The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (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.

The new RCVS 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).

'A very clear story'

Dr. Sue Paterson, Chair of the RCVS Education Committee, explained:

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," she concluded.