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    New widening participation programme launched to support future vets

    Posted 6 March

    Students experiencing a vet taster day including lab-based activities as part of the Future Vet programme

    A new widening participation programme to support Year 12 students preparing to apply for veterinary school has been launched by Higher Horizons and the Harper & Keele Veterinary School.

    Some young people are often discouraged from applying to veterinary school or joining the profession by a perceived lack of access to work experience opportunities and the fierce competition for vet school places.

    To combat this, the new Future Vet programme has been carefully designed to offer four in-person activities between February and June 2024, with additional digital content provided between sessions, to support students in their journey to vet school.

    Starting with a vet taster day including lab-based activities, participants will go on to undertake two days of vocational experience. The final session will focus on providing information and guidance around the application process.

    Most veterinary schools require students to have undertaken vocational experience before applying, and this programme will give students an opportunity to spend a day at Garden Vets, the veterinary teaching hospital based at Keele University. Following that, participants will visit the extensive 494-hectare Harper Adams Future Farm for a taster of life as a farm vet.

    David Mazzocchi-Jones, Director of Admissions and Student Experience at the Vet School, said: “Opening the gates to veterinary education ensures that the next generation of veterinary students reflects the diversity of our society. By widening access to veterinary courses, we not only enrich the profession but also extend the reach of compassionate animal care to all corners of our communities.

    “This programme enables those who would struggle to get vocational experience a deeply enriched, focused experience to explore the many aspects of the profession. Our facilitated vocational experience gives students hands-on experience of being vet.”

    On completion of the programme, students will receive a certificate of completion, recognised by vet schools nationwide, be eligible for a contextualised offer and a guaranteed interview with the Harper & Keele Veterinary School.

    Higher Horizons, part of the Uni Connect Programme, are funded by the UK Government to deliver free and impartial higher education outreach to schools and colleges across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire. 

    Ant Sutcliffe, Associate Director, Higher Horizons, Keele University added: "We know that along with Medicine, Veterinary Science is the most difficult discipline for young working-class people to engage with. The Future Vet programme is about creating a rebalance, providing the needed work experience, skills for interview and a clear pathway via contextual offers to the Harper and Keele Vet School. It has been a real pleasure to engage with such forward-thinking team, and of course, the wonderful young people who we know will make excellent vets."

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