• Print

Helping our vet students hop into action through work placements

Alison Robinson - Why I give my time

Our work placements and internships volunteers are a huge credit to The University of Nottingham and really help give our students the experience they need to boost their employability, confidence and professional skills. Nottingham alumna, Alison Robinson is one such volunteer. Kindly dedicating 11 years to the University’s Vet School, this year she’s been awarded the ‘Longstanding Volunteer of the Year Award’ for the amazing difference she’s made to students and staff. 

With over 30 years of experience as a vet, Alison has fond memories of being taught on rotation in the vet school. Now the Clinical Director of Dovecote Veterinary Hospital, she offers our final year vet students the opportunity to put into practise the skills and knowledge they’ve learnt in our labs and lecture theatres.  

Specialising in small animals, Dovecote Veterinary Hospital provides groups of students with elective rotational placements every two weeks giving them real insight into the industry. From day one, students are immersed into the real world setting of a veterinary practise, participating in first opinion and referral cases, and learning on the job with close supervision from specialist vets and nurses. 

Students come with a reasonable set of manual skills which they’ve learnt through their Vet course, the skills lab, and the University. But what they need from us is the decision making processes that we go through and a bit of clinical acumen. It’s not something that you can learn out of a book. The students become part of the practise effectively. You involve them in the work.

Whilst students learn how to deal with individual cases, manage workloads, and develop their communication skills, staff seize the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for veterinary surgery and pass on their expertise. There really is something in it for everyone:

We get immense stimulation from having young and inquiring minds around the place. It keeps us on our toes! Everybody enjoys it – the nurses enjoy teaching students the practical skills and the vets enjoy having them here. There have been some very funny incidences and we do have fun here. You couldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun! It’s part of having a good team.

For Alison, who completed an MBA at The University of Nottingham, volunteering here is a unique way to give back to the University, the veterinary profession and the wider society:

Volunteering is more than giving something that’s material. It’s about giving something of yourself. I think that’s the rewarding bit – using your life experience, you knowledge, your ability and your job to help other people to develop. I find it immensely rewarding. If it helps somebody else or gives them an opportunity, it makes you feel as though you are putting something into society. 

Dovecote Veterinary Hospital’s work placements really help give our students the essential experience they need to reach their full potential and further develop the skills they’ll need to succeed as a vet after graduating. We are incredibly grateful to Alison and her team, as well as others who give their time by providing work experience opportunities. 

We’re always looking to engage with new employers from a variety of industry backgrounds. If you would like to offer a work placement or internship to one of our students please complete the following application form and a member of our dedicated team will get in touch with you. 

We look forward to hearing from you!  

More volunteering opportunities

Alumni Relations

Portland Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 823 2408
fax: +44 (0)115 951 3937