STC's Toh first in Asia to obtain UK's vet nursing diploma
Toh Wei Xin, a senior vet assistant at the Singapore Turf Club (STC), has become the first student in Asia to obtain the City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Equine Pathway) with The Open College of Equine Studies (TOCES).
The UK diploma is approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is recognised worldwide.
Toh held a Diploma in Veterinary Technology from Temasek Polytechnic before going into National Service.
He then took up his first full-time job as a vet assistant at Singapore Turf Club in October 2014.
He and 10 other vet assistants were introduced to the three-year part-time diploma course by STC's vet surgeon, Dr Bronte Forbes, but was the only one accepted by TOCES in March 2016.
This was due to his background in Veterinary Technology and also having fulfilled the course's pre-requisite of completing 60 weeks of work experience within an approved training practice.
"I was very surprised to be told by Dr Bronte that I'm the first in Asia to get the certification (as a vet nurse)," said Toh.
"As a certified vet nurse, we can give injections and drugs to the horses under the supervision of the vets.
"Also, when in the operation theatre, we would wear the surgical attire and assist the vets during the surgeries, which we are not able to do as a vet assistant."
Toh's first close-up encounter with horses was when he volunteered at a showjumping event in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.
"I love animals, but back in Polytechnic, we did not learn much about horses. It was only after I started work at the club that I knew more about them," he said.
"I would spend two to three hours on average a day, and a few days in a week after work to do e-learning. There were both theory and practical tests, and I also went to UK four times for the course.
"I had to spend one month each for two of the trips to TOCES at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk for my study, but my colleagues over here were very understanding."