Work experience can give you confidence and a competitive edge when academic entry requirements have been met. It also helps you to decide if the course you have chosen to study is the right one for you and that it confirms your career aspirations and expectations.
If you are applying for an Animals, Engineering, Zoology, Food, Business or Wildlife course, work experience is very useful and will enhance your application, but is not compulsory.
For applicants of Land and Property Management courses a minimum of one week in a rural chartered surveyors or land agent prior to starting the course, would be particularly beneficial, but is not essential.
If you are planning to study Agriculture, Veterinary Nursing or Veterinary Physiotherapy, you’ll need some more detailed work experience to support your application. We will send you the required forms to complete and return once your application has satisfied the initial screening criteria. Please note if you are applying for deferred entry, your work experience must be completed in the cycle in which you apply.
If you don't have enough relevant work experience, the additional amount required may be added as part of a conditional offer.
Agriculture applicants are required to have a minimum of 10 weeks practical experience on a commercial farm by 1st August in the year in which they enter the course. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities for work experience in agriculture continue to be available and applicants are strongly encouraged to gain the required practical experience as this will be of benefit to them in the longer term in understanding the industry, setting studies in context and placement applications. There is no validity period for this work experience but applicants should try to gain recent experience where possible.
However, the University recognises the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented in relation to gaining work experience and applicants can be reassured that if they are not able to meet the work experience for 2021 entry, that this will not prevent them from gaining their place, provided that they meet any academic offer. For 2022 cycle applicants, we will keep the situation under review and will continue to apply flexibility where required.
To study Agriculture you will need at least ten weeks work experience on a commercial farm by 1 August in the year in which you apply. If you are struggling to achieve this we can help. Our new Access to Agriculture route gives students from non-farming backgrounds the chance to build their experience during their first year of study.
Acceptable types of experience: The most appropriate experience is on a commercial farm, which can either be a family farm or one local to you. It is important to try to get as much variety of experience as possible, including working 'hands on' with different types of animals and crops. Work experience in ancillary industries such as agricultural trials, laboratory work, feed mills etc. is useful and credit will be applied for this, but at least 60 per cent of the required work experience must be on a farm.
Further information: As agriculture is a vocational subject it is important to become familiar with the practical aspects of farming before starting the course and gaining practical experience will help with this as well as ensuring that you have a good feel for the industry you are planning to enter. Gaining a variety of experience is extremely useful and as much of this experience as possible should be hands-on. If you gain experience away from a home farm it is a good idea to obtain independent references as these may be useful when applying for placement opportunities later in the course.
It is recognised that applicants from non-farming backgrounds and particularly those from non-rural areas may find it challenging to obtain the necessary commercial farm experience. A good starting point would be to contact the local Young Farmers Club for advice on contacts in your area, approach the local NFU Office, place an advert in Farmers Weekly or other agricultural publications or online job boards, write prospective letters to farms in your area, or approach local agricultural colleges with a farm attached.
Due to the potential difficulties in gaining work experience in a veterinary practice as a result of COVID-19, for 2021 entry, where an applicant cannot get 4 weeks work experience in a veterinary practice, 2 weeks of this can now be undertaken in an animal related setting as an alternative. (At least one week of experience in a practice must be completed before an applicant is considered for an offer) The validity period of experience has also been extended to 3 years, so for applicants for September 2021, we will consider experience gained since September 2018. For 2022 entry we will retain this flexibility should we find that applicants are experiencing difficulty gaining experience in a veterinary practice.
You will need a minimum of four weeks' relevant work experience. All applicants must have at least two weeks recent experience in a veterinary practice before they can be considered for an offer.
What constitutes a 'week'? 35 hours (in a block or separate, however must cover different times of the day to experience different client types)
Acceptable types of experience: Experience must be within a veterinary practice and at least two weeks must be with small animals and no more than one week in an equine practice. The experience does not need to be in an RCVS approved training practice, although this would be beneficial. For offer making purposes, we will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period 2 years immediately before the course start date. This is to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date practices and procedures.
Further information: It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each practice or setting attended. A total of at least 4 weeks is required overall to meet the work experience element of the entry requirements.
The RCVS has a website facility called Find a Vet which can be used to find practices based on a postcode search. When contacting veterinary practices to enquire about a work experience place, it is important to stress that you are applying to study Veterinary Nursing at degree level at University and that it is an entry requirement for the course. This should give you priority over those wanting general work experience while at school. It is best to write or email in the first instance, then follow up with a phone call. It is important to show enthusiasm and be persistent, but without pestering!
Due to the potential difficulties in gaining work experience as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:
You will need a minimum of four weeks' relevant work experience. All applicants must have at least 2 weeks recent hands-on experience working with horses and dogs before they can be considered for interview.
What constitutes a 'week'? 5 days (in a block or separate days) totalling 35 hours.
Acceptable types of experience: Hands-on experience with dogs and horses is preferred, including in a riding school, livery/competition/rehabilitation yard, commercial/hunt kennels, grooming parlours or a hydrotherapy centre. Time in the 'in-patient' area of a veterinary practice or with a veterinary physiotherapist/chiropractor/osteopath will also give a useful insight. Having sole responsibility for a horse can also count towards a proportion of the experience required. For offer making purposes, we will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period 2 years immediately before the course start date (so if you were applying for September 2018 entry, we will not consider experience gained before September 2016); this is to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date practices and procedures.
Further information: It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each placement on letter headed paper.
While the area of veterinary physiotherapy is quite specialised, it may seem hard to find work experience, however, we accept a wide range of experience provided that it is hands-on with animals. NAVP has a list of member who may be able to help with some experience however, bear in mind that these are often small businesses and may not have the capacity to help, partly due to insurance restrictions. It is important to do some research when applying for experience and ensure you explain what your career aspirations are and to stress that it is part of a university course application.
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No other courses have compulsory work experience requirements, but bear in mind that work experience always gives you confidence and a competitive edge when academic requirements have already been met or exceeded. It will also be helpful when on course as you can apply what you have learnt during work experience to your theoretical studies and view learning from a different perspective.
We understand that securing suitable work experience may be a daunting prospect, especially if you do not have any contacts within your course area. We also understand that it may be difficult to get the variety of experience required. However, please note that we ensure that all applicants have the same levels of work experience in each course area, as experience has taught us that students perform better on their course and during their placement year if they have practical experience which they can relate to and take examples from.
We recommend that you collate information and references in relation to your work experience and build up a portfolio to demonstrate what you have done. We would advise all applicants, where possible, to obtain references on letter headed paper at the point the experience is completed so you have a full record of the depth and breadth of experience obtained and to avoid having to contact experience employers retrospectively.