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VetGDP – information for students

Your professional development and support programme for your first graduate job

When you start your first veterinary job after graduating, the priority will be to further develop your clinical and professional skills in the workplace, moving beyond 'day one competence' as you get more experience and confidence, laying the ground for a fulfilling veterinary career. VetGDP, being introduced from Summer 2021, will help you do just that.

What VetGDP means for you

Graduate vet

The programme will provide support during the early years of your career, taking a holistic approach to your professional development and will be driven by you, with the help of an experienced and trained workplace professional, known as a VetGDP Advisor.

This structured programme will enable you to ask for support and feedback in the areas you feel you need most, providing a meaningful programme that allows you to effectively develop your capabilities and confidence.

No matter what type of practice you work in (or if you decide to work in a different veterinary context), consistent support will be available to you, through time dedicated to you by your VetGDP Adviser.

More information

Earlier this year we held online workshops with final-year students in every vet school, and went through VetGDP in detail – what you can expect and what you need to do. We answered students' questions during the workshops and created FAQs for the most frequently asked. If you were unable to attend, you may find the answer to your question below

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Filter FAQs

Job hunting

  • VetGDP will apply to all veterinary graduates from summer 2021, so the practice or workplace you’re employed in need to either have signed up to the programme or be willing to do so.

  • Following our initial announcement of VetGDP we have received an extremely positive response from vets registering their interest in becoming a VetGDP Adviser. There are c.1000 veterinary graduates each year, and we are already well on the way to reaching an equivalent number of VetGDP Advisers. These vets are located throughout the four nations, and they have been on the Register for an average of 15 years so new graduates will benefit from their experience. We are monitoring these figures regularly and do not anticipate this being an issue. We will be recruiting on an ongoing basis to ensure that we have sufficient numbers of vets on board. We have meetings lined up with large employers, but equally we need to make sure that this is available for every practice, including smaller independent practices. There is more work going on to support practices if they feel as though they are going to struggle.

  • When you start looking for a job, some employers may indicate that they are an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice, either on their website, social media or other channels. If you don’t see this however, please don’t assume they’re not an approved practice, as they may be working towards it or just may not have advertised it yet. If they are not, ask them if they are happy to do so because you will need to complete VetGDP.

  • The introduction of VetGDP shouldn't stop you applying for any job. While we are rolling out VetGDP, we’d suggest you check with the practice/workplace about their approval status, as not everybody will have gained approval by the time you apply for a job. If the practice or workplace is still in the process of becoming an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice you can still work there, as they will be able to provide the support you need once they have completed the process.

  • Not in every role, although VetGDP is flexible enough to cover as many veterinary roles as possible. Government vets are included in VetGDP however if you undertake a PhD for example, then that probably wouldn't align.  If you have a particular role in mind and you are not sure whether VetGDP will apply, please email vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk  for clarification.

  • If a practice has a vet or vets who have started the VetGDP Adviser training, or indicate they are happy to sign up to VetGDP and support you then that’s fine – they don't need to have completed it for you to apply for or accept the job.

    If you ask a practice if they are willing to become an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice and they say no, there may be reasons why they feel they can’t and we will try to offer support. Our Education team can be contacted by emailing vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk.

    Please note
    The ongoing pandemic restrictions, specifically changes made by the government to veterinary professionals’ key worker status on 13 January, means that there are now added pressures on practice teams. We recognise this and, as such, we have updated the timeframe for completion of the training for VetGDP Advisers for this year.

    While we know that some people will be able to complete the online training quite quickly if circumstances allow, we also know that some people have additional commitments that mean training may take longer to complete.

    Instead of VetGDP Advisers needing to have completed the online training before the new graduate joins the workplace, we now require that the training has been started and is being actively engaged with, and will be completed as soon as circumstances allow.

    For 2021, we therefore expect that VetGDP Advisers will have completed their training by the end of December 2021. We also expect that graduates will be supported during their first months in practice, while vets are completing the online training.

  • The simple answer is no. We recommend that they try to complete the training within 3 months of you starting your job, so that you can start the programme quickly and they can provide the support quickly. It’s important to emphasise that this is not about closing the door on any employer. We want to ensure all graduates receive the support they need. If you apply for a job and they have signed up but not completed the training, as long as they are committed to doing it, the training is flexible. We will try to support them in doing that.

  • It depends on the internship. There’s no reason why interns can’t design their own Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) around an internship as it is still clinical practice, the EPAs would just be very different. While our bank of EPAs will cover the majority of situations, there will be areas that aren’t covered and so we will support VetGDP Advisers and graduates in developing an EPA if required.

