As well as supporting the RVC's animal hospitals, the Animal Care Trust also supports different educational projects happening around the College.
The RVC is passionate about promoting the importance of farming and also ensuring our courses and higher education in general are accessible to young people of all backgrounds. With this in mind the Animal Care Trust has supported the set-up of a Farm Outreach Project to facilitate safe and supervised access to the RVC farm to benefit a wide range of people from the local community and all over the UK.
This project provides farm-based learning opportunities for primary and secondary school students and fits with the national curriculum by helping young people engage with farming and the countryside through school visits to the RVC farm. This is achieved through specially designed activities to improve student knowledge of food production, nature and nutrition. Food production and animals feature throughout the national curriculum and our programme of farm-based activities compliment this. This provides teachers with a practical way to motivate students to take an interest in this topic.
Research has shown that many young people do not have much knowledge about where their food comes from, and that many do not have regular access to the countryside. The RVC's Farm outreach sessions aimed to encourage young people to take an interest in food production, farming and the countryside in general through fun, interactive and educational sessions held at our farm.
RVC students study for a minimum of five years at the College, with most of their time taken up with studying and work placements to gain the knowledge, experience and skills they need to become practising vets. Vet students have a huge amount to learn, as unlike human medicine they have to learn how to care for multiple species. Therefore most of our students don’t have time to take on part-time work on top of their studies, and this can sometimes lead to them facing financial hardship.
All students undertaking courses at the Royal Veterinary College must undertake compulsory placements in order to complete their course. This work experience is extremely important for their development and enables them to gain experience working before they complete their courses. In addition to their compulsory placements, students are required to undertake a placement of their choice. These placements are an excellent opportunity for students to gain additional experience in areas they are particularly passionate about. Unfortunately some students really struggle to cover the costs of these placements, whether paying for travel, accommodation or the cost of undertaking the placement.
The RVC Student Hardship Fund helps students with general living costs such as rent, travel and food when they find themselves facing financial difficulties during their course. The Animal Care Trust supports this to help ensure money difficulties are not a barrier to bright and talented students accessing a veterinary education.
"The hardship fund has helped to fulfil an unexpected shortfall in my finances, which has allowed me more time to spend on my course and therefore maximise my learning, as opposed to working to recuperate some of the money from the lost funds. It enabled me to have money available to pay rent until the next student finance payment, which meant I could fully focus on my studies."
BVetMed Intercalating on BSc Comparative Pathology, UK