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RCVS publishes new guidance document to help practices prepare for VetGDP this summer

By 19/03/2021No Comments

A new, comprehensive guidance document setting out what practices need to know about our forthcoming Veterinary Graduate Development Programme (VetGDP) has been published ahead of its rollout in summer 2021.

The VetGDP replaces the previous Professional Development Phase (PDP) and aims to support new graduates in the further development of their clinical and professional capabilities, resilience and confidence, and to establish a fulfilling career as a veterinary surgeon. It will do this through providing a meaningful and effective period of support during the early years of a graduate’s career.

The introduction of VetGDP means that practices that wish to employ new graduates will need to commit to becoming an RCVS-approved Graduate Development Practice, with a VetGDP Adviser in place who can provide one-to-one support for new veterinary graduates to further develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in the workplace.

Although VetGDP officially starts this summer, practices who employ graduates this year will have until December 2021 to achieve the status, provided they have someone who has started and actively engaged with VetGDP Adviser training and that the VetGDP Adviser and practice have committed to supporting their new graduate.

In preparation for this, the new guidance (available to download from our Publications page) includes information practices need to know in order to get ready for VetGDP, including the programme structure, how to implement the scheme, further information about the online e-portfolio graduates will need to complete and the process for completion of the programme.

Particularly important are the details about the critical role of the VetGDP Adviser, as each participating practice will need to have one in place. The guidance includes information for prospective VetGDP Advisers on the types of support activities they should be prepared to provide for their new graduate, and details about the e-learning which all VetGDP Advisers will undertake to prepare them to do this.

Following feedback from the profession, the guidance also introduces a new locum VetGDP Adviser role. This role will provide support to graduates in practices or workplaces in exceptional circumstances, for example where the VetGDP Adviser has left unexpectedly and cannot be replaced straight away. When prospective VetGDP Advisers start the e-learning they will also have the option to volunteer to become a locum VetGDP Adviser to provide support to graduates in that situation, within their local area.

At the meeting of RCVS Council on Thursday 18 March, members also approved changes to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct to reflect some of the new obligations for veterinary graduates, VetGDP Advisers and other veterinary colleagues under the programme.

This guidance makes clear that the programme is led jointly by the graduate and their VetGDP Adviser who has agreed to be the primary person providing support to the graduate(s) enrolled in the VetGDP in their workplace. The practice/workplace, via the senior veterinary surgeon, also has a responsibility for allowing the graduate and VetGDP Adviser protected time for support activities.

Susan PatersonDr Sue Paterson FRCVS (pictured), Chair of our Education Committee, said: “VetGDP builds on what we all do in practice every day when we have a new graduate – we build their confidence by starting with simple, straightforward tasks, and move through to more complex tasks as their knowledge and experience grows. The VetGDP will support graduates through that process while also providing the VetGDP Advisers with the appropriate skills and knowledge to maximise that support.

“The transition from being a student to a veterinary graduate can be truly daunting and I certainly remember in my first few months of practice how important the support of a more experienced colleague was, to help me reflect and learn from my mistakes, as well as celebrate my successes.

“Working with their VetGDP Adviser, new graduates will be able to decide where they want to focus and where they need support. It will enable the graduates to hone their skills in all the day-to-day activities they need to do in practice. Building their confidence means they will develop more quickly into competent, resilient members of the veterinary team.

“This new and comprehensive programme guide will provide practices with an overview of what they need to do to prepare for their veterinary graduate recruitment this summer and demonstrate how VetGDP will benefit all parties – the graduate, the practice, the wider profession and the animals we care for.”

To complement its publication, we will be holding an interactive workshop on the VetGDP guidance, with time dedicated to answering any questions that practices and members of the profession may have. This will be held online at 12pm on Wednesday 31 March and will also be recorded for those who are unable to attend live.

You can register for the event on its dedicated webpage and will be able to submit questions in advance during the registration process, as well as asking questions during the event.

The guidance can be downloaded in PDF format from our Publications webpage

Those with any questions about VetGDP should contact the RCVS Education Team on [email protected]


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