Thumbs up from Students and Practices for the Dick White Academy

22 August 2018


The Dick White Academy was established in 2016 to address the widespread shortage of qualified veterinary nursing staff. A feedback survey has recently been conducted to gauge the opinion of the students who have attended courses. The Academy has delivered two Veterinary Care Assistant Level 2 courses, with all students graduating successfully; and the first cohort of Veterinary Nurse Diploma Level 3 students has just completed the second year of a 3-year course. The students were asked to participate in a survey to provide feedback as to their experience of the Academy. All respondents rated their course as Excellent, Very Good or Good. Of the Veterinary Care Assistants who have completed their studies, 57% responded and all said that they felt supported by the team at the Academy, that the range of resources was good and assisted their learning; and that they would recommend the course to other students. The survey of Veterinary Nurse Diploma students, with a response rate of 70%, confirmed the high quality of the resources and 100% of respondents said they feel confident that the Academy will help them reach their career ambitions; a view justified by the 90% success rates in their first Level 3 Diploma exam earlier this year, compared with the national average of 76%. Interestingly, just 71% felt that there was always sufficient time to learn the subject matter in each topic and, in response, the lecturers have amended the schedules to allow more teaching time on specific topics. A survey was also sent to the Clinical Coaches within the students’ employer practices, all of whom said that their students were happy with the course, that they felt well supported by the Academy and would recommend it to colleagues. Some of the Clinical Coaches commented that the channels of communication and information could be improved and this is being addressed by a new on-line platform to include forums for dissemination of information. The new academic year is about to start and two new cohorts of students, one for each course, are preparing for their studies. They will continue with their current employment while attending the Academy on a day release basis. Academy Principal, Ali Heywood, pointed out that “this represents a very cost-effective training option for non-levy paying practices who contribute only 10% of the fees, the remainder being funded by the Government. For the Veterinary Nurse Diploma, for example, this means a total cost to the employer of just £1,500 over 36 months, with the Government providing the additional £13,500”. Levy paying practices would fund the training costs directly out of their digital account. There are still a few places available on each course and full information can be found on their website: