New initiative set to improve diversity in the veterinary industry - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


New initiative set to improve diversity in the veterinary industry

Initiative aims to attract more individuals from BAME backgrounds into the profession

An initiative which aims to break down barriers for anyone who aspires to join the veterinary industry is being launched by a registered veterinary nurse, who is currently training to become a vet, and the veterinary industry’s biggest recruitment agency.

25-year-old Remi Onabolu, who is from East London and is the co-founder of Scrub Mentors, an established mentoring programme, is spearheading the campaign, which is being funded by JHP Recruitment. Together they aim to improve diversity and attract more individuals from BAME backgrounds into the profession.

The partnership will see Remi and JHP Recruitment create a dedicated, educational video, which will be initially used by all registered career advisers across the Southwest of England, and subsequently across the rest of England.

Remi qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in London as a registered veterinary nurse in 2019, achieving a BSc Veterinary Nursing degree. She then successfully applied to start the graduate Veterinary Medicine programme at the same University.

Remi said: “I didn’t quite get the grades to study to be a vet straight away, but I always knew that I wanted to focus on a surgical career path and having gone through the university application twice, I want to help other students realise that they too can pursue a career as a vet or vet nurse.

“I met the managing director of JHP Recruitment, Justin Powlesland, at a networking event and explained how keen I was to help more people realise that there is more than one way to become a veterinary professional and to encourage school age children not to dismiss a veterinary career from an early age.

“I had already set up an online forum with a former school friend, who is in the final year of a dentistry degree at Cardiff, after we both struggled to find mentors in our chosen professions. With most schools tending to focus on careers in medicine, we wanted to make it easy for people to talk to those who have experienced the process. We provide tips and advice for people applying for university, links to relevant online industry articles and blog about our personal experiences. We also run online sessions for our members and it’s a totally free service that is accessible to all.”

Justin added: “I instantly committed to providing funding for Scrub Mentors, as the work Remi and Nisha is doing is so vitally important. Then, I was asked to speak at a local school about what I do, which was great – the children had so many questions! Afterwards I thought how valuable it would be to get someone like Remi in front of the children, but not just at one school. To make a real difference and tackle the shortages in the industry long-term, we need to talk to as many young people as possible as early as possible, which is when the idea for a video was born.

“We have employed a production company and are now looking for a location to film it. Ideally, we need a teaching hospital to offer us some space for a day, as we want to set our interview with Remi in a clinical setting, where there is plenty of equipment to see. We are hoping to film this summer and are appealing for help to find a location.

“The video will tell Remi’s story about the hurdles she has faced and overcome to ultimately study to become a vet, it will also show students where the veterinary industry can take them and the different roles and routes to study that are available. As well as the video, a downloadable PDF version will be created, which are both great resources for career advisers that we will also share across social media.”

Remi added: “I really hope that what we are doing will encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to consider going to into higher education to start a career in veterinary medicine or veterinary nursing – that’s the ultimate goal.”

Any teaching hospital that can help with a filming location is being asked to contact Justin via email or to call him on 07506 981 354.

JHP Recruitment was founded by Justin Powlesland and is based at Airport Business Park in Exeter. The company specialises in recruiting both permanent and locum vets and nurses, as well as other staff, for veterinary practices throughout the UK and is now winning an increasing amount of work in both Europe and the USA.

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more