First SQP qualifies with Vetpol’s online training course

First SQP qualifies with Vetpol’s online training course

Reece Goldsmith

Vetpol® is celebrating the successful qualification of Reece Goldsmith, the first SQP candidate to graduate as a result of studying and sitting its examination totally online. Vetpol was appointed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate as an independent regulator of SQPs earlier this year, and is the first company in the UK to provide SQP training and exams in an entirely digital format. For many people, the flexibility of this online learning has been a blessing during the unprecedented challenges of this year, and with Reece’s successful qualification Vetpol is looking ahead to a busy future.

Vetpol’s Level 4 SQP qualification, which was developed in conjunction with LANTRA and is regulated by Ofqual, enables those qualifying to dispense VPS medicines. Those who gain this qualification are equipped to make appropriate recommendations and must always be aware of when to refer to a vet. There are four modules of the course – companion animal, equine, farm and avian – and trailblazing SQP Reece Goldsmith passed the exams in all four.

Reece, who is based at Shire Stables in Oxfordshire, describes how he got on with the training. “It’s a great course in a very easy to understand and read format,” he says. “I enjoyed the easy access to the course materials and being able to log in and see my progress.”

A major reason why Reece chose the Vetpol course was the online learning. “In all honesty, if the course wasn’t online I most likely wouldn’t have done my SQP training,” he says. “I run a livery yard and a worm counting postal service, I just wouldn’t have had the time to go off and do study weeks and take more time off to do the exams.”

Vetpol originally chose to provide digital training for convenience in the busy modern world, aiming to help people study whenever and wherever was practical for them. However, given the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has been much more useful than anticipated. “COVID-19 has changed our lives in so many ways, including disrupting a lot of face-to-face teaching,” says Caroline Johnson, Director of Vetpol. “Our fully online course will allow people to still gain the qualifications they need during these difficult times.”

A key advantage of Vetpol’s course is that the exams are online as well as the teaching, Caroline Johnson explains. “Our awarding body LANTRA offer online proctored exams, which mean they’re invigilated remotely,” she says. “This means that people don’t even need to travel for exams, which can be stressful enough, even without the added disturbance of a pandemic.”

Both students and qualified SQPs can make use of the Vetpol online support forum, which is run by experienced trainers, SQPs and animal health professionals. Reece explains that this will be a reassurance after qualification. “It’s crammed with usual information,” he says. “It gives access to CPD and points you in the right direction for further information when you need it.”

Reece owns a livery yard and a postal worm count service called PostAPoo, but people in many other situations can qualify as SQPs. Vet nurses often take SQP courses to extend their role and also bring benefits to their practice – having an extra member of staff qualified to dispense VPS medicines can help practices work more efficiently and increase revenue.

SQPs have to be very effective communicators in order to address the concerns of individual owners, and Vetpol has made communication skills a major focus of their courses to help people take a more proactive approach to recommendations. The courses are written by vets and designed to give practical information that is easy to apply to working life. Participants can take the courses at their own pace, and have a full two years from registration to pass their exams. Further information is available at: