Kieron Salmon (Chair of National Council)
My involvement with VETNET LLN began 4 years ago. I had recently been appointed Director of Admissions at Liverpool Vet School, and our Vice Chancellor had just launched a ‘Widening Participation’ strategy, so I was invited to attend a regional meeting. What struck me most was the networking and collaboration enthusiasm between FE and HE providers. Over the next 3 years, under the HEFCE funding umbrella this networking and collaboration grew from strength to strength and resulted in numerous excellent resources.
At the end of the 3-year HEFCE funding period there was slight trepidation as to what would happen with VETNET LLN and all the good work it had done. It was decided to transform it into an association, funded by its members. A national council that consisted of an FE and HE representative from each of the UK regions would run this association. I was elected as the North West representative and at the first national council, elected as chair. I’m thoroughly supportive of the VETNET LLN cause, and more than happy to help steer it through its transition year.
After a very successful annual conference I am pleased and honoured to report that the association has continued gaining strength, and this is all down to the continued enthusiasm and support from its members. I hope you will find something here to entice you to join the association, and I look forward to working with you in promoting vocational learners into veterinary and animal-related professions.
Steve Leonard, BVSc, MRCVS (Honorary President)
"I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to work in the veterinary profession. My passion for animal welfare and the natural world has been the driving force behind my career choices. I also understand that I was fortunate to thrive in the traditional academic system allowing me to follow the usual pathway from school, to university and beyond. However over the years I have met many similar passionate people who have struggled to break into careers working with animals despite demonstrating the clear ability and commitment that such jobs require. VETNET LLN provides a framework for those students who possess the vocational ambition for work in this sector to find the route that suits them to achieve their goals."
Paul Probyn (Honorary Secretary)
Paul Probyn is Head of Academic Development at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), which is part of the University of London and the UK’s only stand-alone veterinary school. Together with Jon Parry, the RVC’s Head of Widening Participation and Community Engagement, Paul conceived the original proposal to establish a national lifelong learning network in the veterinary and related professions, and successfully bid to HEFCE for funding to turn this ambition into reality. VETNET LLN was a logical extension of the RVC’s widening participation mission, which had already resulted in the creation of the pan-London AimHigher partnership in Health-related Professions, led by the RVC.
Paul is now a co-opted member of the VETNET LLN Association National Council, working closely with the Association’s officers and the National Office to help ensure that VETNET LLN continues to make the successful transition from HEFCE-funded project to subscription-based association. Prior to joining the RVC in 1995, Paul worked at Queen Mary, the University of Westminster, Kuwait University, and Birmingham City University.
Claire Whitworth (Central Region Representative on VETNET LLN National Council)
Claire Whitworth is Head of the Landbased Faculty at Moulton College, Northamptonshire. The College has been designated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for Landbased Education and, from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), has been awarded their highest grade of ‘confidence’ for the standards and quality of the Higher Education provision offered.
Claire is responsible for the performance of the Landbased Faculty which includes strategic curriculum development for the Animal Welfare and Management, Agriculture and Horticulture subject areas of the College. As such her remit therefore aligns effectively with membership of the VETNET LLN Central Region Committee, as a result of which the College has implemented a number of projects to enhance the Landbased curriculum at Moulton College for students studying animal management programmes. In addition engagement with VETNET LLN has instigated provision of Progression Agreements between Moulton College and other FE Colleges within the region thus maximising progression opportunities for students studying programmes in animal management and allied industries.
Using the project funding provided by VETNET LLN, the College has also provided students from other institutions with the opportunity to attend an annual Animal Therapy Careers Conference. The use of reputable industry leaders in this field, coupled with the College’s extensive equine and canine hydrotherapy facilities proved popular and informative for all, aligning superbly with the VETNET LLN mission.
More recently as a result of activity with VETNET LLN, Moulton College has introduced a Science Stream to their level 3 Animal Management provision, selecting modules approved by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) resulting in the establishment of a Progression Agreement between the institutions, providing a progression route for vocational students to study Veterinary Medicine.
Claire has been a Regional Representative for FE colleges on the VETNET LLN Governing Council since its formation and more recently is the Central Region Representative on the VETNET LLN Association National Council.