A MORE holistic approach to veterinary education is needed to tackle workforce issues – according to the British Veterinary Association.

BVA president, Daniella Dos Santos, commented: “We recognise that workforce issues can be addressed, in part, with veterinary undergraduate education policy, however an increase in the number of students into the system should not be viewed as a panacea for all workforce issues."

The organisation has outlined 50 recommendations to help produce a well-respected, inclusive and ‘future-proof’ workforce – and it is calling for additional government funding to increase the unit of resource per student.

Currently, student places are not capped, and funding isn’t calculated per capita, meaning funding does not automatically increase if a new vet school is created or if the intake of students at existing UK schools increases.

The economic reality of training new vets is estimated to cost in excess of £20,000 per year of study and these costs are not met by student tuition fees and government funding.

BVA welcomed the decision by the UK Government to implement post-study work visas for overseas nationals who have graduated from a UK veterinary school, saying that this will help to sustain the domestic workforce and give graduates who are overseas nationals longer to secure lasting employment.

It has also suggested that through better promoting and widening participation schemes, a 'more diverse and wider scope of potential students' from across the UK could be attracted to the profession.

Ms Dos Santos said that in order to support new graduates from education into the workplace, that the profession must work collaboratively with the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS), British Veterinary LGBT+ (BVLGBT+) and RCVS’ Diversity, Equality and Inclusion working group in order to help facilitate inclusivity and equality in both education settings and workplaces.