The RCVS has launched a new information campaign to help veterinary practices and veterinary students prepare for a new graduate development programme that will provide a period of structured support to aid the transition of newly-registered veterinary surgeons from veterinary studies, to life in the workplace.
Our new Veterinary Graduate Development Programme (VetGDP), which will be replacing the Professional Development Phase (PDP), is starting in summer 2021 and has been developed in response to detailed feedback from the profession during the 2018-19 Graduate Outcomes consultation, which looked at how graduates could be better supported during their transition into working life.
One of the key changes will be the introduction of VetGDP Advisers for all new graduates enrolling onto the programme, to provide one-to-one support and advice to help build the confidence and skillsets of new vets. Practices wishing to employ veterinary graduates from summer 2021 will need to have at least one trained VetGPD Adviser in the workplace to ensure that this support is provided. This will involve a short, free online training course and will contribute to their practice being recognised as an RCVS-Approved Graduate Development Practice (for non-clinical settings they will be called RCVS-Approved Graduate Development Employers).
Dr Sue Paterson (pictured), Chair of our Education Committee, explains: “When we conducted the Graduate Outcomes consultation, one very clear message that came across from graduates was that they felt there was a need for more bespoke, hands-on and one-to-one guidance from a designated person in their practice. The role of VetGDP Adviser is to help graduates identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, to closely monitor and provide feedback on their performance, and to support them in finding their feet as a newly-qualified professional. We hope all this will help increase their confidence and competence and, crucially, ensure we are doing more to retain our young vets in the profession and that this investment in our young talent will, in turn, benefit practices and the profession at large.
“Ahead of the introduction of VetGDP next summer, we want to give the profession advance notice of the coming changes and ask members of the profession who have been on the UK-practising Register for at least three years, and who are passionate about supporting the next generation of vets, to consider becoming VetGDP Advisers. We will be introducing free formal online training for VetGDP Advisers from April 2021 but we are asking vets to register their interest as soon as possible so they can find out more about what the role will entail and how it will support new graduates.”
The training will comprise approximately 20 hours of e-learning using a mixture of different methods including case studies, reflective exercises and recorded presentations and will cover topics such as giving effective feedback to support, encourage and motivate; coaching techniques; the provision of guided reflection; goal-setting; reviewing progress; and mentoring. The training is being provided online by the RCVS and can be undertaken flexibly at any time, meaning that it can easily fit around an individual’s professional and personal commitments. It can also count towards the annual continuing professional development (CPD) requirement.
Once an individual has completed the training, and committed to providing the equivalent of at least one hour of support each week per graduate employed, they will receive VetGDP Adviser status. The role will include observing their graduate’s practice and providing feedback and guidance where appropriate.
Veterinary practices with at least one employed VetGDP Adviser will also be formally recognised as an RCVS-Approved Graduate Development Practice, which will indicate that they are able to employ new graduate veterinary surgeons and have the necessary support and development structures in place.
Dr Linda Prescott-Clements (pictured), our Director of Education, added: “Developing VetGDP has been a significant step forward in supporting graduates to establish fulfilling veterinary careers. I would like to thank all those members of the Graduate Outcomes Working Group, the Education Committee and RCVS Council who have been involved in putting together the programme, as well as all those veterinary professionals and students whose feedback was crucial in shaping the direction of travel.
“The programme recognises that the profession would like to see a range of ways to support graduates in the workplace, involving a balance between professional and clinical skills. The need was for a programme to reflect their everyday work and professional development in the workplace, with a much greater focus on structured and meaningful support. This support is crucial in developing them beyond their Day-One Competences into becoming confident, capable and independent veterinary professionals.
“As all new vet graduates from summer 2021 will be required to undertake the VetGDP, practices and other workplaces taking on new graduates will need to have at least one VetGDP Adviser and RCVS-Approved Graduate Development Practice status. The online training is not onerous, it is free of charge and takes approximately 20 hours; furthermore, it can be counted towards CPD hourly targets for the year. We envisage that the VetGDP Adviser role will be highly rewarding, with the personal satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to shape and support the next generation of vets.
“Please do make sure to take a look at the full range of resources that we have produced about VetGDP and familiarise yourself with the coming changes.”
To aid understanding of the VetGDP, the RCVS has produced a number of resources, including FAQs, further information for those who are interested in becoming VetGDP Advisers, and information for students, which can be found on the programme’s dedicated webpage.
From early 2021, we will be holding online video seminars with final-year veterinary students from all eight UK veterinary schools to discuss VetGDP in further detail.
Anyone with further questions about VetGDP should please contact our Education Department on [email protected]