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Encouraging tomorrow's vet students
  1. EdVet

Abstract

EdVet was set up by a group of six vet students at Liverpool vet school with the aim of promoting a career in veterinary medicine to school children of all ages

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DECIDING to pursue a career in veterinary medicine is a big decision and school students want to know what it entails, how to apply and then give themselves the best chance of gaining a place at university. EdVet is a website – www.edvet.co.uk – that aims to help widen participation in the veterinary degree, being dedicated to providing support and guidance on all aspects of what's involved.

EdVet is also new. We launched the website recently, starting with information that can help school students decide whether veterinary medicine is the right degree for them. If it is, there are also tips on how to be successful in their applications. Currently, the range of topics covers what to include in a personal statement, relevant work experience, how to approach a university interview, finance and vet school life.

The contributions have been gathered from students at all the UK vet schools. Most of the website is written in the form of case studies and vet students' personal experiences to prove that there isn't just one route into vet school. This format also provides a real perspective of what vet school is like once you get in and how students can get the most out of the course and their experiences.

Teaming up: (from left) Secretary Alice Barker, marketing and liaison officer Hannah Badham, president Lucy Hyams, vice-presidents Livvy Lock and Emma Holmberg, and treasurer Ella Jones

Our society was set up with the support of EdMed, which is a society that provides similar advice and information for prospective medical students. EdMed has been running for a few years now and its experiences have helped us create our society, set up the website and make a plan for future work in schools. We couldn't have done it without them and we aim to work closely with EdMed in the future.

We have also set up an advisory board whose members offer additional guidance. It is made up of vets and other professionals who are involved in the admissions process in school and university. Their role is to check the website for any discrepancies and to feed back their suggestions on how we can improve it. This helps to ensure that our website contains accurate and relevant information for the vets of the future.

We believe that many people who apply to vet school only consider working in clinical practice once they qualify. However, there are almost endless career options for those with a degree in veterinary medicine, including consultancy, research, joining the military, working for the government as a state vet, specialisation, careers in industry, and so on. Many vets working in these fields have written about their experiences for Vet Record Careers and their articles can be found at www.vetrecordjobs.com.

‘EdVet aims to help widen participation in the veterinary degree, being dedicated to providing support and guidance on all aspects of what's involved’

Knowing about the wide variety of potential careers that are available offers vet school applicants a thorough understanding of their options after graduating, and of the veterinary profession as a whole, before they apply.

In the New Year, we will be recruiting volunteer ambassadors from each UK veterinary school to fulfil EdVet's other role, face-to-face liaison with school children. They will go into local primary and secondary schools to talk to classes. We want to inspire primary school children about the veterinary profession through talking about the correct handling of animals, for example. Workshops with younger children will involve easy-to-understand topics broadly related to veterinary themes; such as how to wash your hands properly after you have been handling animals and to understand why it is important to do so. We hope these sessions might encourage the children to consider being a vet when they are older.

EdVet ambassadors will also have the opportunity to go into colleges and sixth forms to advise older students more specifically about vet school applications and opportunities; and hopefully persuade students from all backgrounds that vet school is an achievable goal. We will be able to tailor sessions to writing a UCAS personal statement, organising work experience, etc, or offer sessions simply aimed at inspiring students to think about applying to vet school and help them explore the options that are available.

Practical workshops could involve teaching students how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on an animal, how to bandage and hand wash, and possibly give them a chance to have a go at suturing or other interactive clinical skills.

Our volunteer ambassadors will be trained to run these sessions in schools and will follow carefully created lesson plans by the schools' division of the new committee.

Although we are part of the Liverpool Guild of Students, we receive no financial support and have to rely on fundraising or sponsorship. We raised enough money to set up the website and now we need to maintain it. We also need sponsors for our school campaigns who can help us fund posters that will be distributed to schools and to buy equipment for our student-run events. For further information, e-mail: educatingvet@outlook.com.

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