Gateways to the Veterinary Profession

Perceptions of Veterinary Careers

Robinson D, Munro M, Baldwin S, Pollard E | Report 443 | Institute for Employment Studies | Jun 2007

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The Gateways to the Professions project was a collaboration between the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), six out of seven of the UK veterinary schools and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), part-funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

Its objective was to develop communications materials that could help break down barriers preventing students from a broader ethnic, social and economic base applying to veterinary school.

There is a common misconception among school students and their careers advisors that becoming a vet is 'very hard', a belief that applicants require three A-grades at A-Level. The gap between requirements for veterinary nurse training and surgeon training is also a difficulty, and there is a lack of understanding about work experience requirements.

The desire to work with animals generally tails off with age, which is not helped by little teaching of animal science in the school curriculum. Although careers websites offering information about the profession are accessible and informative, particularly RCVSonline, there is a lack of awareness about existing widening participation pathways at veterinary schools.