CAFRE Veterinary Nursing students graduation celebrations

Date published: 11 December 2023

On Friday 1 December, the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) concluded its graduations for the 2023 year with a special ceremony at Greenmount Campus in Antrim. The college hosted families, friends and work colleagues to recognise the achievements of Veterinary Nursing students.

Dr Eric Long, the Head of Education Service at CAFRE, offered a special welcome to Gemma Daly, the Director of Enzootic Control, Animal Welfare and Field Delivery Division at DAERA, to the graduation ceremony. Gemma delivered an inspiring and informative speech to the graduates and presented special awards.

Addressing graduates in Veterinary Care Support and Veterinary Nursing, Mr Martin McKendry the Director of CAFRE said: “I extend my warmest congratulations to each of you on this momentous occasion. You have accomplished a major milestone in your academic journey, but it is only the beginning of your quest for knowledge and learning. With over half of all households in the UK owning a pet, the demand for skilled veterinary care support and veterinary nursing staff is at an all-time high. This rise in the need for pet care is a testament to the significance of your chosen profession, and I have no doubt that you will excel in your field.”

Mr Manus McHenry, the Head of Agriculture Education at CAFRE addressed the audience highlighting the achievement of the Level 3 graduates. On completion of their written examinations, assignments and portfolios students complete an additional Objectively Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE).

“We are delighted 38 students have successfully completed their OSCEs. A significant achievement this year for the college was the ability to host these practical assessments at CAFRE, Greenmount Campus. This enabled Northern Ireland students to complete their OSCE locally instead of travelling to the England,” commented Mr McHenry.

Successful completion of OSCE’s enables Level 3 graduates to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) providing them with license to practise as recognised Veterinary Nursing professionals. To mark their achievements Simon Williams, represented the Veterinary Nurses Council joined remotely and lead the recital of the oath with the newly qualified Level 3 Veterinary Nurses.

Mr McHenry commended the role and support provided to CAFRE and the Level 3 students through Training Practices and Clinical Coach mentoring. He stated that these practices, located throughout the province, are essential in providing students with the appropriate experience outside of regular class times.

If you are a Veterinary Practice Manager with staff with an interest in formalising their training, please contact Bethan Pinhey (Senior Lecturer, CAFRE) or visit the CAFRE website for course information.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption - Ashleigh Haydock (Dungannon) was presented with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Prize, awarded to the best Level 3 Veterinary Nursing student. Ashleigh is congratulated by Gemma Daly, (Guest Speaker and Director of Enzootic Control, Animal Welfare and Field Delivery Division, DAERA) and Martin McKendry (Director, CAFRE).
  2. Follow us on X and Facebook.
  3. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or telephone: 028 9052 4619.

Share this page

Back to top