Aspiring student veterinary nurses can now start training earlier — as the lower age limit has been removed.

No-one aged below 17-years-old could train as a vet nurse previously, but the age limit has now been removed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in order to comply with age discrimination rules.

Libby Earle, head of veterinary nursing said: “We hope that the removal of this age barrier will be seen as a positive step that will serve to improve access to training. Practices remain free to recruit as they see fit to meet the particular demands of their business.”

The entry requirements — 5 GCSEs at C grade or above higher or 5 Scottish Standards at grades 1-3 (including English language, maths and a science) — remain the same.

A spokesman added: “There is no lower age limit, except they must have passed their exams, so if someone passes them at 15 there is nothing to say they can’t train — although this situation is unlikely.”

Candidates must also have a place with an RCVS-approved training practice or on a recognised veterinary nursing degree course.