  • We will need to consider this on an individual basis. Please email us at vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk so that we can look into your specific query.

  • Right now we’re focussed on getting VetGDP up and running for this year’s graduates in the UK. Our Education Committee has agreed that if somebody is returning to the profession and has been non-practising for 5 years or more then they should be doing VetGDP as well, although they can apply for exemption, depending on individual circumstances. In the longer term, it may be that overseas-qualified vets could benefit from the support offered by VetGDP as well and that is under consideration.

  • Generally yes. We have developed VetGDP to be flexible and to fit various roles including government veterinary roles, and some non-practice roles, as well as more typical practice veterinary jobs, but it will not suit absolutely every role. If there is no clinical element to your work you may find it difficult to complete the VetGDP. So if you go on to do a PhD for example, VetGDP wouldn’t be appropriate. However, it will be open and available if you go back to practice and want that support. If you have a specific query about your situation please email us at vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk.

  • Yes, the portfolio is with you, and all the reflections and progress updates will go with it and will be unique to you. If you change role you can take your VetGDP e-portfolio with you and sign in again with your new VetGDP Adviser. You can amend your EPAs if necessary. 

  • VetGDP will apply to all veterinary graduates from summer 2021, so the practice or workplace you’re employed in needs to either have signed up to the programme, or be willing to do so. Graduates already enrolled on PDP will continue with that until they finish it, but graduates in 2021 will not be able to enroll onto the PDP. There will be no option to defer to the PDP for 2021 graduates.

  • No. VetGDP will apply to all veterinary graduates from summer 2021 and you will not be able to defer to the PDP. The practice or workplace you’re employed in needs to either have signed up to VetGDP, or be willing to do so. If you ask a practice whether they are willing to become an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice and they say no, there may be reasons why they feel they can’t and we will try to offer support. Our Education team can be contacted by emailing vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk.

  • No. If you are already enrolled on the PDP you should continue with that programme until you have completed it.

Further details about VetGDP

  • One of the downsides to the PDP was it was one size fits all, whereas one of the key benefits of VetGDP is that it is personalised. You will be able to work through the aspects of your job and what’s relevant in your workplace which might be different to somebody else’s in a different job. In mixed practice your Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) would cover different aspects to those for, say, a government role or in equine practice.

  • We’re hoping VetGDP will provide greater consistency and help to develop a learning culture across the profession. There shouldn't be any stigma in having a VetGDP Adviser; in fact, it shows more professionalism to ask for guidance when you need it than to pretend everything is fine when it isn't. As a veterinary professional, you are in charge of your own progress and development. The VetGDP Adviser training will include how to deliver feedback effectively and how to provide support. VetGDP Adviser training will also demonstrate what is expected in this programme so your VetGDP Adviser will understand this.

  • There isn’t a cut-off date, and we deliberately haven’t designed it to be time-bound, but in a similar way to the PDP we would expect it to take around a year. However, some will progress more quickly and if you and your VetGDP Adviser both feel you have reached that stage you may submit your portfolio for peer review more quickly than that. Equally it is no problem if you take longer, particularly if part of your role has an unusual element that doesn’t happen very often.

  • The Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) are the framework that describe activities in your role and the vast majority will be very similar in different roles, but there will be some roles that are very specific in one area but have more depth, others in mixed practice may be broader. It is personal and self-directed so you can design your own programme to suit yourself and continue to do it until you are confident.

  • The e-portfolio will not be assessed for pass or fail. Following an initial screening within the RCVS Education department it will go to one of our panel of VetGDP Advisers who will peer review all e-portfolios.

  • Yes.

VetGDP in the Workplace

  • The training consists of around 20 hours of learning delivered online so it offers flexibility to vets taking part and we recommend that vets take around 3 months to complete it.

    While we know that some people will be able to complete the online training quite quickly if circumstances allow, we also know that some people have additional commitments that mean training may take longer to complete.

    Instead of VetGDP Advisers needing to have completed the online training before the new graduate joins the workplace, we now require that the training has been started and is being actively engaged with, and will be completed as soon as circumstances allow.

    For 2021, we therefore expect that VetGDP Advisers will have completed their training by the end of December 2021.

  • Once a practice/workplace is an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice/Workplace they will have a minimum of one trained VetGDP Adviser available to support graduates, but they won’t usually indicate how many VetGDP Advisers they have in total.

  • All VetGDP Adviser training is provided free of charge, although there will be the investment of time, approximately 20 hours, that vets will invest undertaking the training. The training can be counted towards CPD.