SRUC set to open new vet school to meet professional demand

Economic Transformation in our Nation

Universities have a strong culture of delivery which aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. We’ve curated a set of 19 stories to show how universities support people, businesses, industries and Scotland’s regions towards economic transformation.

New vet school widens access to the profession and meets the need of industry

Scotland is to get its first new vet school in over 150 years as Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) expands its role in the development of veterinary education and research. This will boost the resilience of the profession and positively impact on animal health and welfare, food quality and the future sustainability of Scotland’s remote communities.

The tertiary vet school will aim to develop vets with a focus on rural and mixed, primary care veterinary practice, leading in the inter-professional training of veterinary teams. This will meet recent changes in the labour market and the increased demand for skilled veterinary professionals. The profession remains on the Home Office’s ‘Shortage Occupation List’ and has a high turnover rate together with large dependency on non-UK, largely EU vets to address shortfalls in priority areas. These areas include; remote and rural practice, veterinary public health, livestock health and welfare.

The SRUC School of Veterinary Medicine will be based in Aberdeen but will have a footprint across Scotland, mirroring the institution’s existing vet services which are based around the country.  The School will use innovative teaching methods and curriculum design to ensure that students are fully prepared to work in the variety of high demand sectors, offering new HND gateway pathways, aimed at those from rural backgrounds who are familiar with the agricultural sector but may not have, or been able to get the required scientific foundations.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Scotland to build new, home-grown, talent pools, and to equip them with the resilience and specialist skills needed to help rural communities thrive.

SRUC has a range of long-established veterinary nursing and animal health and welfare courses which provide learning and skills development pathways from senior phase school through to PhD level. The Veterinary Services team and SAC Consulting colleagues provide work placement and internship opportunities for students.

SRUC provides national veterinary disease surveillance for Scottish Government and collaborates with the Animal and Plant Health Agency in disease surveillance, monitoring of antimicrobial resistance, investigation of new or novel disease outbreaks, animal health planning and promotion of good farm animal welfare practices.

Processing more than a million samples a year, its laboratories and disease surveillance hubs support vets, farmers and pharmaceutical companies with diagnostic testing for farm livestock and companion animals, as well as health schemes, specialist veterinary CPD courses, external quality assessment schemes and livestock health planning.

SRUC’s Premium Cattle Health Scheme has made a significant contribution to reducing the prevalence of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea in Scotland’s breeding herds from 40 per cent to just 10 per cent, saving farmers anything from £2,000 to £14,000 a year.

Key Points:

National Strategy for Economic Transformation theme: Fairer and more equal society and skilled workforce

Institution: Scotland’s Rural College

Location: Aberdeen

  • The new vet school will address skill shortages in the profession, particularly rural veterinary medicine.
  • This builds on SRUC’s research and consultancy services. The Premium Cattle Health Scheme has reduced bovine viral diarrhoea in Scotland’s breeding herds to just 10 per cent, saving farmers up to £14,000 a year.