Thirty-four graduate vets are being placed in rural areas, from Kaitaia in the far North to Gore in Southland, through the Government’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians (VBS) Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.
The successful recipients will each receive funding of $55,000 over five years, in a bid to help ease the shortage of veterinarians working with production animals in our regions.
“It’s well known that there’s a real need for vets, especially in rural areas,” Damien O’Connor said.
“Since it began 12 years ago, the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians has made a big difference in attracting and retaining graduate vets to rural communities that can be challenging to recruit staff to.
“The graduate vets start their career working predominantly with production animals, such as cows, sheep and pigs, which are essential in our primary industries. This scheme supports New Zealand to maintain our world-class standards in biosecurity, animal welfare and food safety
“Through this funding, we aim to ensure we have the best care for production animals and working dogs across the country.”
The programme is delivered by the Ministry for Primary Industries and since its inception in 2009 has supported 384 graduate vets to start their careers working with production animals in rural practice.
“The scheme sits alongside other programmes we’re investing in to address skills challenges in rural New Zealand. There’s the MPI Workforce Skills programme investment of $8.4 million, which includes $3.5 million to fund taster courses across the sector. We’ve backed DairyNZ’s GoDairy programme and we also have our Opportunity Grows Here campaign which has placed nearly 7,500 people into jobs.
“In order to have thriving and vibrant rural communities we need to pull together to show people that there’s a great life to be led out on the land and in the regions,” Damien O’Connor said.