Simon Hughes MP, the coalition government's advocate for access to education, today issued a report on widening access to veterinary education, while the British Veterinary Association (BVA) provided ideas on how to encourage people from non-traditional backgrounds into veterinary medicine.
Hughes’ report on access to education recognizes that longer courses, such as the veterinary science degree, require additional support to help attract applicants from a wide range of backgrounds. In past surveys, the BVA determined financial restraints deterred some students from pursuing a veterinary degree.
“Newly qualified vets are guaranteed one of the most expensive degree courses while entering a profession that is relatively low paid when compared to other professions with long degree courses,” said Dr. Harvey Locke, president of BVA. “The profession needs additional support to help attract the brightest students from all backgrounds and to ensure less well-off students are not discouraged from starting or continuing the veterinary degree on their path into this wonderful profession.”
The Hughes Report suggests that education institutions recruiting for longer courses and the organizations associated with these professions should have particular programs aimed at widening access to these courses.
“We know that some veterinary schools already have programs aimed at attracting students from poorer backgrounds into the profession and we would hope to see this rolled out across all of the U.K.’s seven veterinary schools,” Dr. Locke says. “The BVA has been in dialogue with the government on the issue since the Browne review last October and has met with Simon Hughes to discuss the profession’s concerns about access to the veterinary profession. We will continue to actively lobby to get the best possible outcome for veterinary students.”