The Dick White Academy, part of the eponymous referral centre, is offering 18 places on its inaugural online apprenticeship course for veterinary nursing assistants, to gain a VetSkill Level 2 Certificate in Veterinary Care Support.

The course is open to all veterinary nursing assistants, not just those associated with Dick White Referrals or working within the county. 

During the course, which begins in September, students will work in a virtual classroom for three hours a week with a DWA lecturer leading their studies and guiding their progress.

DWA principal Ali Heywood said: “This apprenticeship is designed for those providing care to animals in a veterinary care environment and combines the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are required to complete the apprenticeship.

“The aim is to provide practical competence and an underpinning of knowledge that’s relevant to the role of a veterinary carer in a modern veterinary practice and it provides a terrific alternative for those students who do not have access to other qualifications.

“This is already a successful course that we moved on-line to support employers and 100 per cent of our apprentices passed with a distinction this year.

“Successful applicants will need to attend online lectures for three hours a week. They will all be led by our team, which is highly-experienced and successful in the delivery of veterinary care training. 

“This online delivery is part of the 20% ‘off the job’ training that must be completed on the course, with the remainder of the apprenticeship based on completion of practical assessments and an e-portfolio.”

Subjects covered on the course will be legislation and safe working practice, animal health and welfare, animal environment and accommodation, introduction to patient care, introduction to animal anatomy and physiology and veterinary care support.

A minimum of 600 hours of veterinary experience is expected for a student to gain the required veterinary care experience and develop the practical competence to successfully achieve the award’s outcomes.

As a result, all students must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week, although part-time options can be considered on a case-by-case basis. An L1 in English and Maths are expected as a minimum, with the expectation that those holding L1 will work towards L2 during the VCS course.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the course or signing up can email Ali at

Photo: Jess A’Court, Dick White Academy’s first L2 apprentice to complete and pass the new L2 apprenticeship standard. 

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