Training Opportunities

Training at Animal Health Trust

We work alongside a number of universities and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to provide quality training and courses to individuals internally and externally.

We have a number of professionals on site, who are always on hand to support their colleagues. Many of our employees are recognised in their specialism for the fantastic work they have carried out. They have published well known papers and articles to promote their work at the Animal Health Trust.

In addition to formal programmes, we encourage all our staff to develop themselves and actively share our knowledge externally with other organisations and learning establishments. We also aim to develop our staff in their current role and for their future personal development.

Postgraduate Studentships at the AHT –  passion for research

The Animal Health Trust provides an excellent training environment for scientists at different stages of their careers from undergraduate projects through to higher degrees. Current graduate students are undertaking research to gain higher degrees in a diverse range of disciplines including Equine Orthopaedics, Infectious Diseases – specifically Bacteriology and Virology – and investigating canine inherited eye diseases.

Students based at the AHT are registered at various academic institutions including the Royal Veterinary College, the Universities of, Cambridge, London, Nottingham, and Liverpool.

The AHT is also a University Partner Institution of the University of Cambridge, and with other local research institutes (such as the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the Babraham Institute), participates in the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) led by Cambridge University.

DTPs provide a four year PhD training in research areas relevant to the strategic priority areas of the BBSRC. They provide a breadth of professional development and training opportunities to enhance students’ capability and develop the world-class, highly skilled workforce the UK needs for its future.

Students at AHT have a supervisor based at the AHT to provide day to day guidance with a second supervisor based at the registering university to provide an essential link to the university. All students are encouraged to attend courses and events at their registering university and are able to benefit from the close proximity to clinicians active in the leading small animal and equine referral clinics based at the AHT as well as the expertise of their respective university organisation.

Studentships at the AHT are supported through grant funding and therefore vacancies may arise throughout the year. If you are interested in pursuing a higher degree in research at the AHT, please review the current vacancies section on our website to find the latest opportunities.

Please contact Caroline Reynolds for more information:

A number of PhDs have recently been awarded to students based at the Animal Health Trust in the following areas:

  • Development of novel vaccination approaches for African Horse Sickness.
  • Fell Pony Syndrome: Understanding the genetic defect and its impact on the immune system.
  • The functional and immunological consequences of Se M variation in the pathogenesis of Strangles.
  • Laminitis in the new millennium: frequency, risk factors and assessing a new potential therapy.
  • Descriptive epidemiology and risk factors for lameness and orthopaedic injuries resulting in eliminations from elite endurance rides.
  • Molecular characterisation of Canine Progressive Renal Atrophies in various dog breeds and their application as models for human retinal degenerations.
  • Molecular techniques for the investigation of inherited canine neurological diseases.
  • Association of MCM7 score with prognosis in intermediate grade mast cell tumours.
  • Comparative genomic analysis of Streptococcus zooepidemicus and Streptococcus equi.
  • An optimal breeding scheme for guide dogs for the blind.

Residencies at the AHT

Most of the disciplines within the Small Animal Clinic at the Animal Health Trust offer residency training positions. These are designed for highly motivated graduates who have already gained some good clinical experience but want to go on to specialise in a particular discipline.

Most of these residencies are of three-year duration, and we aim to have our residency positions approved by the relevant European veterinary specialist college so that they are eligible to sit their European diplomas at the end of their residency and therefore eligible to become recognised European Specialists in their field. In addition to developing clinical skills and knowledge through working alongside other specialists, residents are generally required (as part of their programme) to undertake additional studies and participate in clinical research projects. Such studies contribute to our knowledge of small animal diseases and are usually expected to result in the publication of scientific papers.

Residents are also expected to contribute to regular clinical rounds and to internal and external seminars and Continuing Professional Development courses run by the AHT and other organisations.

Training scholarships / Internship at the AHT

One of the important functions of the Animal Health Trust is to provide post-graduate training opportunities for veterinarians. This is an important and exciting aspect of our work whereby we contribute to the education and training of specialist veterinary surgeons of the future. Who we hope will continue to lead the way in development of veterinary science and animal welfare.

Small Animal Clinic:

The Small Animal Clinic currently offers a number of internship possibilities; each position is available for a 12 month period. Each year we have a group of six interns who rotate through the different disciplines at the AHT gaining experience in the different aspect of the work here. The interns also participate in an out of hours rota, to help care for the inpatients and emergency admissions under supervision of a senior veterinary surgeon. In addition to the rotating interns, we also have some intern positions that are dedicated to specific disciplines such as neurology or ophthalmology.

The internship programme is designed for newly graduated veterinarians who wish to gain further experience in a high-quality referral hospital working alongside specialists in many different fields. The internship programme at the AHT is very successful and a high proportion of our interns progress on to residencies within academic institutes.

We also run internship programmes in some specialised disciplines.

Equine Clinic:

The aim of the Equine internship is much the same as the Small Animal internship it is a scheme suitable for recent graduates. Our intention is for all the interns to leave with a broad understanding of Equine veterinary medicine, lameness and poor performance. Allowing them to develop foundations for a strong career in this field, interns will be given the knowledge needed to progress onto a residency programme.

The Equine interns are encouraged to learn through hands on daily involvement, weekly seminars and other Continued Professional Development (CPD). Interns will be enrolled with the Royal Veterinary College at the Animal Health Trust’s cost with a view to completing your certificate at a later date.

The Equine interns are recruited in February of each year. We take on two applicants one to start in August and the other to start in December, all interns are expected to hand over to the following intern before they leave the Trust.

If you are interested in an internship at the Trust, please check our current vacancies.

Veterinary Nurse Training at the AHT

The Small Animal Referral Centre is an approved veterinary nurse training practice.  In order to become a veterinary nurse a candidate must hold 5 GCSEs between A-C and they must include English, Mathematics and Science. Comparable qualifications are also accepted. Candidates also need to secure paid full time or part time employment in an approved training practice. Full time college students need to secure paid or un-paid placements in an approved training centre. The student must undertake formal teaching at an approved college either on day release, block release or full time. Students may also enter the profession via the degree route, for further information look at or

We pride ourselves in providing high quality training for our student nurses. Our trainees feel that everything that is in the VN syllabus is experienced on a daily basis here, so by the time their exams arrive they have seen and practiced every nursing technique and used all of the equipment described in the syllabus. We try to mould our student nurses into all-round professionals. Our student nurses benefit from the supervision of clinicians who are RCVS or European recognised specialists.  Once a student nurse joins us and starts a formal college course the college enrols  them with the RCVS as a registered student nurse. The student then has to complete an online nursing progress log (NPL), various college assignments and tests and RCVS external written and practical exams.

Once qualified the nurse is then entitled to use the post nominal letters of RVN (Registered Veterinary Nurse). Following qualification nurses can undertake the advanced diploma, a top-up nursing degree course or a wide range of other related qualifications for our industry. RVNs must undertake 45 hrs of documented continued professional development (CPD) every 3 years. Listed below is an outline of the NPL subject’s nurses study and subsequently are examined in.

  • Section 1 – Legislation affecting practice
  • Section 2 – Communication
  • Section 3 – Handling and restraint
  • Section 4 – Nursing Care
  • Section 5 – Laboratory techniques
  • Section 6 – Diagnostic imaging
  • Section 7 – Dispensing
  • Section 8 – Infection control
  • Section 9 – Theatre practice
  • Section 10 – Anaesthesia

Details of the subject content can be seen in the professional syllabus which can be viewed or downloaded from the RCVS website.

To see if we are currently recruiting for trainee veterinary nurse positions please review our current vacancies.