“By having the veterinary graduate programme, it set us apart from the competition”
Kieran O'Mahony, Owner & Vet, Glen Veterinary
The Challenge – Highly skilled vets to meet customer and business needs
Glen Veterinary were in expansion mode to meet customer and market demands from the Tipperary based veterinary practice. The challenge faced by Kieran O’Mahony, Owner of Glen Veterinary, and his team was how to find skilled vets who could step in and help develop the business into a leading veterinary practice in Ireland.
According to Kieran, it was really important that the business could recruit highly skilled vets and be in a position where they can move from the theory of what they learned at college to facing a real situation in the practice.
“New graduates coming out of college are well-trained and educated people but It’s the hands-on experience that they lack,” said Kieran.
The Solution – Structured graduate programme combining theory with practice
A structured veterinary graduate programme was developed by XLVets Skillnet in 2017 and it is available to all new and recent veterinary graduates. It is a comprehensive programme broken up into a mix of 13 practical and theory-based modules, providing essential continuing professional development for new graduates and first job in practice.
According to XLVets Skillnet Network Manager, Denise Duggan, the development of the programme and its growth is a direct response to listening to its member businesses and the challenges they are facing on a daily basis.
The graduates gain insight and exposure into core areas including bovine, companion animal, ovine, equine and communication, encouraging them to develop and enhance multiple competencies.
Kieran said: “The lectures and practical demonstrations are delivered by qualified experienced vets. These vets have the real-life knowledge that maybe you don’t get in books and that’s a huge benefit to a new graduate.”
Once vets did enter the practice, Glen Veterinary had an opportunity for those to upskill. “By meeting Vets from other veterinary practices, they can see how other practices do it and see how their peers are learning to do it. It’s a very important part of the development of a vet.”
Denise says: “Being part of Skillnet Ireland it essentially allows us to keep our finger on the pulse and we can really drill into what veterinary practices really need.”
The Outcome – Stand apart from the competition while adopting best practice
Glen Veterinary has recruited highly skilled vets from the programme which has allowed the practice to expand and adopt best practice putting them ahead of the competition.
Kieran highlighted the impact the programme has had on recruitment and growth of the business: “By having the veterinary graduate programme it set us apart from the competition. We could offer something this programme to potential vets that other practices couldn’t. Any investment I have made on the veterinary graduate programme be it time wise or monetary has been paid back in spades. I see the benefits everyday – the benefits in my practice and its growth and the benefits of the growth of my young vets.”
“With the world of veterinary medicine evolving at a rapid rate it is important for us to have XLVets Skillnet there to provide us with options for training that we can train ourselves and our staff to provide the services that our patients and their owners expect,” he said.
Laura O’Connor, who completed the graduate programme and is now a full-time vet at Glen Veterinary, said: “After doing the programme there are certain things that I would have been daunted by prior to the programme that now I am a bit more confirmed to give a go and try. It’s taken the fear out of certain parts of veterinary and it’s definitely added to my knowledge that I would have had coming out of college and it’s put a practical spin on all the knowledge that I would have had.”
Denise highlighted the hugely positive feedback XLVets Skillnet members have shared with the network as a result of engaging with the programme.
“The programme has been hugely positive for our veterinary members. Time and again we get the feedback that it is the different between hiring and not hiring. It really has had a huge impact” she said.
XLVets Skillnet is developing further programmes in areas like sustainability which are critical to the future of the sector.
Denise notes: “We consider the challenges our member companies are facing and with that we’re always looking to develop bespoke programmes in key areas like sustainability, leadership, talent development, digitalisation and clinical skills.”
Click on the link to learn more about the Graduate Programme at XLVets Skillnet