The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has expanded its support package for veterinary professionals with refugee status to include access to training resources including continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities, and free membership to a range of veterinary associations.
In 2020, the RCVS created a scheme in partnership with The Refugee Council to provide financial support for UK-based vets with refugee status to enable them to take the RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership for free. The RCVS recognised that more could be done to help vets with refugee status to prepare for their exams, learn about the profession and make connections within the veterinary community.
The RCVS has created a ‘welcome pack’ for refugee veterinary professionals, which, on top of the Statutory Examination for Membership financial support, also includes free access to the RCVS Knowledge library resources and financial support for travel and accommodation to help them attend examinations.
As part of the package, the RCVS has collaborated with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), British Veterinary Association (BVA), British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) and Veterinary Management Group (VMG) who have all agreed to provide free membership to veterinary professionals with refugee status. The association memberships come with a variety of benefits including training resources, mentoring and access to the latest research and sector news, which will help vets learn about the UK veterinary profession and prepare for their exams.
Mandisa Greene, RCVS Senior Vice-President, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to provide this package of support for veterinary surgeons with refugee status. Although we put in place financial support for the Statutory Examination for Membership last year, we felt there was much more that we wanted to and could offer. It’s particularly heart-warming to have put this package of support together in partnership with the wider veterinary community, and we want to thank each membership organisation who has offered free membership.
“We know that making connections with other veterinary professionals can be crucial for establishing a support network and finding a job, so having the opportunity to join a range of membership organisations for free is a really important part of this package. We hope that the ‘welcome pack’ we’ve put together will help veterinarians who have resettled in the UK to pass their exams, find a job they enjoy and allow them to continue to contribute to animal health and welfare in their new home.”
Chris Gush, RCVS Knowledge Executive Director, said: “RCVS Knowledge has been offering free support and library access to veterinary professionals with refugee status studying in the UK for years, and we are extremely pleased to be continuing to do and collaborate with RCVS in delivering an integrated package. We hope this new support further helps individuals to access the material needed to prepare for their exams and become an important part of the veterinary workforce.”
Sheldon Middleton, BSAVA President, said: “BSAVA recognise the challenging situation refugee vets find themselves in and we are pleased to offer our support, amongst other ways, in the form of complimentary membership. As is the case for all our members, this will give access to the BSAVA community and network of veterinary professionals as well as our wide range of practical support and learning opportunities to smooth their transition into their professional lives in the UK.”
Nikki Hopkins, BCVA President, said: “We understand that the process of refugee resettlement can present significant challenges and upheaval and it is important that our profession supports our international colleagues who find themselves in this sad situation. BCVA welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this initiative with free membership and access to our resources, it’s the least we can do to show support and empower those looking to rebuild their lives and veterinary careers here with us.”
Richard Casey, VMG President, said: “It’s great to see the veterinary profession coming together in this way to support veterinary surgeons with refugee status in rebuilding their lives and careers. We are delighted to support the RCVS in the creation of its refugee support package and hope that it will go some way to making the lives of refugee vets a little easier when they arrive in the UK.”
Justine Shotton, BVA President, said: “We’re delighted to offer all of the benefits of free BVA membership to vets undertaking the asylum seeker visa application. We hope that becoming part of our community helps them to feel confident and empowered as they join the UK veterinary workforce. We look forward to welcoming these new members to the BVA community and to supporting them as they embark on the next stage of their working lives.”