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Wednesday, 24 November 2021 10:55

Vet scheme wins praise

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Julie South, VetStaff Julie South, VetStaff

A Government scheme to place 34 graduate vets in rural areas is winning praise from one recruitment agency.

Julie South of VetStaff says it's a great initiative.

"I know of quite a few vets who've worked in the rural sector because of this scheme," she told Dairy News.

"It helps make a difference to paying off their student loan."

The graduate vets are being placed in rural areas, from Kaitaia in the Far North to Gore in Southland, through the Government's Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians (VBS).

The successful recipients will each receive funding of $55,000 over five years, in a bid to help ease the shortage of veterinarians working with production animals in our regions.

Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor says it's well known that there's a real need for vets, especially in rural areas.

"Since it began 12 years ago, the VBS has made a big difference in attracting and retaining graduate vets to rural communities that can be challenging to recruit staff to.

"The graduate vets start their career working predominantly with production animals, such as cows, sheep and pigs, which are essential in our primary industries.

"This scheme supports New Zealand to maintain our world-class standards in biosecurity, animal welfare and food safety.

"Through this funding, we aim to ensure we have the best care for production animals and working dogs across the country."

The programme is delivered by the Ministry for Primary Industries and since its inception in 2009 has supported 384 graduate vets to start their careers working with production animals in rural practice.

Julie South says some of the rural farming 'clubs' also have their own private scheme to help attract vets who are ineligible for the government scheme.

"One recent mixed animal vet I placed into a permanent country position earlier this year was super impressed that the clinic she was going to was prepared to invest in its team in this way.

"She qualified for the MPI scheme, but it made a difference to how she viewed her future employer."

South questioned whether MPI could extend this to attract overseas-qualified vets who are eligible for NZ registration to help fill rural vacancies.

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