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A national veterinary group has introduced a student ambassador scheme, to help support future generations of veterinary professionals across the UK and Europe. 

The pilot programme, which was launched earlier this year by Vets4Pets and Companion Care, currently has 24 ambassadors from eight UK vet schools, as well as universities in Budapest, Warsaw and Kosice (Slovakia). 

Two ambassadors, one clinical and one pre-clinical, have been selected as representatives from each vet school. 

More than 70 students applied for the prestigious positions, and the chosen 24 will now act as a focal point between undergraduates and Vets4Pets and Companion Care. 

Dr. Catriona Curtis BVM&S MRCVS, veterinary talent manager for Vets4Pets and Companion Care, said: “We created our Ambassador Programme to support the development of vet students; which is essential to the future and the advancement of our profession. 

“The programme focuses on equipping students with vital life and professional skills as well as giving them all important networking opportunities with key industry stakeholders, which they might not otherwise receive. 

“The ambassadors will receive a bursary payment, attend an annual student ambassador conference, have access to mentors and be offered opportunities to attend graduate CPD events. 

“They will also attend industry conferences and events with Vets4Pets and Companion Care, and will help to ensure the student voice is heard throughout the wider business. When new initiatives and programmes are introduced for students, the ambassadors will play an integral role in helping to shape them and will be given early access before other students. 

“We were overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of applications, which really highlighted the passion and talent of vet students. Interviewing the students was really inspiring for all of us. 

“What was great to see was how many students were motivated to apply because of the experiences they’ve had with EMS in our practices or working in Pets at Home stores. They wanted to use the role and position to be able to let their peers know about us, the opportunities we have, why we’re different and importantly, why that matters. 

“The ambassadors will play an important role in communicating opportunities to their peers; such as graduate and EMS opportunities and available bursaries, and will also make sure the support provided from Vets4Pets and Companion Care to students and universities continues to meet their needs.“ 

David Charles, Association of Veterinary Students (AVS) president and Vets4Pets student ambassador from the University of Bristol, said: “As AVS President, I’ve worked with Vets4Pets on a number of projects before, such as the AVS Clinical EMS Guides, which they helped fund and stock in all of their practices to benefit students; I’ve always admired how prominent and involved they are with students. 

“When I learnt about the ambassador programme, I knew it would be a really good opportunity to get involved with a supportive group like Vets4Pets, and learn something a bit different. 

“I see being an ambassador as a way to support my fellow peers and inform them about the career opportunities and help available with Vets4Pets. As a final year, I know how vital this kind of information is to students. 

“Helping other students is so important to me and a core drive behind all the work AVS does, so if I can do that through this programme it will be amazing. 

“I’m looking forward to finishing my time at university as a Vets4Pets ambassador, no other vet group is currently providing the range of opportunities for students that Vets4Pets are, so it’s great to be a part of something so new and I’m excited to see it develop.” 

The application process for 2019/2020 Vets4Pets Student Ambassador placements will start in March 2019, and Vets4Pets will select a student from every veterinary medicine academic year at each UK university. 

Catriona goes on to say that large veterinary groups have a responsibility within the industry to support the future generations of vets no matter where their future career path takes them and is really pleased to be leading the way at Vets4Pets and Companion Care. 

“We’re looking to continue creating programmes like this so we can help lead professional growth through market-leading initiatives within the industry and play our part in creating resilient, confident veterinary graduates who will play an integral role in the future of our profession.” 

About Vets4Pets and Companion Care Vets 

  • Vets4Pets and Companion Care are part of the Pets At Home Vet Group, operated with their Joint Venture Vet Partners 
  • As at 29th March 2018, The Pets at Home Vet Group operated 461 Vet practices across the UK, including 152 standalone and 309 in-store practices under the Vets4Pets and Companion Care brands 
  • The Pets at Home Vet Group is committed to delivering first class service and high standards of care in their national network of small animal veterinary practices. It achieves this through joint venture partnerships with experienced and ambitious veterinary surgeons 
  • Each Vets4Pets and Companion Care practice offers a comprehensive range of treatments from vaccinations, neutering, general healthcare and advice to the more specialised services of intensive care medicine and surgical procedures 

www.vets4pets.com and www.companioncare.co.uk