A new level-five apprenticeship for vet techs, approved by the government’s Agricultural and Environment Apprentice Board, has been launched.

The qualification will establish a standard skill level for all vet techs employed by UK veterinary practices, assuring farm customers that vet techs are fully trained to carry out on-farm health related tasks. Vet Techs are employed by farm veterinary practices to support farmers and vets with on-farm health related tasks such as vaccinations, transition checks and mobility scoring.

Harper Adams University is currently finalising its apprenticeship offer with a view to launching in autumn 2021. Reaseheath College and The College of Animal Health and Welfare are also set to offer the qualification.

Several veterinary practices have collaborated to launch the qualification, including VetPartners, XL Vets and independent farm veterinary practices. VetPartners’ Natalie Parker, head vet tech at LLM Farm Vets, explains how the qualification can be achieved: “Due to the practical nature of the job, the apprenticeship is ideal as it is designed for people who are already employed by a vet practice as a vet tech and it will also help a vet practice thinking of setting up a Vet Tech service with full training.

“The new standard will enable a career as a vet tech to be seen as a profession with a career path, and by making training opportunities available, it should contribute to the roll-out of vet tech services at more farm practices. In turn, this can contribute to the improvement of animal health standards on UK farms, as tasks like vaccine administration can increasingly be carried out by trained animal health professionals, who have the protocol put in place by a vet and the equipment to store medications at the correct temperature.”

Jon Reader from Synergy Farm Health, and part of the XLVets Vet Tech working group, adds that employing vet techs as part of a vet-led team is an integral part of the package offered to farmers. “Farmers recognise the huge value that a skilled Vet Tech brings to their daily management by providing a trained person with the correct equipment, training and back up. The apprenticeship helps farmers and vets alike, to ensure the health standards on our farms are second to none and never compromised,” he says.