Raising Awareness for Vet Nurse Apprenticeship Training

Here we speak with Apprenticeship Advisor Rebecca (Beki) Reynolds about the Pets at Home Vet Group’s new Nurse Academy, which supports Joint Venture Partners with vet nurse apprenticeship training.

What is the Nurse Academy?

The Nurse Academy is an industry-leading resource designed to support our Joint Venture Partners (JVPs) in developing their own vet nurses by investing in training within their practice and promoting training opportunities to all colleagues within the Pets at Home Vet Group. It provides information about 24 colleges that offer vet nurse apprenticeship training, along with costings and course delivery information. It gives clear direction on how to enrol with each college and has been designed to ensure a smooth transition along the apprenticeship pathway for both JVPs and colleagues alike.

Ultimately, it covers all the key questions around apprenticeship training and explains how the new Vet Nurse Apprenticeship Standard, which came into play at the end of August 2018, adds breadth and depth to vet nurse training.

Why did the Vet Group develop this resource?

We are passionate about supporting our colleagues to progress within the business. The Nurse Academy has been developed as a resource to support JVPs looking to recruit new nurses and for existing colleagues who have the aspiration and talent to become a qualified vet nurse. We understand that locating the correct college, recruiting an apprentice and enrolling them on the course can be time consuming, and this resource will help to make the process easier by providing all of the necessary information in one place. This will, in the long run, help JVPs develop a rolling training plan and add value and talent to the practice team.

We also wanted our JVPs to understand that the Government apprenticeship reforms in April 2017* have made employing an apprentice so much easier and has opened up a greater pool of talent from which they could benefit. Many of our practices have already invested in veterinary nurse training, however, the Government apprenticeship reforms will make this opportunity much more inviting.

For our practices, the reforms are making training our vet nurses a really cost-effective option. It is allowing JVPs to invest in both new and existing colleagues. With the introduction of the new Vet Nurse Apprenticeship Standard, it is allowing them to address their recruitment needs and training in a cost-effective manner.

What is the new Standard and how does it differ from the old framework?

Historically, apprenticeships have been designed by training providers and described as frameworks. As part of the Government Apprenticeship Reforms, apprenticeships have been restructured to reflect more accurate job-related skills. This has been completed by Trailblazer groups, which are comprised of industry experts, and has resulted in the new apprenticeships, known as Standards, to be more robust and relevant. The Standards now comprise of a set of requirements known as knowledge, skills and behaviours, and these have to be demonstrated at assessment to ensure the apprentice is fully competent.  

For vet nurses, they will be assessed throughout the course against the knowledge, skills and behaviours through a combination of online assessments and evidence recorded in their Nurse Progress Log. On completion of the apprenticeship, they will undertake their OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) and a professional discussion to demonstrate their competence.

If you would like to know more about vet nurse apprenticeship opportunities with the Pets at Home Vet Group, email: apprenticeships@vets4pets.com

*In April 2017 the Government introduced the Apprentice Reforms, which has changed the way that apprenticeships are funded and the eligibility criteria. Age and former qualification restrictions have been removed, dispelling the stigma around apprenticeships and opening up apprenticeship opportunities to a greater talent pool for employers. Funding is accessed through the Apprenticeship Levy with large employers with a pay roll of more than £3 million contributing to the Apprenticeship Levy Fund and small employers benefitting from it by paying just 10% of any apprenticeship training; the Government funds the remaining 90%. Apprenticeship frameworks have been replaced with Apprenticeship Standards, which have been developed by industry experts to ensure that the qualification is both relevant and robust and consists of demonstrably knowledge, skills and behaviours.

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