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Edward Jenner Veterinary Leadership Programme

On 13 November 2018, as part of our Leadership Initiative, we launched the Edward Jenner Veterinary Leadership Programme - a free-to-access MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.

The programme has been developed in conjunction with the NHS Leadership Academy to encourage and support the development of everyday leadership skills for veterinary professionals, and is based on a version used in human medicine that over 55,000 people across the globe have accessed.

How to register

The programme is hosted on the well-regarded FutureLearn online learning platform and comprises 2 free-to-access courses and an optional paid for assessment.

We are currently waiting for confirmation from the NHS Leadership academy on the date of the next course run. Please register your interest to join this programme, and we will alert you when the next course sign-up is available.

Register your interest

Please note: there is no obligation to pay for ‘Professional Credential Programme’ or to upgrade the course unless you wish to access the course material indefinitely, receive certificates for the individual courses or undertake the assessment. Participants can record CPD hours whether or not they opt to upgrade.

Those completing the Professional Credential Programme will be eligible to receive an Award in Leadership Foundations from the NHS Leadership Academy.

For more information see the FAQ section of this webpage.

Why take the programme

In the video below former RCVS President Amanda Boag, who heads up RCVS Leadership Initiative, introduces the programme and gives her reasons why the profession should engage with it:

Register to join this programme on FutureLearn

What's involved?

This leadership development programme is suitable for all veterinary professionals and covers key concepts such as:

  • the importance of leadership in the veterinary setting, along with the art of good leadership and decision-making;
  • how to be a more confident and effective leader, and develop an inclusive leadership culture in your workplace;
  • active reflection and application of leadership skills to your professional life.

The programme is delivered entirely online and you can work through the course at your own pace, whilst engaging and discussing learning with fellow online learners.

Course structure

The programme comprises 2 courses and an optional paid for assessment.

Course One: ‘Your Leadership Self’

This course explores the concept of leadership, why it matters, the types of issues faced by leaders, and why you are already a leader.

The course is delivered over 4 weeks and requires around 6 hours study per week.

In this course you will cover:

  • An introduction to the method of study, the course and the other courses that make up the Edward Jenner Leadership for Veterinary Professionals program
  • The elements of good decision making
  • The types of issues leaders face
  • The concept of leadership
  • Why leadership matters
  • What makes good leadership
  • How to reflect on and evaluate insights into yourself

You can learn more about the ‘Your Leadership Self’ course here.

Course Two: ‘Developing Leadership Foundations'

Develop the foundations of your leadership practice through understanding more about yourself and the impact you have on others.

The course is delivered over 6 weeks and requires around 4 hours study per week.

Detailed information will be available on this course shortly before it opens in January 2019.

Optional Assessment: ‘Sharing Your Learning’

If you opt to undertake the assessment stage you will join colleagues undertaking the human medicine version of the course and will be asked to submit a portfolio of 4 reflective blogs on the leadership difference you have made through your learning on the programme.

The final portfolio is designed to evidence your understanding of the leadership through the impact you can demonstrate. Drafts of your portfolio are peer reviewed on the course and your final portfolio is assessed by experts at the NHS Leadership Academy.

Passing the final portfolio and successfully completing the program provides the professional recognition associated with the NHS Leadership Academy Award in Leadership Foundations.


Accompanying the programme's courses is an audio drama featuring veterinary professionals living in the fictional County of Glenvern. You can hear their stories unfold, and learn from and reflect on the issues and challenges they encounter in their day-to-day lives.

Pilot Feedback

Almost 550 vets and vet nurses have piloted the first course in the programme. Here you will find some of their feedback along with comments about impact it has had on their working lives:

I really enjoyed this course! I feel like my perspective on personal growth and self-awareness has been shifted. The learning models presented were new to me and I think they are invaluable tools. This is a wonderful course for vets at all stages of their career.

Audrey Ruple DVM, MS, PhD, DipACVPM, MRCVS
Assistant Professor of One Health Epidemiology, Purdue University

This has been a great experience, I have looked forward to spending the time out to do it. It hasn't felt like a course but an interactive learning exercise that has given me time to reflect on myself and how I can impact on others, it has also helped me accept who I am and how I am developing in my role.

Sally Coles (an RVN, qualified for 17 years)

An invaluable learning resource that I believe could enhance the careers of both experienced and newly-qualified vets; whether in practice and in other roles in wider society. It has given me real insight on how to view myself and how others may view me as a leader. The examples demonstrated realistic challenges faced by vets at various stages of their careers and challenges the individual to reflect and thereby learn by their own responses. I would definitely recommend it.

Andrew Smerdon BVSc MRCVS 
Veterinary Advisor, Advice Services, Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the programme count towards my CPD?

Yes it does. We estimate that the 2 free courses each represent 24 hours of CPD – equating to 48 hours in total. Additional CPD can be recorded if you choose to continue with the programme by undertaking the optional and final assessment section. 

What accreditation does the programme have?

If you choose to undertake the fully upgraded programme, including passing the final assessment, it will lead to an NHS Leadership Academy award in Leadership Foundations.

What do I get if I choose to pay for the optional assessment?

The first 2 courses are entirely free and give you access to the full learning materials associated with these.

However, there are 2 elements of the programme you can upgrade if you decide. First, you can upgrade the 2 courses. Doing so would give you unlimited access to the course material for as long as the course exists. This enables you to return to the subject whenever you would like. Additionally, you will receive a certificate of achievement once you have completed the 2 courses. This option costs £38.

Second, if you have upgraded the 2 courses you can then complete the final assessment. The assessment tests your knowledge of the subject. There is a further charge to complete the final assessment – doing so costs £39. Successfully completing this assessment will lead to the NHS Leadership Academy award in Leadership Foundations, which is a professional credential.