Wales gets its first veterinary school

Wales gets its first veterinary school

Wales has opened its first school for vets at Aberystwyth University.

The five-year degree course is being run jointly by the university and the Royal Veterinary College and students will spend the first two years in Aberystwyth, with their final three spent training at the RVC’s Hertfordshire campus.

Prof Darrell Abernethy, head and chairman of the university’s school for veterinary science, said: “It’s a culmination of years of hard work and the vision of people from years ago.

“The idea of a vets school was floated 120 years ago, and it’s actually happening, so it’s fantastically exciting.”

With only 25 places up for grabs the first intake was chosen from almost 150 applicants. The course is also available in Welsh for native speakers.

‘Education in Welsh’

New student Anya Williams from Llanrug, Gwynedd, told the BBC: “It’s essential for the country, for both agriculture and the wider community, that we can train vets here.

“It is important to me that I can have an experience and education through the medium of Welsh as well.”

Given the rural nature of Aberystwyth and the surrounding area, there will be an emphasis on the veterinary needs of agriculture in a bid to tackle a shortage of vets.

The British Veterinary Association said major veterinary employers across the UK have reported a vacancy rate of about 11% in recent years, with Brexit and Covid putting more demand on practices which have struggled with recruiting.

Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop said it was “a great day for the University of Aberystwyth, for the veterinary profession, and for animal health and welfare in Wales”.

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