Village Vets Bring ‘Real World’ Job Scenarios into the Classroom

Village Vets, Ireland’s largest private employer of vets and nurses, put final year veterinary students through their paces on Tuesday with a series of mock interviews designed to help them secure employment upon graduation.

According to Assistant Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing Gillian Coughlan, the orchestrating of mock interviews with an employer of such stature will help to prepare students for ‘real world’ scenarios without the pressure of an actual job riding on the interview outcome.

“We have a duty of care to prepare our students for life after graduation and that includes helping them hone their interview skills. Mock interviews are a fantastic way of doing just that in that they enable students to formulate smart answers and figure where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Once they know, they can play to their strengths and take corrective action where necessary,” she said.

This forward-thinking, practical approach to education, in tandem with a commitment to academic excellence, is exactly why Athlone Institute of Technology was named the Sunday Times Good University Guide ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ in 2018.

With a reputation for being finely attuned to the rapidly evolving needs of industry, AIT uses the close relationships it has cultivated across a range of sectors to inform course offerings and create placement opportunities for students. Typifying this, the BSc in Veterinary Nursing’s clinical staff have worked in-step with industry since the programme’s inception.

“The programme’s structure and content has been written and moulded with the input and collegiality of clinical practitioner stakeholders, and with the benchmarks and competencies set out by the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI), the latter of which acts as a guide to what industry demands of veterinary nurses,” Ms Coughlan said.

The cultivation of this symbiotic relationship ensures that AIT graduates are work-ready, highly skilled and experienced, making them a highly attractive and sought-after prospect. As a result, AIT graduates enjoy a 93% employability rate six months after graduation.

Employment opportunities for veterinary nursing graduates are plentiful both at home and abroad, with many students finding gainful employment with one of the clinics they have been on placement with. “This is a testament to the standard of student we are sending out on placement and indicative of industry’s view of work placement as a gateway for identifying and recruiting talent,” Ms Coughlan added.

Modern and progressive practices, like Village Vets, offer particularly good employment opportunities for ambitious veterinary nurses who wish to work in a state-of-the-art facility.

Commenting on the quality of the students interviewed by Village Vets during the interview prep sessions, Managing Director, Charles Cosgrove said: “The calibre of the students was superb and really quite inspirational. Their passion for their course and the industry more generally is infectious. They are a credit to themselves and their lecturers.

“I would be delighted to work with any one of them again as part of the Village Vets team. We look forward to our continued involvement with this programme and with Athlone Institute of Technology.”

Aside from working in a clinical practice as a veterinary nurse, graduates can also pursue careers in pharmaceutical or food sales, practice management and laboratory work, while graduates wishing to continue their studies are eligible to progress to the BSc (Hons) in Applied Bioscience.

Athlone Institute of Technology is one of only five colleges nationally to offer degrees in veterinary science nursing. The others include UCD, DKIT, LYIT and St John’s College in Cork.

Athlone Institute of Technology is a modern and dynamic HEI distinguished by outstanding learner experience, international focus and applied research and innovation. Awarded Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year in 2018, AIT is ranked 8th nationally of all HEIs in the league table comprising of Irish Universities and IoT’s. Athlone Institute of Technology boasts a wide array of courses in the Faculties of Engineering and Informatics, Business and Hospitality, and Science and Health. For the full list of courses on offer at Athlone Institute of Technology click here.

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