicians, approved by the government Agricultural and Environment apprentice board has been launched.
The qualification will enable the establishment of a standard skill level for all Vet Techs employed by UK practices, providing assurance to farmers and consumers that any who visit their farm is trained to carry out all tasks to an exemplary standard.
Several veterinary practices have collaborated to launch the qualification, including VetPartners, XL Vets and independent farm veterinary practices.
VetPartners’ Natalie Parker, Head Vet Tech at LLM Farm Vets, said: “Due to the practical nature of the job, the apprenticeship is ideal as it is designed for people who are already employed by a vet practice as a Vet Tech and it will also help a vet practice thinking of setting up a Vet Tech service with full training.
“80% of the learning is practical within the vet practice and farm-based, with the remaining 20% a blend of online learning and two or three intensive sessions per year, to be provided by the colleges and universities offering the qualification. This minimises the impact of travel to face-to-face training.
“The qualification takes two years to complete. Final assessments will be carried out independently by an end point assessor, involving vet observation of apprentices carrying out a range of tasks.”
Harper Adams University is currently finalising its apprenticeship offer with a view to launching in autumn 2021.
Reaseheath College and The College of Animal Health and Welfare are also set to offer the qualification.
Natalie parker added: “The new standard will enable a career as a Vet Tech to be seen as a profession with a career path, and by making training opportunities available, it should contribute to the roll-out of Vet Tech services at more farm practices.
“In turn, this can contribute to the improvement of animal health standards on UK farms, as tasks like vaccine administration can increasingly be carried out by trained animal health professionals, who have the protocol put in place by a vet and the equipment to store medications at the correct temperature.”