The Academy was established in 2016 to address the widespread shortage of qualified veterinary nursing staff. This shortage is recognised throughout the profession and, as a busy referral practice, DWR’s need for a well trained nursing team is greater than most. Currently employing around 100 veterinary nurses and nursing assistants, we needed to be sure that newly qualified nurses were being trained to our demanding high standards – and it seemed that the best way to achieve that was to set up our own training centre on the DWR site. This ensures that students have access not only to a wide range of facilities and equipment but also to a wealth of expertise – with clinical staff being involved in teaching.
The Academy offers two options: a one-year VCA Level 2 course for Veterinary Care Assistants; and a 3-year Diploma Level 3 course for those wishing to qualify as Registered Veterinary Nurses.
Last year’s cohort of VCA students all passed their examinations and the second group are mid-way through their year. On 21st February, the Diploma Level 3 students sat the first of the exams with a 90% pass rate.
Academy Principal, Ali Heywood, was delighted with the results. “This compares very favourably with the national average of 71%” she said “and it reflects the commitment and dedication of our students and the Academy Staff”.
As well as the advantage of being linked to a leading referral clinic, Ali feels that another contributory factor to the Academy’s high success rates may be the small class size. “We have a maximum of 14 students per class” she explained “and this allows our teaching to be very focused”.
Whatever the reasons, the Academy’s success to date has clearly impressed both the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and City & Guilds – who have given their stamp of approval as a Training Provider and a Veterinary Nursing Centre, respectively.