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Taste of vet student life for Welsh learners

Secondary school learners interested in a career as a vet have been given a taste of student life as Aberystwyth University hosted its first Veterinary Seren Summer School.

A total of 40 pupils from all over Wales signed up for the four-day programme organised by the University’s Veterinary Education Centre, which opened on Penglais campus in September 2021 as the first vet school in Wales.

Aberystwyth University and the Welsh Government’s Seren programme have teamed up on the project, creating a 4-day free of charge residential Summer School for Welsh learners considering studying veterinary science.

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, added:

“It’s fantastic to see such a high number of Seren learners attending the two summer schools taking place at Aberystwyth University. I’m particularly excited that we are able to support the first Veterinary Science summer school, which includes valuable hands-on experience for our potential Vets of the future.  The Seren programme has worked hard to form partnerships with universities in Wales, UK and overseas to help expand the horizons and raise aspirations among our brightest learners in Wales. Seren’s summer school programmes offer outstanding opportunities for Welsh learners by giving them the experience of university life and super curricular activities in their chosen field of study.”

Expanding Seren partnerships with Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities and aiming to create new pilot activities in subject-specific areas in Welsh universities is part of the Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Designated Member Sian Gwenllian said:

“I am pleased to see the Seren programme being expanded to promote more opportunities for learners to study in Welsh universities and to include new subject areas for the first time, as we see with the Veterinary course at Aberystwyth. Increasing awareness and opportunities to study at Welsh universities will make a difference to learners and to the future of Wales.”

The Veterinary Summer School at Aberystwyth will offer a range of activities including sessions on animal clinical skills and visits to the University’s Trawsgoed farm and equine centre as well as a local veterinary surgery.

Dr Gwenllian Rees, a lecturer in Veterinary Science at Aberystwyth University, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to offer these unique taster sessions to young people from Wales who are interested in pursuing a degree, then a career as a vet.

“Our aim is to allow future vets to experience life as a vet student, with lots of practical sessions with the animals at our excellent farm and equine facilities as well as lectures and anatomy teaching. I wish this had been possible when I was a school pupil in Llanelli, hoping to one day become a vet!”

Wales Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Richard Irvine said:

“It’s great to see the first Seren veterinary summer school taking place at Aberystwyth University – including a free, 4-day residential programme for Veterinary Science.

To have vets of the future being supported through the Welsh Government’s Seren programme is fantastic. Vets have a key role in ensuring animals are healthy and have a good quality of life, and the veterinary profession offers a variety of exciting career opportunities.  It is really important for secondary school learners to be able to gain valuable experience about studying to be a vet, and the opportunities that are then available.”

Aberystwyth University is also holding a four-day summer school from 17-20 July 2023 for 80 pupils from Wales who have just completed their GCSE exams and are interested in the field of arts and social sciences.

Their programme, also funded through the Welsh Government’s Seren programme, includes sessions led by Professor Mererid Hopwood on ‘Y Gymraeg a’r byd mawr crwn’ (the Welsh language and the big wide world); Dr Andrea Hammel on how past refugee experiences can inform the future, and Dr Dylan Marshall on the international politics of climate change.