Becoming a Vet
I always wanted to become a vet since I was a child. I think this comes from my family background in farming and the meat industry.
My mum always tells I wanted to be a vet since I was very young, I was always obsessed with dogs!
After I finished the University, I was not sure if I wanted to get specialised in Horses or Public health. They are two very different fields, but it was what I loved the most, and during Uni I gained lot of experience on both subjects.
However, I knew that working in Public Health would give me a better career progression, you can work in so many different fields related to Food Safety or Animal Health in the private sector, universities or the government.
I studied in my hometown, living with my parents. So, after university I wanted to go abroad and discover the world. My Idea was to come to the UK for 6 months to gain experience and learn a new language. That was 9 years ago, time flies!!
Why work as a Government Vet?
In my opinion, working for the Civil Service opens you so many opportunities that no other jobs do. Also, being a vet is a plus since you can work on the field applying your veterinary knowledge, but you can also gain experience in policy, project management, business and managerial skills. It is very difficult to develop this expertise in the private sector.
Moreover, working in Government Vet Services is where I think we can make a difference and protect public health, animal health and welfare. I also feel I work for the taxpayers and protect One health.
A Day in the Life
I love that my days are always different.
Some days, I work from home, I love the flexibility of working from home, since I spend no time commuting, I can also have a flexi timetable and adapt the day according to my circumstances. It is amazing what we can do with technology nowadays, teleconferences work so well that I do not see the point to go for meetings anymore. But because this can be a bit lonely, face to face meeting are also good. Other days I visit different plants which export to other countries. I help them to improve standards for export, but I also make sure that they comply with the requirements from the importing country.
Also, you may find me accompanying an inward mission all over the UK, inspecting slaughterhouses and cutting plants. These experiences are quite interesting since you learn a lot from international colleagues, including part of their language and culture.
The work can be exhausting, it is like a triathlon but without getting fit, working 12-14 hours a day and being away from home during the whole week but it interesting and I learn an incredible amount in a very short period.
The Great Things About Being a Government Vet
The variety of all these activities is very appealing but my favourite aspect of the job though is the challenge, dealing with different issues and stakeholders including vets from other government departments and the Industry.
In my current job, exporting meat to third countries means less waste, since most of the meat produced in an abattoir can be used for human consumption in other countries with different diets or culinary trends.
But my favourite bit is when we have an inward mission, because you see their point of view and the procedures from their home country, which, sometimes are totally different to our systems.
For me, working with Defra to open new markets is quite a long process, but it is very rewarding since this means new opportunities for the UK.
However, my best reward was the award I have recently received from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as Vet of the Year! I was not expecting this at all, since I feel there are so many amazing vets in the FSA. I guess that when preparing the inward missions, I had to work with several colleagues from the FSA to make this happen. Seeing how your colleagues appreciate the work you do it was the best thing that happen to me ever at work.
Working for the government for almost 9 years has given me so much experience in many different subjects. I have increased my veterinary knowledge but also, I have learnt many other skills such as experience working with different teams at different levels, dealing with different challenges under pressure, being able to represent my organisation when working with different stakeholders in the public and private sector.