Inspiring diversity in the veterinary profession
So, you think you might want to be a vet? Don’t know anyone who’s become a vet? Don’t live in the countryside or have easy access to animal-related work placements? Well, you’re certainly not alone. Vet students from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) who have shared these experiences have set up an outreach programme that provides support and advice for young people interested in veterinary or animal-related careers.
Animal Aspirations was set up to increase diversity within the veterinary profession where ethnic minorities and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are underrepresented. The Animal Aspirations website – www.animalaspirations.com – aims to share the voices of inspirational people from diverse backgrounds by interviewing vets, vet nurses, researchers and students. We also aim to provide useful resources that will help you on your journey towards an animal-related career.
Although currently somewhat curtailed by the Covid-19 restrictions, our initiative encourages inclusivity by conducting engaging school workshops (we’re running them virtually at the moment). Our workshops are interactive and allow students from all backgrounds (whether or not you have experience working with animals) to get a taster of veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and bioveterinary sciences. Under normal circumstances, our workshops get students involved in group activities such as a physical examination of a live dog, practising the skill of bandaging and investigating microscope slides and plastinated specimens. We also host talks and Q&A sessions with vet students to answer your burning questions on the application process, the course and future career options.
The wide range of career possibilities with a degree in veterinary medicine is often overlooked. As a vet, you may find yourself working with small animals, farm animals or exotics. However, having a degree in veterinary medicine can open the door to various other career opportunities that may not involve working directly with animals – such as a researcher, teaching or business.
If you don’t want to be a vet, why not consider other animal-related careers such as vet nursing, zoology, animal physiotherapy, pharmaceuticals, academia or even media (could you be the next David Attenborough?!)? If this list only confuses you even more, don’t worry! There are many ways to help you decide which path is best for you. Try getting work experience in a vet practice or local city farm, speak to a careers adviser at your school or contact the universities themselves as they can help guide you through the application process. Also, keep an eye out for other exciting opportunities – for instance, the vet schools often host summer schools, which provide a taster of university life.
If you think a career working with animals interests you, or you’d simply like to know more about the work we do, check out our social media pages and website where we continue to share advice and updates on the opportunities available for you!