From placement to practice - Veterinary Practice
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From placement to practice

Veterinary Care Assistant students from Scotland’s Rural College are set to start on the next stage of their careers

Veterinary Care Assistant students from Scotland’s Rural
(SRUC) are set to start on the next stage of their careers despite the
challenges brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nikki McKinnell,
Laura Rotheray and Ceara Anderson have all been offered jobs at local
veterinary practices after studying the one-year Level 2 Diploma at SRUC’s
Craibstone campus in Aberdeen.

After working as a vehicle body sprayer for many years
and raising her two sons, Nikki, 35, from Aberdeen, decided to change her career
path by returning to study.

Having spent her whole life rescuing, rehabilitating and
rehousing dogs, a course in Animal Care at SRUC’s Craibstone campus in Aberdeen
was the natural choice. She then progressed on to the Veterinary Care Assistant
(VCA) course and has now been accepted on to an Animal Behaviour degree course
at the University of Aberdeen.

“I would like to become an animal behaviourist,” she
said. “Thanks to SRUC, I was able to return to education a long time after
leaving school, proving that you are never too old.”

As part of their course, VCA students spend a minimum of
600 hours gaining work experience in a practice, and after completing her
placement at Ardene House – Aberdeen’s only hospital-standard veterinary
practice – Nikki is also now working there on a part-time basis.

Laura, 40, who lives
near Turriff in Aberdeenshire, had worked in various roles – including ten
years at Aberdeenshire Council, after graduating from university but when the
pandemic hit, she decided it was time to change career.

“I always knew I wanted to learn more, and the pandemic
made me realise that at my age it was now or never,” she said. “I have
always been an animal lover and coming from a farming background I knew that
the rural direction was the way forward for me.”

Laura started her VCA placement at Mintlaw Vet Surgery
in November 2020 and has now been offered a permanent job as a Veterinary Care

“The team at Mintlaw has been so supportive and after
entering as a complete newcomer, I have learned – and continue to learn – many
new skills,” she said. “When I was offered a permanent job, I accepted it
straight away as I knew this was an opportunity I could not let slip

“I will always be so grateful to the team for taking me
on during this difficult time which has caused so much change to the way
practices have had to operate.

“I feel that I have accomplished so much in such a short
space of time. It has truly been life-changing and I am so excited for
the future.”

When she left school, animal lover Ceara
Anderson wanted to study something which involved animals.

After completing the
one-year VCA course, and doing a placement at the Town and Country Veterinary
in Banchory, the 18-year-old from Aberdeen has been offered a full-time job
as a Veterinary Care Assistant at the Millburn branch of the practice.

“Everyone at the
practice has been great at supporting me through my course,” she said. “In the
future I hope to continue furthering my skills in animal care as well as
becoming a registered Veterinary Nurse.”

For more information about studying at SRUC, visit the website.

Veterinary Practice

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