Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has unveiled plans to establish a new vet school in Aberdeen, with the first students starting in two to three years time.
SRUC says the school would help solve skills shortages in rural veterinary practice, food production, food safety and animal and public health across Scotland and provide access for potential students who would not otherwise be able to attend a vet school.
Courses would be offered in vet medicine ranging from Higher National Diploma to postgraduate degree level , and a report from BiGGAR Economics has estimated the school could add £26 million and 238 jobs to Scotland by 2030, including 178 jobs in Aberdeen city and shire.
However, establishing the school is dependant on SRUC gaining degree-awarding powers. SRUC says that submission is already under way and scrutiny is expected to begin in the coming months.
A working group under the chairmanship of former Dundee University principal, Professor Sir Pete Downes will be established to progress plans. The group will include Scotland’s chief vet, Sheila Voas and former NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller.
SRUC principal Professor Wayne Powell said the college was an ambitious institution with a bold vision for the future, and the vet school would build on the new facilities already announced for Aberdeen and Inverness.
“We see a key role of the new vet school in sustaining primary agriculture and hence food and drink productivity, with the welfare of both livestock and companion animals at its heart,” he said.
“The school will produce champions for best-in-class animal welfare in support of these industries, which will help improve productivity, effectiveness, and sustainability.”
Linda Prescott-Clements, director of education at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), said: “The RCVS looks forward to working with the team at SRUC as it moves towards meeting our accreditation standards, so that its future graduates can join the UK veterinary profession.”
Professor Caroline Argo, currently Dean of SRUC’s North faculty, will lead the project.
SRUC is already the biggest provider of veterinary nursing, livestock husbandry and animal care training in Scotland, and has a national network of veterinary hubs and consulting offices.