Veterinary Nursing (Wales)

Framework status: Current (latest) issue

Framework details

Framework ID: FR04464
Issue number: 4
Issued: 02 October 2019

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Veterinary Nursing (Wales)
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Issued by

Contact name: Sandie Absalom
Telephone number: 02476 696996
Please download the framework for email contact information.


Defining Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme under an Apprenticeship Agreement designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with essential skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off the job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the Apprenticeship.

On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

The Veterinary Nursing Industry

Veterinary Nursing is the supportive care of animals receiving treatment within a veterinary practice and supporting veterinary surgeons on farms and other animal establishments. A Veterinary Nurse works as a member of the veterinary team, providing expert nursing care for sick animals, routine treatments, and plays a significant role in the education of owners about maintaining the health of their pets. Veterinary Nursing is a highly regulated industry and once qualified, Veterinary Nurses can undertake a range of diagnostic tests, carry out medical treatment and minor surgery procedures under veterinary direction.

Many veterinary practices are small employers (60% employing fewer than ten members of staff) and therefore each person has an important role to play within the organisation. Although Veterinary Nursing and ancillary activities represents only 1% of the businesses in Wales, it employs at least 306 Veterinary Nurses in 260 practices which supports many other animal industries within Wales, including agriculture.

A Veterinary Nursing Apprenticeship has been in place since August 2006 and with the revised framework it is expected to increase uptake by 30% over the next three years.  The Veterinary Nursing industry feels that because of the nature of their business, work-based learning through Apprenticeships is a good way for learners entering the industry to learn the necessary skills and knowledge required to work in a practice.

Research carried out by Lantra in Wales in 2009 found that 36% of all vacancies were hard-to-fill vacancies because applicants lack technical, practical or job-specific skills, as well as customer handling, written and oral communications and problem solving skills. More recently, research in 2010 across the UK supports this with 93% of the Veterinary Nursing industry valuing generic skills (numeracy and literacy) amongst staff and 77% suggesting that work experience was important when entering the industry.

Previous uptake of the Apprenticeship in Wales has been low over recent years and Lantra is currently working with Welsh providers looking at collaborative approaches to delivery, ensuring that there is sufficient coverage across the whole of Wales.

Although there is some provision in Wales for Veterinary Nursing, employers have indicated that the continuation of the Apprenticeship would provide them with an alternative route for training employees, as identified in Lantra's Assessment of Current Provision 2010.

The revised framework has been developed to provide apprentices with the appropriate skills and knowledge suited to their place of employment which is often a small animal or equine practice.

  • Small Animal - registered Small Animal Veterinary Nurses provide expert care, support and treatment to small animals in a veterinary practice under veterinary direction.

Job Roles may include – Veterinary Nurse Small Animal with possible progression to Head Veterinary Nurse.

  • Equine - registered Equine Veterinary Nurses provide expert care, support and treatment to horses under veterinary direction.

Job Roles may include – Veterinary Nurse Equine with possible progression to Head Equine Veterinary Nurse.

The framework will also contribute to meeting the skills priorities in Wales by:

  • Providing flexible access to a high quality (Level 3) skills programme, which acts as a real alternative to A-Levels for those who prefer this style of learning and achievement
  • Incorporating skills to improve the levels of general literacy and numeracy in Wales
  • Using technical and competence qualifications, valued by employers, to help their businesses grow
  • Developing apprentices’ employability skills, making them more attractive to all employers whichever career they choose
  • Providing a career pathway into jobs and training at intermediate and higher level, to provide the skills which the economy needs to grow.

Further information on the Veterinary Nursing industry can be found at:


RCVS: RCVS Survey of Veterinary Professions (2010) located at under publications.

Download framework

Veterinary Nursing (Wales)
(PDF document 2.38 MB)