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Call to Arms as the Veterinary Class of 2017 Starts Work

Veterinary practices nationally are reporting a severe shortage of experienced clinical staff with some vacancies open for longer than 12 months. As a result, many are turning to new graduates to fill the gaps.

Now, as the class of 2017 is about the enter the workforce, is the time to take stock of how you will manage this young talent - so it stays within the profession.

But the relationship between practice and graduate is fragile and needs to be handled with greater care than we’ve seen previously or risk deepening the current crisis as young vets burn out and leave the profession for good.

One of the problems we face is that many of us (practice owners and managers) like to blame some common external causes for the situation the profession currently faces with many citing feminisation, university recruitment policies and even millennial attitudes to work as the cause of the talent drain.

But I have a different opinion about what is going on and shared this alongside research from recent RCVS manpower survey to help move the discussion forward in a webinar I gave on Wednesday 5th July titled “Unleash The Power Of The Next Veterinary Generation”.

During the webinar, I revealed what the major problems we really face as employers of new graduates are and how you can overcome them to help your new graduate get off to a great start. (Plus become profitable in 6 months or less.)

Topics covered included:

1. What motivates people (not just new graduates). 2. What I believe is really behind the veterinary employment crisis. 3. What new graduate vets really want in their first job. 4. How to be a great host practice and leader/role model for the next generation and stop the talent drain.

Early on in the webinar I ran a poll just to try to get a sense for what percentage of practices were struggling with this issue, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the result... 64% of those on the call had experienced a 5-12 month delay in hiring an experienced vet, with 17% never filling the role. That’s what I call a big problem.

There were three reasons for holding this event (aside from the fact that it’s an issue that I’m passionate about having mentored new vets for over a decade.)

Firstly, to debunk some of the beliefs we cling to that disempower us and prevent us from taking action to solve the clinical talent shortage problem. (The external forces of darkness that we blame for things that happen to us.)

Secondly, to highlight some actions that you can take to create a more positive workplace culture where people never want to leave. (OK, so never might be over-egging things a little).

And finally, I introduced a program that is going to change the way we care for the next generation of vets as they enter the workforce forever. It’s my graduate accelerator and mentoring program called VetX.

VetX is a 12-month program of intensive online support for new or recent graduates. It is part training (VetX members receive monthly training in the life skills required to be a great vet and team member), part mentoring, part peer support network and part reflective self-study.

The course compliments perfectly whatever in-house clinical training program you have for your new graduates. Both combined ensure your graduate gets the two things they crave the most - support and the chance to learn and grow.

The main reason I think you should enroll your new graduate vet onto this program is that we all know that veterinary practices are very hard places to carve out the time required for monthly mentoring and training. Though we set out with good intentions, reality bites and before you know it, three months have slipped by and your graduate is not getting the support they need or were promised.

If you missed the webinar then I’ll have a replay available in a few days which will be exclusive to my email news list subscribers and Facebook page followers. (So sign up and follow me if you are not already doing so).

In the meantime, if you think VetX sounds like a good fit for your plans with your graduates and you can see how this program will help your practice stand out from the crowd by offering membership as a benefit of employment (CPD funded of course) then please head over to and you can see the full course detail.

I expect this program to be very popular and to ensure the graduates get the best support possible the VetX class of 2017 will be limited to 50 graduates. Even before I launched this yesterday some practices had learned about what I was working on and pre-registered their places so I’ve sold almost 20% of the places already.

VetX 2017 starts Sept 1st, 2017 and I expect the class enrollment to be full in the next 30 days. So please, if you are interested, go to read the course prospectus and then complete the payment to reserve your graduate a place on the program.

Or simply click here to drop me an email to express your interest.

To your ongoing success,

Dr. Dave.

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