The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has put together a series of video interviews with some of the next generation of veterinary professionals as part of the RCVS Black History Month activities this October. The conversations will feature black and mixed heritage newly-qualified and student vets and veterinary nurses, talking about what inspired them to join the veterinary profession and how they got to where they are today.
The conversations will give an insight into the career advice the interviewees received from their school, what steps they took to secure their place to study for their veterinary qualification and when they first decided they wanted to become a vet or vet nurse. The interviews also feature discussions about the hurdles encountered and overcome and what can be done to address issues around the under-representation of some groups within the profession.
The aim of these videos is to help inspire school age children to consider a veterinary career through open and honest conversations with role models who have chosen a vet or vet nursing career.
To help promote the videos and the College’s ongoing work on diversity and inclusion, RCVS has also partnered with the official Black History Month campaign and website once again, which will also be hosting the video series. To find out more, visit the RCVS page on the Black History Month website.
Many of the interviews have been carried out by RCVS Senior Vice-President Mandisa Greene who helped lead the RCVS Black History Month activities last year as the College’s first ever black President.
Mandisa explained: “It’s important that we demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion and have a role in acknowledging and accentuating diverse voices within the professions. Throughout these video interviews I’ve had the opportunity to speak to some inspiring newly qualified and student veterinary professionals who are all clearly very passionate about supporting animal health and welfare.
“I hope that school children from all backgrounds who watch these videos will get the chance to see how rewarding and enjoyable a veterinary career can be and that they’ll be inspired to consider becoming a vet or vet nurse in the future.”
The first video in the series has now been published and is an interview between Mandisa and Rheanna Ellis, a 2021 Nottingham Vet School graduate who is now working as a veterinary surgeon at a West Midlands practice. In her interview Rheanna talks about her passion to become a vet from a young age, how she went about researching and preparing for her dream job and the importance of perseverance.
She says: “Perseverance would be the one [standout bit of advice for others] because in high school I had all the support, but by the time I got to sixth form, a lot of the teaching staff were [unsure] as to whether or not it was even worth me applying to vet school, but I had my heart set on it.
“I missed my grades at AS level, so I had to resit a couple of papers and they were saying, if you’re having to resit now, then you’re not going to make it as a vet, so you should probably think of backup careers. I listened to this but didn’t take it to heart, and lucky I didn’t because I’ve made it and I’ve been just fine throughout vet school and I’ve made it out the other end.”
To celebrate Black History Month the RCVS will be publishing more video interviews throughout the course of October and beyond. As well as watching the videos on the Black History Month website you can also watch all the video interviews on the RCVS YouTube channel.