Anthony Ridge is the new parliamentary intern to Lord Trees. Here, he reflects on his new job and discovering his place in the veterinary profession. Anthony will be sharing his experiences with Vet Record Careers.
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Up until recently I had followed the path familiar to many veterinary graduates. I packed my bags and set off to vet school just over eight years ago with high aspirations to find a career in which I could have a positive influence on the lives of animals and humans.
Six years later I was keen to get out into the world and put my new skills and knowledge into practice. I remember well those first few months as a practising vet where everything was new. It was a steep learning curve, but with the support of my colleagues I soon found myself settled into life as a clinical vet and was proud of how far I had come. I had a good job, a home with my fiancée (now wife), a new dog and was surrounded by great friends and colleagues, but somehow I had a nagging feeling that something was missing. It was not the clinical work that had drawn me to the veterinary profession, but a general desire to improve human and animal lives and somehow I felt I was missing the bigger picture. I wanted to gain a fresh perspective on my career and when I read the advertisement for the parliamentary veterinary internship I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.
The internship position involves assisting Lord Trees in his parliamentary duties. As one of two vets in the House of Lords, Lord Trees helps to give the veterinary profession a voice in parliament and a say on issues that matter to the profession. It is a humbling thought to realise that on the national stage the veterinary profession is very small and it is easy for our voice to be lost. Nevertheless, vets are well placed to provide valuable input on a huge range of topics – from animal welfare and disease control to global food production and ecosystem health. By speaking out on these issues we can help to safeguard the health and welfare not only of pets and livestock, but also of human society and the natural world as a whole. This broad thinking is what initially drove me to become a vet and the internship is a rare opportunity to meet the people who are driving changes both to the profession and to its roles in society.
In a few days, I will be stepping onto the Tube that will take me to a new building in a new city to meet new colleagues and start a new job. It will no doubt come with its own set of challenges and will certainly be very different from anything I have done before. The internship will give me a chance to enter into a world unseen by the vast majority of vets and I hope that in the process I can find a path that will allow me to fulfil the aspirations I had when I first packed my bag for vet school.