XLVets Skillnet Launches Graduate Mentor Programme

On Wednesday 8th November at UCD Veterinary College, XLVets Skillnet launched a new 2 year Graduate Mentor Programme for newly qualified veterinary surgeons working in farm practice.

A first of its kind for the veterinary sector, the programme is modelled on similar initiatives offered to new recruits in large corporates. It is seen as an important component in the so-called war for talent, as veterinary graduates are faced with competing employment choices from industry and abroad.

XLVets Skillnet Launches Graduate Mentor Programme

XLVets Launch Night at UCD

Keynote speaker at the launch, Michael Creed TD and Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine referred to the recently published National Farmed Animal Strategy to note that “Veterinary Services’ availability and capability are critical components of Ireland’s animal health and welfare system – from supporting improved productivity, ensuring animal welfare, protecting public health and responding to exotic animal disease”.

Minister Creed noted it is vets who “join the dots” between all these vital functions and he acknowledged XLVets Skillnet for initiating a programme that supports the resilience and adaptive capability of the veterinary sector.

As veterinary practices deal with the growing challenge of attracting sufficient numbers of new veterinary graduates to meet the demand for veterinary services, Nicholas Garvey Chairman of XLVets Skillnet noted that the programme is designed “to enable a smooth transition from understanding veterinary as a science to practicing veterinary as an art, through a blended curriculum of practical training and mentoring delivered by panel of experienced veterinary mentors and clinical experts”.

Skillnets CEO, Paul Healy in highlighting the relevance the programme to the national skills agenda, noted that it “reflected everything that Skillnets stood for in terms of supporting the competitiveness of SMEs”. In particular, he complimented the initiative for not narrowly focusing on clinical skills development but also “for fostering the character, confidence and competence of new veterinary graduate, thereby building their personal capacity to be effective in the real world of work”.

Building on this theme, Conor Geraghty, Veterinary Ireland Food Animal Chairman also welcomed the programme as “an investment by XLVets Skillnet in the building of human capital”. He noted that vets work in increasingly complex situations where there is a need to consider “not just clinical symptoms but also the behaviour of the animals, the psychology of the farmer, soil quality, farm infrastructure and local climate when devising effective interventions that can be implemented”. Speaking in the context of the challenge with antimicrobial resistence Geraghty noted that “the competencies targeted by the Graduate Mentor Programme will facilitate the shift towards preventative veterinary medicine”.

XLVets Skillnet has taken a leading position in addressing the challenges facing the next generation of veterinary surgeons and the farming sector that depends upon veterinary services.

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