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Consider science subjects as a rewarding career, says Royal College of Vetinary Surgeons

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School and college students currently considering what subjects to take should look at what science has to offer, says Professor Stuart Reid, Chairman of the Education Policy and Specialisation Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the body responsible for assuring standards in veterinary education in the UK.

A career as a vet, for example, is science-based and offers plenty of variety and good employment prospects in all sorts of different fields.  Not only do vets treat peoples pets but they can also run their own businesses, make discoveries that stop human diseases spreading, help with wildlife conservation and, critically, ensure the food we eat is safe and produced in a welfare-friendly fashion. Veterinary surgeons are also employed within the pharmaceutical industry.

For those who may not have considered applying to veterinary school, the RCVS careers material Veterinary Sciencefor all Walks of Life is well worth a look. Comprising short videos and an accompanying brochure, it features advice from real-life vets and veterinary students about the different jobs vets do, what vet school is like, and how to get there.

Vets come from all walks of life, says Professor Reid, noting that bursaries and other financial support are provided by the universities for students from lower-income backgrounds. This year, the University of Liverpool joins the Royal Veterinary College, and the universities of Nottingham and Bristol, in taking talented, disadvantaged students with lower grades, or relevant experience and vocational qualifications.  These students undertake a pre-entry year and, as long as they pass, are guaranteed places on the degree courses that qualify them to become vets.

Students, parents, teachers and careers advisers can find an interactive version of the Walks of Life brochure at www.walksoflife.org.uk which also incorporates the video modules. The videos can also be viewed on the VetCareers channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/vetcareers).

Hard copies of the brochure are freely available by contacting the RCVS (education@rcvs.org.uk or 020 7202 0791).

The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the UK and deals with issues of professional misconduct, maintaining the Register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the UK and assuring standards of veterinary education.

The Walks of Life DVD and brochure were produced by the RCVS in conjunction with six out of the seven UK veterinary schools and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with funding from the previous government’s Gateways to the Professions project. The Gateways project aimed to encourage more young people, especially those from less well represented groups, to consider applying to study to enter the professions.

Further information about access to veterinary medicine degree courses through a pre-entry year can be found here:

University of Bristol (Pre-veterinary year):

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/prospectus/undergraduate/2011/sections/VESC/379/admissions#entry

University of Liverpool (Carmel Year Zero):

http://www.liv.ac.uk/vets/study/carmel.htm

University of London, Royal Veterinary College (Gateway programme): http://www.rvc.ac.uk/undergraduate/vetgateway/index.cfm

University of Nottingham (Gateway Year):

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ugstudy/course.php?inc=course&code=021635

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