Urgent call for more vets in Wales after a huge shortfall in applicants
There’s an urgent need for more vets in Wales after new figures reveal there has been an 8% increase in the number of veterinary job listings over the past month, adding to a shortage that is impacting all sectors of the industry.
The largest provider of official veterinarians in the UK, Eville & Jones has said is a the lack of qualified vets applying for positions within Wales, which makes up 3.5% of the company’s workforce.
Charles Hartwell, chief executive of Eville & Jones commented: “Since Brexit, like many other industries we have struggled to plug the skills gap of workers following rule changes, and we are seeing that Wales is one of the worst affected areas for this.”
There are around 2,000 vacant roles in the veterinary sector every year but only 900 vets qualify from approved universities – of which there is only one in Wales, Aberystwyth, which won’t produce graduates for a few more years.
Vets from within the EU have usually plugged the shortfall in the UK, but since Brexit, this number has dropped rapidly as new rules set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), requires vets to formally meet a high standard of English at level 7, compared to level 4.1 which is required for a skilled work visa.
Currently there are over 30 vacancies for veterinary roles in Wales with Eville & Jones, including area managers, export veterinarians, certification support officers and meat hygiene inspectors.
Exports is the fastest growing veterinary sector since Brexit as products from the EU now need to be examined closely due to the introduction of export health certificates. This requires an increased level of staff to manage and implement the certification process.
Charles adds: “There will be huge challenges with exporting meat to international partners due to the number of official veterinarians required to sign off inspections if these shortages aren’t remedied soon.
“We are calling for qualified vets to seriously think about applying for a role within veterinary public health in Wales, which arguably provides a greater work life balance than working with companion animals and plays a crucial role in ensuring food production levels can be maintained and checked safely.”
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