Veterinary Nurse Guide to Sourcing Employment as an Apprentice

We recognise that work experience and employment within a veterinary practice can be difficult to secure. This booklet has been designed as a guide to help you find employment for one of our apprenticeship courses. This process may take several months, however students who are ‘politely persistent’ will be rewarded for their efforts.

If you are looking for employment as an apprentice within a veterinary practice, the first thing to do is arrange a work experience placement:

  • Find all the practices in the area in which you can travel to within a 50-mile radius of Reaseheath College, click here for help with this. Searching by postcode will give you the option to locate practices within a stated radius. You will need to be prepared to travel outside of your local area in order to find a long-term placement. Use Google Maps to find the distances you may need to travel.
  • Find out the name of the person(s) you need to contact to arrange your placement. This will generally be the Head Veterinary Nurse or Practice Manager. Click here for help finding this information or google the practice website.
  • The best way to get work experience or employment is by asking the person yourself – don’t ask someone else to do it for you. Be proactive!

When completing work experience:

  1. Start with your local veterinary practice, where your pets are registered, for work experience.
  2. Decide on what you are asking for e.g., ‘1 week during half term’. If the practice say they are booked, pull out your diary where you have highlighted dates you are available and ask for another week.
  3. Once your work experience is agreed ensure you confirm times and dates – you don’t want to be late. Turn up on time dressed in smart, casual clothes which you can work comfortably in e.g., black trousers, wear a smart top – not jeans – hair tied back and remove all visible piercings.
  4. Tasks you can immediately help with in practice:
    • Smile and greet clients when you see them
    • Be friendly and approachable. Demonstrate this in your body language
    • Ask how you can help staff
    • Sweep and mop floors
    • Tidy working areas e.g. cleaning surfaces during consults if present
    • Make drinks for everyone
    • Make sure pets are comfortable
  1. Do not just stand and watch. Use your initiative and be helpful where you can. Ask questions. Do not do anything which you are unsure of – ASK!
  2. If you enjoyed your placement, arrange further experience. Build a portfolio of experience and references which you can show future prospective placements.

Once you have completed a work experience placement, you are ready to begin looking for employment as an apprentice:

  • Create a CV and short cover letter that introduces you, what you are looking for, and the experience you have already gained, including references.
  • Use the RCVS find a vet website to locate practices within your area and select those you would like to apply to.
  • Call beforehand to arrange to see the Practice Manager/Head Nurse when they are available.
  • Ensure all enquiries and visits are completed by yourself – this is your career, and your responsibility.

Once you have secured employment:

  1. Ask the practice to send confirmation of employment to
  2. The college will contact your practice to arrange health and safety checks of the premises you will be working in.
  3. Should your practice require further information on becoming a Training Practice or training with Reaseheath, then please contact the Vet Nursing Team on: or 01270 616490.