For over 20 years, farmers Tim and Caroline Wilson have hosted first-year veterinary students on work placements. The 600-acre organic farm has 450 ewes, around 200 cattle and 20 breeding sows, as well as its own butchery, the Woodchester Meat Company.
In a reciprocal arrangement, the young trainee vets gain valuable experience, skills and knowledge, while the farm gets some welcome help in the busy lambing season.
“It’s good for them and for us,” said Tim. “It is quite tiring and involves long hours and working through the night, but generally they soon get used to it.
“Over the years we’ve seen many go through the system and qualify with many now working as farm animal vets and some running their own practices.”
Student Vikki Capon said: “We were only there for a week so we wanted to learn as much as we could, and we were always asking to do more.
“Caroline was wonderful and Tim was an excellent teacher, very patient and eager for us to learn about all aspects of it. It was great fun and worth every sleep-deprived moment.”