Britain's newest vet school celebrates first graduation ceremony

22 Jul 2011 06:00:00.000

PA 224/11

Eighty four students will make history on July 22 2011 when they graduate from the first new purpose built vet school in Britain for 50 years.

The University of Nottingham students, who enrolled in September 2006, are the first cohort to have successfully completed the innovative five year veterinary degree course which has helped to change the way veterinary medicine is taught in Britain.

The five-year course is unique in that students get hands on experience with animals from day one and it awards three separate degrees: Bachelor of Veterinary Medical Sciences (BVMedSci) is awarded in year three after completion of a research project, and the professional qualifications, the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) and Bachelor of Veterinary Surgery (BVS) degrees in year five.

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 Last month the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons made their unanimous recommendation for the degree’s approval to the Privy Council after a detailed visitation and audit process.

Professor Gary England, Foundation Dean and Professor of Comparative Veterinary Reproduction, said: “This is a momentous day for the students, their families and the veterinary profession. We were given a unique opportunity to establish a brand new veterinary school. Recognition by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons was the highest possible accolade they could award — their approval and today’s graduation ceremony is the culmination of five years successful hard work for staff and students.”

Among its first graduands is ex-Harrier pilot Mark Westwood who has already started in his new job with Animates Veterinary Clinic in Bourne, Lincolnshire. Jennifer Hall gained a degree in Biosciences at The University of Nottingham before undertaking her veterinary degree. She will be joining the St Davids Farm Practice in Exeter. Carolyn Harvey-Myers has taken a job at a first opinion small animal hospital in her home city of Lincoln where she spent time on placement during her final year.

Fellow graduand Toby Trimble says he’s found his dream job as an exotics and small animal houseman at Manor Vets in Birmingham. He said: “After coming on the first open day and hearing Professor England speak about the plans for the School I didn't want to go anywhere else!

“Originally I was interested in how animals worked, then I came to understand how vets could improve animal welfare. Having always been in interested in birds, being able to study them in a clinical context was a great opportunity. Manor Vets are developing a new exotics service at their Edgbaston practice. I'll be working with Marie Kubiak, who is a specialist in avian medicine and surgery. This is a great opportunity and I'm very excited to start work.”

Mark Westwood said: “Nottingham vet school presents a unique opportunity to master the skills required of a vet on the first day of their first job.  It is unrivalled in the opportunities it offers to develop communication skills with clients and to learn the many practical skills required of a vet in a working environment. This course gives graduates the confidence to cope with the many varied practical experiences faced by newly qualified vets; communication skills are widely recognised as key to developing a good vet/client relationship and this is an early focus of the course at Nottingham.  So not only can Nottingham graduates speak easily and with confidence to clients, but they can carry out the many varied practical skills required by a new vet.”

Jennifer Hall is looking forward to her new career as a farm vet. She spotted her opportunity while studying for her degree in Biosciences at Nottingham. Jennifer said: “During my time at Sutton Bonington the vet school appeared so I applied!  I'd heard so much about the course and had watched the buildings go up. I couldn't resist trying just one more time to pursue my chosen career.

“The course suited my style of learning perfectly.  Everything was based on practical application and there were many opportunities to learn with different resources.  We were positively encouraged to look at the real thing and not sit for hours poring over books which, when you're going into a practical profession makes sense.”

Carloyn Harvey-Myers said: “It has been fantastic having so much practical teaching and clinical information taught from the beginning of the course, which put all of the basic anatomy and physiology into a clinical context and made it seem even more relevant, right from the start. Hopefully all of the practical teaching we have experienced will mean that we can hit the ground running when we get to our first jobs, and are competent in the basic skills needed by a vet.

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “Having set up the new school from a standing start the graduation of our first cohort of vet students is a chance to celebrate a remarkable achievement. Our congratulations go to the students and we wish them well in their future veterinary careers — whether in clinical practice or research.”

The class of 2011 will be joined by David Noakes, Emeritus Professor of the Royal Veterinary College. He will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony which takes place at 11am on University Park on July 22 2011.

— Ends

 Notes to editors:  The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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More information is available from Lindsay Brooke, Media Relations Manager, The University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 951 5751,

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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