A diverse base of retail outlets, merchants and animal healthcare practices are recognising the commercial benefits of investing in SQPs, according to the latest renewal figures from the Animals Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA).
Stephen Dawson, AMTRA’s secretary general, said the organisation has seen a 93% renewal rate across all categories, the highest for four years and the second highest ever.
Within the “E” category, for equine and companion animals, the proportion was a record high.
Mr Dawson said: “We have reminded SQPs who may have changed employer in the last 12 months, that the SQP qualification and status is their own, even though the training may have been supported by an employer.
“In the uncertain period the pandemic has placed us in, the AMTRA registration is a prized asset, and one that can be invaluable should you be looking for a new job, exploring the possibility of opening your own business, or even returning to a previous employer.”
Significantly, the numbers of registered retailers and premises employing qualified SQPs has continued to rise, encompassing everything from major pet retailers, livery yards, agricultural merchants and veterinary practices, through to testing laboratories, zoos, and even the British Army.
SQP renewals for 2021 have been received from employees of more than 1,260 registered businesses and organisations, and of this number some 1,100 of these employ five or fewer SQPs.
“This gives an indication of the breadth and diversity of the SQP community,” explains Mr Dawson. “It also shows that more organisations and businesses are recognising the commercial advantages of having fully qualified and highly trained animal medicines advisors to support their retail operations.”
Mr Dawson believes the challenges of COVIDF-19, and its impact on the country, only heightens the value of SQPs to their employers.
“We have seen significant increases in companion animal ownership in the last year, and this in turn increases demands on the provision of qualified advice on treatments and the supply of veterinary medicines,” he said.
“Similarly, the UK livestock farming industry has perhaps never received such high priority within the public conscience, and this is rightly focused on our high standards of animal health and welfare, just as it is with our love and passion for the equine industry.”
AMTRA is encouraging potential candidates and employers to take advantage of the training and resources available, helping towards both a rewarding career and business growth.
Mr Dawson added: “We have a unique resource for all of these species in the UK, through our network of SQPs, and it is essential we can maintain and build this essential distribution channel for veterinary medicines. Businesses able to provide this valuable resource for clients will feel the commercial benefits.”