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This apprenticeship standard is in development and is not yet ready to use

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An apprenticeship standard is only available for delivery when both the standard and assessment plan is approved and a funding band (core government contribution) has been assigned to the standard.

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Overview of the role

Carry out common husbandry and technical tasks for livestock.

Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education logo

Vet technician (livestock)

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in large animal livestock veterinary businesses. Veterinary Technicians (Vet Techs) typically undertake work on behalf of the practice on their clients’ premises, which are predominantly commercial Farms and smallholdings.

The veterinary practice can range in size from large multi-site operations to small independent employers.

Vet Tech’s work in line with relevant RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) standards.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to carry out common husbandry and technical tasks that are generally in the interest of promoting the health and welfare of livestock or in the breeding of livestock. This may include vaccinations, mobility assessment, foot trimming, disbudding, and growth monitoring. Other tasks may be preparing livestock for procedures such as surgery or embryo transfer and assisting veterinary surgeons who are undertaking procedures, recording data, and handling semen or embryos.  

The Vet Tech aids the Veterinary Surgeon (vet) to monitor and improve the health and welfare of livestock through preventative measures.

They help to deliver health plans and protocols to prevent health issues and diseases. They deliver treatment following a diagnosis carried out by a Veterinary Surgeon, and when agreed treatment protocols are in place.

A Vet Tech will typically collect data on incidences of certain health conditions. This will help when setting health and disease control plans, including livestock health and welfare checks in line with vet practice protocols. They work independently on client’s premises and carry out dynamic risk assessments.

They also conduct environmental assessments to find out areas that could be contributing to health and welfare issues. This could include housing, comfort/ ventilation, and walkways that could cause lameness.

A Vet Tech will not give advice or carry out treatment unless on an agreed protocol set out by the vet. Whilst on the farm, the Vet Tech can, with the agreement of the client, take non-intrusive samples to check for problems. Samples will be collected and either analysed in practice or sent off for further investigation to enable diagnosis of any condition. Any treatment would be discussed with the vet and a protocol set out for the livestock. The Vet Tech would be responsible for using the correct sample collection procedure and communicating information to the client’s vet. Under the direction of the vet, a Vet Tech may collect blood samples.

The Vet Tech often views onsite livestock conditions more regularly than the vet and they need to regularly communicate health and welfare matters to both the client and the vet.

The Vet Tech will report directly to a vet. In their daily work, they will also interact with practice administrative staff, other Vet Techs, vets, clients (farmers, enterprise managers, smallholders), and other agricultural professionals e.g. Nutritionists, Consultants, Animal and Horticulture Advisory Board (AHDB) staff. They may also be required to support and guide vet and agricultural students so will need to be able to work independently and as part of a team.

Livestock health and financial pressures can be stressful for clients. Vet Techs also observe the welfare of clients and report any concerns to the vet or vet practice vet responsible for the client/livestock so that help and support can be arranged. It is important that the Vet Tech maintains professional working relations as they will be responsible for full client confidentiality.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for scheduling their own workload and complying with vet practice protocols. They will be responsible for operating good biosecurity and maintaining equipment.

Typical job titles include:

Embryo transfer technician Vet tech Vet tech cso (certification support officer) Vet tech mobility scorer/ foot trimmer Vet tech paraprofessional Vet tech/ att (approved tuberculin tester) Vet technician manager

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements. However, vet tech candidates are likely to have some husbandry skills and livestock knowledge and may have worked in a vet practice at a more junior level.

A Vet Tech may be required to work unsociable hours and will be required to visit clients. Individual employers will determine their own entry requirements; but due to the nature of the role requiring periods of physical exertion, safe travel to and within ports, it is expected that candidates will meet certain medical standards of physical health and it is highly likely they will hold a full standard driving licence.


Occupation duties

Duty

KSBs

Duty 1 Communicate effectively using a variety of appropriate methods. Take account of the factors which affect working relationships between clients and practice colleagues.

K1 K2 K6 K12 K14 K15

S4 S11

B1 B5

Duty 2 Practise biosecurity to prevent transfer of pathogens between businesses premises and stock.

K3 K4 K6 K9 K10

S1 S5 S10 S13 S15 S16

B2 B3 B6

Duty 3 Handle livestock in a safe manner, adapting to the facilities, environment and type of stock to reduce stress and risk of injury to self and stock. Carry out dynamic risk assessments.

K1 K4 K5 K6 K10 K11 K13

S1 S5 S7 S8 S9 S10 S15

B2 B6

Duty 4 Carry out standard husbandry procedures and provide husbandry advice to clients where appropriate. This may include but is not limited to disbudding, foot trimming, body condition and mobility assessment.

K1 K2 K3 K5 K6 K8 K10 K21

S1 S5 S6 S7 S9 S10 S12 S13 S15

B1 B2 B3 B6

Duty 5 Collect and digitally record and store data. Use software to prepare reports on data used to inform business and health care planning, and to meet regulatory requirements of medicine legislation.

K1 K2 K4 K7 K8 K9 K14 K16 K17 K18 K19 K23

S2 S3 S4 S8 S10 S11 S17

B1 B2 B3 B5 B6

Duty 6 Monitor and record signs of animal health and welfare issues, which may include but are not limited to lameness, feed intake, abnormal weight.

K1 K2 K4 K10 K11 K14 K15 K17 K18 K19

S3 S6 S8 S10 S14

B2 B3 B4

Duty 7 Administer preventative medicines under the direction of a qualified vet or as part of a pre-agreed healthcare plan. This may include but is not limited to medications such as vaccinations and parasite control.

K1 K5 K6 K8 K10 K11 K12 K16 K18

S1 S2 S5 S7 S10 S13 S14 S15

B1 B2 B6

Duty 8 Collect samples under the direction of a vet and prepare them to be sent for external lab testing and in-house testing where relevant. Use the results to inform health plans in conjunction with the vet.

K1 K3 K5 K6 K9 K11 K14 K15 K17 K18 K22

S1 S3 S8 S10 S13 S14 S15

B1 B2 B3 B6

Duty 9 Identify potential health and welfare issues across a range of livestock and environments. Provide advice to the client and vet to make improvements. Use the appropriate channels to report concerns.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K14 K15 K17

S2 S3 S4 S6 S8 S10 S11 S12 S15

B1 B2 B3 B6

Duty 10 Carry out environmental assessments and collect relevant data.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K14 K15 K17 K18 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S8 S11 S12 S13

B1 B2 B3 B6

Duty 11 Assist the vet with additional duties as required, such as help with handling livestock during fertility routines or surgical procedures.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K10 K11 K12 K15 K16 K17 K19 K20

S1 S2 S4 S5 S11 S14 S15

B1 B2 B5 B6

Duty 12 Liaise with outside organisations to promote collaborative approaches to enhance animal health & welfare.

K1 K2 K4 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K14 K17 K18 K20 K23

S2 S3 S4 S6 S11

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6


KSBs

Knowledge

K1: The appropriate level of RCVS code of professional conduct for Vet Technicians and its associated guidance for the standards of professional practice. Back to Duty

K2: The scope of the business environment in which the vet practice operates and the need to meet ethical and legal responsibilities. Back to Duty

K3: The principles of infection control in livestock to control the spread of infection/ diseases. This includes using personal protective equipment (PPE), efficient hand washing techniques, the importance of biosecurity and the role of disinfection and sterilisation, particularly when working on multiple sites. Back to Duty

K4: The complexities of different agricultural environments and how this affects animal health and welfare. Back to Duty

K5: The principles and practices of handling unpredictable livestock in a safe manner and in line with Manual Handling Operations Regulations. Back to Duty

K6: Dynamic risk assessment processes and lone worker protocols for different environments and livestock. How risk assessments can be applied to reduce the stress and risk of injury to self and different types of livestock. Back to Duty

K7: Principles of collecting data to form reports to meet regulatory requirements of medicine legislation. Back to Duty

K8: Principles and scope of vet led protocols for the administration of vaccinations and the antibody reaction, Principles, protocols and use of veterinary medicines in livestock treatments, including how to administer them: injection, oral bolus, topical application. Back to Duty

K9: How to use a range of information and data to identify potential health and welfare issues and the preventative or reactive measures that could be applied. Back to Duty

K10: The safe use of veterinary medicines and COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) essentials for farmers. Back to Duty

K11: Diseases (zoonoses) caused by micro-organisms, which are subject to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). Back to Duty

K12: Communication strategies to develop effective working relationships and engage clients and practice colleagues. Back to Duty

