Companion Care vets graduate development programme

Companion care grad programme
Companion Care Vets launched its graduate development programme last year. 7 graduates have joined the scheme: 5 from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, 1 from the Royal Veterinary College, London, and one who studied at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Recruitment process

Each candidate was put through a rigorous recruitment process which was devised by the group's human resources team, and has been placed at one of Companion Care's established and modern surgeries. They work as part of a small, dedicated team providing a personal and professional service to patients and clients in local communities. Their placement will equip them with an understanding of the entire business, from clinical to personal aspects, commercial to management.

"This programme is about finding and developing people who will become the future partners of our business"

Jane Balmain, the managing director of Companion Care Vets, explains: ‘This programme is about finding and developing people who will become the future partners of our business – graduates who are passionate about providing the best level of pet healthcare and customer service. Our new graduates are working alongside experienced veterinary professionals and are offered the opportunity to put into practice the theory learned at university.

‘A big part of the scheme is to help graduates obtain and develop a rounded view of the business by exposing them to different experiences and day-to-day work activities that are designed to enhance their skills and develop personal attributes.’

Learning and development

The programme will help the graduates to develop their veterinary, personal, commercial and management skills in a structured yet flexible way to meet their individual needs. The placement will last for three years, and each graduate will be closely mentored throughout that period.

All the graduates are placed in a practice from day 1 to build up their clinical experience. Their clinical learning follows the framework developed by the RCVS as part of the Professional Development Phase. Coaching and support are provided by an experienced veterinary surgeon.

Business support is provided through secondment to the group's support services departments, as well as through theoretical learning in the form of classroom-based management training courses. Every graduate is assigned a dedicated management mentor. The extensive training includes:

  • Resourcing
  • Performance management
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Regular assessment and reviews
  • Extensive, structured clinical CPD aligned with Companion Care competencies.

After the programme

Once the graduates have completed the three-year programme, they will have the opportunity to take on a permanent full- or part-time position. There is also potential to open and manage their own practice, with full clinical freedom and the added benefit of the support of expert teams in human resources, information technology, finance, marketing, practice resources and operations. These practice opportunities are available inside Pets at Home stores or on a standalone basis.

‘Being a vet affords enormous opportunities to build a successful business that provides satisfaction, financial reward and work-life balance. Our graduates will be given every opportunity to blossom as an integral part of our team,’ Jane Balmain says.

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