Edinburgh College’s veterinary nursing courses are moving 15 miles to new custom-built facilities at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Edinburgh College
SRUC will take on up to 170 students.

The colleges say the switch will give students and staff access to excellent new facilities and resources, including working more with live animals to boost their skills and knowledge.

From August next year, SRUC will run the two full-time courses at its Oatridge campus in West Lothian, in a building converted into a specialist veterinary nursing facility.

At SRUC Oatridge, the students will work regularly with live animals. Currently, students only work with animals when they go on placements outside the college and use animal simulations on the campus.

SRUC will take on up to 170 students on the two-and-a-half year Level 3 veterinary nursing and the one-year Level 2 veterinary care assistant diploma courses.

VN students transferring partway through their course will continue their studies as normal.

It is proposed all nine Edinburgh College staff members on the programmes – including lecturers and support staff – will transfer to SRUC Oatridge.

Arrangements are being made to make the transition for staff and students as smooth as possible, including transport for students and compensation for staff travel costs.

To ensure staff, students and partners are closely involved in the process and the new facilities meet their needs, Edinburgh College is carrying out a consultation.

Ray McCowan, Edinburgh College vice-principal for curriculum and quality, said: “Our veterinary courses are really successful, with excellent completion and employment rates, and they’re oversubscribed. But with our partners at SRUC we identified an opportunity to give students an even better learning experience than they receive at the moment.

“Working with live animals more regularly in great facilities at the college itself will give them greater insight and practical skills, which will make sure the veterinary industry is supported to deliver what it needs to our communities.

“We appreciate this is a change, but we’re doing everything we can to make it as seamless as possible and we believe the significant improvement in training makes the switch a really positive move.”

SRUC acting chief executive Janet Swadling said it looked forward to welcoming the Edinburgh College students and staff.

“Bringing together the veterinary nursing provision from Edinburgh College and SRUC is a key part of the Scottish Strategy for Land-based Education, which aims to encourage greater engagement with industry to ensure employment needs are met,” she said.

“The enhanced provision run by SRUC as Scotland’s specialist land-based higher and further education provider, will help meet that need.”

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