Level 5 qualification for animal medicines advisors as AMTRA and Harper Adams University broaden syllabus and assessment

Equine and farm animal medicines advisor qualification formally moves to Level 5

A broadening of the syllabus and deepening of the assessment for AMTRA registered animal medicines advisors, also known as SQPs, has seen the formal move to Level 5 qualifications from February 2020.

The move, in conjunction with key training partner Harper Adams University, further reinforces the professional status of this essential channel for the prescription and supply of certain animal medicines, including many wormers, vaccines, and tick and flea treatments.

AMTRA, the animal medicines training regulatory authority, represents some 7,000 registered animal medicines advisors (RAMAs) across the UK, through farm, equine and companion animal sectors.

“We have been developing the modules, syllabus and qualification alongside Harper Adams University, as we have always done to better reflect the changing nature of the industry in which we operate. While in recent times it has been still formally a level 4 qualification, a fresh look at the nature of the assessment found it already to be close to the equivalent of level 5 for Farm and Equine, and this move to a formal level 5 qualification recognises the hard work prospective candidates have already been putting in for some time,” commented secretary general Stephen Dawson.

This is not something for aspiring AMTRA RAMAs to be concerned about, insists Mr Dawson. “This is very much a reflection of the ever-evolving syllabus and assessment strategy. We feel this re-classification will better reflect capabilities, and encourage animal owners, farmers and livery yards to have even greater confidence in the advice and service they receive, as well as reassure veterinary surgeons and other partners in delivering animal health of our commitment to high standards,” he adds.

Dr John Donaldson, associate head of department and principal lecturer in Animal Production at Harper Adams University, has worked closely on the move to Level 5. He says, “As Stephen explains, a review of the evolving assessment made it clear that recent developments meant it was already essentially at the equivalent of Level 5 for farm and equine qualifications. We will now be moving on to implementing the option of a University Diploma for those who wish to build on the existing qualifications to broaden their knowledge and gain further recognition for that.”

AMTRA will shortly be completing an update to its training manual, implementing changes to the new COWS (Control of Worms Sustainably) technical guidance issued in January 2020, and the new SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) guidance to be released very shortly, keeping AMTRA animal medicines advisors at the forefront of technical knowledge on responsible use of medicines.

AMTRA has also commissioned independent sheep consultant, Lesley Stubbings, to update the AMTRA sheep parasite control CPD in the light of the SCOPS updates, making this available to all existing registered animal medicines advisors.