Our New Graduate Programme aims to support graduates as they adapt to life ‘in the real world’. Jenna Hill recently graduated from the second year of the programme and tells us how she found it.
As we entered our final year of vet school, the university did help us prepare for finding a job by holding talks from potential employers and interview workshops. One of the talks was from CVS about its New Graduate Programme. I was interested in small animal work and soon realised that joining a programme such as this could help ease me into my veterinary career. The CVS Programme offered support and CPD opportunities in a variety of practices. The aspect that most appealed to me though was being part of a new graduate ‘community’ – I was only too aware that it wouldn’t be long until I had to leave my vet student friends and the support they provided behind.
I applied directly to CVS’ Studley Road Veterinary Surgery in Luton as I wanted to have easy access to London without living in the city. I was fortunate that they had a vacancy at the time and I was enrolled onto the New Graduate Programme in September 2013. At that time I was one of about 50 – though the numbers are increasing every year.
The core of the CVS New Graduate Programme is a series of CPD days consisting of seminars and practicals. Training is geared specifically to new graduates and only those on the Programme attend. This makes it easy to ask ‘stupid’ questions that you wouldn’t want to ask with more senior vets present. It also ensures the topics covered are relevant with many sessions also including a recap of things perhaps you feel you ‘should know’. Some of the courses last for two days providing opportunities in breaks and during the evening to chat with colleagues in the same position. In my experience, this is the best way to relieve stress, to learn from others and to remind yourself that you are definitely not alone!
My first year in practice was tough. It was a steep learning curve – and didn’t get much easier in the second year. Fees, time, responsibility and clients were almost completely new pressures which you don’t really have to think about when you are training. With the right support though, you do get through it and can really feel proud when you diagnose an interesting case or cope on your own with something that you never thought you could when you started out. Two years on, highlights of my working day come in so many different forms, from having a day where the team has worked really well together to signing off long term patients that have made a full recovery. Grateful owners always make the job worthwhile. The toughest moments are when there seems to be an endless list of things to do and limited time to get them done. With my team’s help, I always do!
The New Graduate Programme certainly supported my transition into the workplace and my learning in practice with CPD that was relevant and aimed at the right level.
It also gave me regular opportunities to take time away from the practice and to catch up with others also starting out in their career. This extra layer of support was invaluable. Accessing CPD which is company-organised and funded is also a benefit in that you don’t have to look for it all yourself and sort it out. It is done for you – something I found really helpful as I had quite enough on my plate when I started work without thinking about organising and funding CPD.
Having completed the second year of the New Graduate Programme I am keen to start a Cert AVP because I want to continue learning and developing. I am ambitious and feel encouraged in this goal. I will be transitioning onto the Certificate Programme shortly!