student handbook


Please be aware that students cannot undertake any components of their course work, including clinical work, on equines or other large animals.

This is due to government recommendations specific to training programs involving horses.  In 2009, a TAFE NSW student Sarah Waugh died after an accident that occurred whilst handling a horse as part of her Certificate III in Agriculture studies. The coroners report identified several safety concerns around her death, and this prompted ASQA to undertake an audit and review of safety in NRT equine programs and units.

The audit, completed in 2015, identified 10 recommendations for changes to training packages, programs and assessor competencies to improve safety for students working with equines. Even though we do not deliver equine programs, some of those changes affect ACVN programs and impact how we assess our students. 

The main outcome that impacted us was:

  • Recommendation 3: Any training that requires use of a horse has that horse undergo a safety audit from a qualified trainer prior to the horse being used, and after each use. 

In a clinical context, this is impossible for ACVN to provide. We cannot assess privately owned, unwell animals that present for veterinary care as this will delay their care, potentially compromising patient health.  For all ACVN or ACAC programs, as we do not primarily deliver equine based studies we do not have a certified person to undertake the safety audits. Equally, as a distance provider, we cannot ensure an appropriately qualified person to undertake safety audits in each student’s workplace. 

For further information, the ASQA report is available here.