Skip to content

VetGDP – overview of changes

From summer 2021, the way that veterinary graduates are supported during their transition from vet school to their first job will change. New graduates will no longer enrol onto the Professional Development Phase (PDP) and will instead be part of our new structured programme of support, the Veterinary Graduate Development Programme, or VetGDP.

Vet GDP logo

VetGDP aims to support graduates in the further development of their clinical and professional capabilities, resilience and confidence, to establish a fulfilling career as a veterinary professional.

The programme will provide a meaningful and effective period of support for all veterinary graduates in the early years of their career, resulting in them developing into an assured, confident member of the practice team.

Developed after consultation with the UK veterinary professions, VetGDP recognises that while graduates are qualified vets and have demonstrated their achievement of the RCVS Day-One Competencies, a period of structured support in the workplace from a trained adviser will help them develop professionally, reduce anxiety and build lasting confidence.

With a focus on a consistent level of structured support that reflects everyday work and professional development, the programme will primarily be driven by graduates themselves, through the identification of cases or tasks they would most like support with or feedback on.

Core to VetGDP will be trained VetGDP Advisers, who will work on a one-to-one basis with veterinary graduates to provide support in the workplace.

Anyone wishing to employ veterinary graduates from Summer 2021 will need at least one trained VetGDP Adviser to provide developmental support to the graduate(s).

Any qualified vets who have been off the UK-Practising Register for more than five years will also be required to undertake VetGDP.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Filter FAQs

Find out more about VetGDP

  • From Summer 2021, all new veterinary graduates, regardless of the branch of the profession in which they are employed, will be required to enrol onto VetGDP once they are employed. 

  • Yes, VetGDP will replace the PDP for new graduate vets from Summer 2021. Any vets who are currently on the PDP will continue on that path. VetGDP will apply to any graduate vets employed from Summer 2021.

  • The new VetGDP is a completely new programme, and very different from the PDP. Following an evaluation of the PDP with graduates and other stakeholders, it was clear that the PDP was not achieving the levels of support needed by new graduates to help them develop their skills and confidence. Meaningful, holistic support was needed, to reflect the everyday work as a vet in all branches of the profession. 

    There is also an emphasis on building graduates’ confidence and resilience and supporting reflection.

  • No, graduate vets already on the PDP will continue, and it will not be possible to switch.

  • Yes, the VetGDP has been developed over the last two years in response to extensive feedback from the profession and stakeholders, through an evaluation of the PDP and also through the Graduate Outcomes Consultation with the UK veterinary profession. We sought to understand what would be of most benefit to new graduates and in turn, how they can best be supported in-practice. The research found 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 practice, with a focus on structured, meaningful support. The research also found that there needed to be flexibility to accommodate different veterinary roles and graduates driving the programme with appropriate support within the workplace; this informed the VetGDP Adviser role.

  • The VetGDP is designed to provide meaningful support to graduates in their new role. We appreciate the pressure that Covid-19 has placed on veterinary teams, as well as on veterinary students too. Because the focus of VetGDP is on developing graduates’ professional skills as well as clinical capabilities, we anticipate that they can reach a point where they feel assured and confident in practice allowing them to become an experienced and productive team member as quickly as possible.

    By providing an effective period of support for all veterinary graduates during the early years of their career, VetGDP aims to help qualified veterinary surgeons move beyond ‘day one competencies’ and develop professionally into a confident, capable, independent veterinary professional.

    It is also envisaged that, with a strong support network in the workplace and professional development guidance, the retention of vets in the practice where they complete VetGDP will increase.

  • While we know that there is excellent support available for graduates in many practices, we would encourage practices to be working towards their Practice Standards accreditation or equivalent good practice as a clear commitment to quality.

  • Yes, we will require vets who have been out of practice for 5 years or longer to take part in VetGDP. You will be notified when you apply to return to the Register.

    Please note there will be an opportunity for vets in certain circumstances to apply for an exemption from VetGDP, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis but will generally be for vets not going into clinical practice.