K13: Husbandry procedures such as disbudding, foot trimming, non-surgical castration and tail docking, mobility assessment and growth monitoring. Back to Duty

K14: Strategies to ensure health and welfare of livestock and cost- effective preventative approaches. Back to Duty

K15: How to report concerns with livestock and/ or human welfare. Back to Duty

K16: Protocols for handling livestock during Vet Tech procedures. Back to Duty

K17: How collaboration with outside organisations can enhance animal health and welfare. E.g. Agricultural and Horticultural development board (AHDB). Back to Duty

K18: Evaluation methods including the use of software to measure the impact of treatments. The use of this information to inform future strategies across other locations/ environments. Back to Duty

K19: Evaluating breeding values and methods of genetic improvements for health and productivity. Back to Duty

K20: Social responsibility to function sustainably and minimise waste. Back to Duty

K21: Livestock weighing and how to carry out body condition scoring to national guidelines. Back to Duty

K22: The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and vet led protocols and procedures when using blood sampling for diagnosis. Back to Duty

K23: The requirement to maintain client confidentiality and obligations under GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). Back to Duty

Skills

S1: Plan and carry out dynamic risk assessments taking account of lone worker protocols and varying environments/ livestock. Develop courses of action to minimise risk. Back to Duty

S2: Manage data collection for health plans and reports. Back to Duty

S3: Analyse, interpret, and evaluate data using appropriate software, to inform diagnosis/ recommendations for preventative treatment. Back to Duty

S4: Collaborate with agricultural staff to obtain information impacting on livestock health (e.g. feed rations). Back to Duty

S5: Administer appropriate veterinary medicines, as set out within a vet led protocol, to treat livestock, such as by injection, oral bolus or topical application. Back to Duty

S6: Identify environmental factors that can have a positive and/or negative effect on animal health and welfare. Back to Duty

S7: Plan and carry out livestock assessment, such as mobility assessment, weighing or body condition scoring. Back to Duty

S8: Identify when samples are required for parasite identification. Collect relevant samples in accordance with protocols and lab procedures. Back to Duty

S9: Complete disbudding/ horn removal of livestock. Back to Duty

S10: Plan and carry out blood sampling for disease or health analysis/diagnosis. Complete documentation for further lab analysis and to ensure traceability. Back to Duty

S11: Build rapport with clients whilst managing client expectations and competing priorities. Back to Duty

S12: Manage own workload, balancing cost and efficiency with livestock health and welfare priorities. Back to Duty

S13: Use equipment, such as livestock crush and raise systems for safe handling and pharmaceutical equipment and products, in line with operating procedures and manufacturers guidelines. Back to Duty

S14: Monitor and manage requirements for equipment maintenance and repair. Back to Duty

S15: Identify, use and dispose of correct PPE appropriate to the task. Back to Duty

S16: Identify biosecurity risks and mitigate against them. Back to Duty

S17: Maintain client confidentiality in line with practice requirements and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). Back to Duty

Behaviours

B1: Builds and maintains relationships with customers, colleagues, and suppliers. Back to Duty

B2: Maintains ethical standards required by the RCVS and complies with the appropriate RCVS approved day 1 code for a veterinary technician. Back to Duty

B3: Takes responsibility for planning and developing courses of action. Back to Duty

B4: Undertakes career professional development to maintain technical knowledge. Back to Duty

B5: Acts professionally and adapts style and method of communication to the circumstances and needs of individuals. Back to Duty

B6: Adheres to the requirements of health and safety legislation. Back to Duty


Qualifications

English & Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.


Additional details

Occupational Level:

5

Duration (months):

24

Review

This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

Status: In development
Proposal approved Standard approved Assessment plan approved
Level: 5
Reference: ST0946
Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
Typical duration to gateway: 24 months
Typical EPA period: 2 months
Trailblazer contact(s): natalie.parker@llmvets.co.uk
Employers involved in creating the standard: AHDB Bishopton Veterinary Group Dove Vets Evolution Vets Harper/ Keel Vet school LLM Farm Vets Meadow Farm Vets and RCVS Paragon Veterinary Group Penbode Vets RABDF Reaseheath College Synergy Farm Health Tyndale Farm Veterinary Practice Westpoint Farm Vets Wood Veterinary Group XL Vets
EQA Provider: Ofqual

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