No matter what the industry, work experience abroad can be a great asset to your career. The UK boasts the sixth-largest economy in the world, making it a great place to work for ambitious graduates. It has many international communities and, at the end of December 2019 there were around 5.8 million non-British nationals employed here. With the country’s diverse job sectors, enviable working conditions and many job opportunities, it’s a very popular destination for international graduates wanting to kickstart their careers through securing new graduate vet jobs.
Veterinary roles in the UK
- General practice is the most obvious veterinary job to choose but not necessarily the right path for you. Careers in a private practice can be organised according to the types of animals one may wish to specialise in treating – for example, pet, farm animals, equine or zoo.
- Vets are very important within private industry. They play vital roles in food production (Official Veterinarians ensure the welfare of animals used), pharmaceuticals and biomedical research.
- The UK is reliant on large numbers of vets from EU nations in the public health sector. Export Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors safeguard food and hygiene within the European community, focusing on preventing the transmission of animal diseases to humans.
- Veterinary graduates can work for organisations such as the British Veterinary Association (BVA), representing the profession and engaging in important policy work that shapes its future. They can also teach veterinary science to others.
- In addition, The Royal Army Veterinary Corps, which is heavily involved in the procurement, training and maintenance of military working dogs and military working horses, always needs top-notch qualified vets.
Tips for finding a new graduate vet job in the UK
It is essential that you understand your ambitions and your long-term career plan. You must decide what is most important to you in your first job – for example, are its other benefits more valuable than initial salary? And is further experience and education required for career progression? For example, a demonstrable track record in Meat Hygiene Inspection is needed if you want to become an Official Veterinarian.
You can apply for most new graduate vet jobs online by sending a short CV and cover letter. Where possible, CVs should be no longer than two sides of A4 and letters no more than one side. Every job is different so you should approach each application as a standalone project – and tailor your CV to the specific vet role – while always demonstrating your passion for veterinary medicine.
Make the most of the resources available at your university; talk to the careers advisor, who will be able to advise on your CV, where to look for veterinary jobs and interview preparation. Also, take time to understand the different aspects of employment as a vet – financial pressures, job expectations and legal rights.
It is worthwhile researching potential employers and industries by checking their websites and reading through recent blog posts, news and press releases. Perhaps a big new client or partnership has been announced or demand for qualified vets appears to be increasing in the industry. While these would clearly be positive signs, mentioning such things or asking questions about them during an interview will also demonstrate that you have done your research and have a genuine interest in the veterinary medicine, the sector, working for the organisation, etc.
It is advisable to apply for most veterinary job openings from your home country, then make the move to the UK only when you have secured a position. Employers such as Eville & Jones will help you with many aspects of relocating here once a job offer has been accepted – including registering with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and opening a UK bank account. Whatever role you choose within veterinary medicine, it is compulsory to be registered with the RCVS —the profession’s regulator – before you can practise in the UK.
Do not become disheartened if you fail to land what you thought was your dream vet job. There are so many opportunities available and often you have to acquire experience before you can make progress. If you are unsuccessful in an application, never be afraid to ask for feedback as this will be invaluable for your next one. Do not get despondent; persevere and you will soon be on your way to the UK to launch your veterinary career.