Getting down to business - Vets set for real world practice with new elective

Future veterinarians will graduate with key business and entrepreneurship skills after a new collaborative elective was launched by the University of Adelaide and industry partner, Onswitch.

The new three-week elective will see final year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students visit pet care businesses across Australia and audit a wide range of business data and client feedback.

Students of the Veterinary Entrepreneurship and Business Elective with senior lecturer, Dr Adele Feakes

Dr Adele Feakes, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Practice Management with DVM students, from left, Jenelle Payne, Nathaniel Smith, Danielle Ong and Jennifer Du.

“By researching and building a comprehensive report with recommendations to help the practice improve its customer experience, student vets will experience first-hand the many elements required to run a successful practice,” says Dr Adele Feakes, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Practice Management from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

“It’s vital commercial experience that veterinary program students now have access to.”

The School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences - ranked 43rd in the world for veterinary science* - currently sends two students each year to the United Kingdom to take part in Onswitch’s Business Extra Mural Studies (BEMS) and customer experience congress. BEMS is a partnership with the University of Nottingham's School of Veterinary Medicine and Science.

“Having seen how valuable this real-world experience in the business aspects of practice is, we’re delighted to set up our own version here in Australia,” says Dr Feakes.

“Through this new program we can now offer more of our students exposure to this key aspect of practice life.”

As part of the partnership, Onswitch will provide a travel bursary of $150 per student for visits to practices in Sydney and the Gold Coast later this year.

Students of the new Veterinary Entrepreneurship and Business Elective

The students participate in a webinar with Onswitch founder Dr Alison Lambert.

“In the current climate of recruitment challenges for the veterinary sector, matching the vets of tomorrow with potential employers and giving both sides a chance to try each other out offers a genuine win-win situation,” says Onswitch founder Dr Alison Lambert.

"Here at Onswitch, we are big believers in 'growing your own' and have recruited several team members over the years after first meeting them through internships and electives.”

For more information on the Veterinary Entrepreneurship and Business Elective incorporating the Onswitch Business Programme (VEBE-OBP), please contact

* QS World University Rankings, 2019

Tagged in School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine, Engagement and Industry