New research, commissioned as part of the British Army’s Army Reserve recruitment campaign, has revealed almost 70% of people are not aware of the part-time veterinary roles available.

Mike Simpson, a vet at a practice in Cleveland, is a training office with the RAVC.

The campaign aims to highlight to people aged between 18 and 50 some of the volunteering opportunities available for specialist reservist vets in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC).

This could include veterinary officer roles that look after military animals and advise on working animals, disease control and biosecurity.

Recruits have the opportunity to develop their veterinary skills and learn how to use them in a military context, as well as receiving military training, which can benefit them in their civilian careers.

The RAVC provides the service lead in the development of good husbandry, training practice, preventive medicine and care for service animals wherever the Army may be. It also recently set up the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, which has opened up a number of opportunities for trained vets in health maintenance roles with the Military Working Dogs (MWD).

Vet Mike Simpson, 35, joined at Copeland Veterinary Surgeons in Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland in 2003 and is a training officer with the RAVC.

“I feel so lucky I’m paid in my spare time to make new friends and further my interest in veterinary care, while making the most of free world-class training, learning from international leaders who are at the top of their fields,” Major Simpson said.

“I’ve travelled to countries and seen a side of the world I’d never have experienced otherwise. As reservists, we also regularly travel and train abroad. For example, there are courses in mountaineering, rock climbing and adventure diving.

“The list is as long as your goals and ambitions. I get the best of both worlds – when I’m spending the weekend with friends learning new skills, I know that on Monday morning I’ll be back at my day job.”

The campaign shows reservists taking part in a range of activities from live firing exercises in Challenger tanks to underwater welding, and from lagoon diving to delivering emergency medical supplies and humanitarian aid.

Army reservists get paid for their time and can qualify for a tax-free annual bonus. A minimum commitment of 19 days a year is required. For more information, visit www.army.mod.uk/jobs, search Army Reserves or call 0845 600 8080.

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