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Alexandra Weatherley

"You couldn’t ask for a better range of facilities right on campus"

I am a… trainee veterinary surgeon

Graduating with a degree in Bioveterinary Science will not qualify you to work as a veterinary surgeon but there are opportunities to work alongside vets and other scientists in the veterinary pharmaceutical companies that produce animal health products as well as in the animal nutrition or biotechnology industries, and in research.

However, some graduates, like Alexandra Weatherley, do go on to study at veterinary school to eventually qualify as a veterinary surgeon.

Alix graduated in 2012 with a BSc Bioveterinary Science degree and is now studying a five-year undergraduate degree in Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool. 

The 23-year-old, from Cirencester, is hoping to specialise in farm animal and equine medicine. Working with farm animals is something she gained lots of experience in whilst at Harper Adams, making the most of our on-campus working farm. “There are also a great range of modules on the Bioveterinary Science degree and the opportunities to elect modules in your final year, allowing me to look into equine science, a field I would really like to go in to.”

“There was also a wide range of practicals, from studying animal nutrition in the labs to plenty of dissections looking into animal anatomy. We also got to spend a lot of time on the farm and in the companion animal house. I really enjoyed spending time on the dairy farm especially with the calves. You couldn’t ask for a better range of facilities right on campus, from looking into animal nutrition in the laboratories to cuddling rabbits at the companion animal house, as well as hands on experience on the farms.”

Alix adds: “My placement year working with the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) really enhanced my employability. I worked on the farms assisting with daily animal care, as well as getting to assist alongside the vets and researchers. I really enjoyed getting to assist in pig farrowing and caring for orphan piglets. I also worked on my dissertation with the pathology department on a project looking into Classical Swine Fever. This was a valuable experience that opened up the many opportunities there are after graduation in animal medicines and research.”

“The work placement year definitely helped me get into my second degree in Veterinary Science as it gave me so much animal handling experience and I got to see the role of a vet in animal research. I also got the opportunity to look into a lot of the current topical diseases affecting animal production which came up as one of my interview questions!

“The animal handling at Harper Adams also helped me get onto my Veterinary Science degree at Liverpool. Studying modules such as Animal Disease Science and having an interest in Farm Animal Medicine and pathology defiantly gave me an edge at interview!”

Looking back on her four years at Harper Adams Alix adds: “They really live up to their motto ‘work hard, play hard’. The university provides a great community atmosphere, with a wide range of sporting and social opportunities, as well as captivating modules taught by knowledgeable and refreshing lecturers.

Alix has this advice for young people interested in following a similar path: “Study hard and get as much animal experience as you can…. it will be worth it.”

To find out more about what veterinary surgeons visit Prospects, the UK’s official graduate careers website.

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