RCVS News: New School Ambassador scheme launched to inspire the next generation of veterinary nurses

Yesterday (5 May) the VN Futures Project launched its VN Futures School Ambassadors Scheme, an initiative that aims to inspire children to choose a career in veterinary nursing and raise awareness of the veterinary nurse role.

The VN Futures School Ambassadors Scheme provides resources and support for registered and student vet nurse volunteers, to enable them to deliver careers information on veterinary nursing to children between the ages of nine to 16. The talks can be tailored by the volunteer, with suggested topics including the wide range of work that veterinary nurses do, how to become a veterinary nurse, and real-life scenarios that occur in practice. Today’s launch of the scheme follows the work of the School Ambassadors Development Group, where volunteer VN Futures School Ambassadors developed resources and carried out talks in classrooms, at careers fairs and virtually.

From today, anyone who is a Registered Veterinary Nurse, or is in their final year of study as a student veterinary nurse, can apply to become a VN Futures School Ambassador. The VN Futures School Ambassadors Scheme has partnered with STEM Learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) which provides online induction training and a DBS check for applicants, plus membership of the STEM community and access to the many resources that STEM offer. Ambassadors will also sign up for an account to access the VN Futures School Ambassadors website, which has a range of veterinary nursing-specific resources to download including ideas for approaches to school talks, interactive worksheets and colourful careers guides.

Jill Macdonald, RCVS VN Futures Lead, said: “Like so many VNs, I didn’t learn about a veterinary nursing career until I had left school. Many children are passionate about animal welfare, and we hope that hearing a talk from an enthusiastic veterinary nurse will inspire children to consider a career in veterinary nursing. We want to talk to as many budding VNs as possible to help them learn about how valuable and rewarding a veterinary nursing career can be.

“From our experience of running the ambassadors development scheme, we know how enjoyable the volunteers found their role. The scheme has been designed so that while it is an autonomous role, volunteers are able to access support at every stage should they need it. We’ve created a suite of resources that will help VN Futures School Ambassadors to run their sessions and we are open to hearing ideas about what else people need from us to help them to carry out their volunteer role. We’d also like ambassadors to share any ideas which have worked for them, so that we can continue to develop the breadth of resources available.

“If you are passionate about raising the profile of the amazing work that VNs do and want to inspire the next generations of VNs, then please do get in touch about volunteering for the scheme.”

Racheal Marshall, VN School Ambassador, said: “Through my ambassador role, I’ve delivered several online sessions and it’s been a great experience to meet children of all ages and talk to them about what VNs actually do. Many of the children I speak to are really interested in animal welfare and may become the VNs of the future. Being a VN School Ambassador allows me to talk to them about how they can turn their passion for looking after animals into a career. My ambition as an ambassador is to help increase the diversity of the profession by speaking to children who may not have considered vet nursing as a career option. 

 “Personally, I enjoy how flexible the scheme is and how I can fit volunteering around my other priorities. I took a break from giving talks while I was on maternity leave and I know that when I start volunteering again, I’ll be supported by the VN Futures team. The scheme’s resources and other volunteers have been incredibly helpful when I have had questions about running a session, so definitely contact the VN Futures Project if you are at all curious about becoming an ambassador.”

Anyone who wants to find out more and sign up for the VN Futures School Ambassadors Scheme can do so on the scheme’s webpage www.vnfutures.org.uk/our-activities/school-ambassadors-scheme/  or email Jill at j.macdonald@rcvs.org.uk

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