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RCVS changes completion timeframe for VetGDP

30 November 2023

The RCVS Education Committee has reviewed the guidance and timeframe for completing the Veterinary Graduate Development Programme (VetGDP).

The VetGDP should take between 12-to-18 months to complete, and it has therefore been agreed to shorten the timeframe for completing it from three years to 18 months, in order to ensure that engagement with the programme is maintained, and that it is completed in a timely manner. The changes will come into force from 1 January 2024 and affect anyone who enrols on the VetGDP after that date.

As the programme is estimated to take up to 18 months to complete, it will also count as 18 months of CPD, or 52.5 hours.

The VetGDP provides an effective period of workplace-based support for all veterinary graduates to aid them in the transition from being a veterinary student, to the world of veterinary work. The change in the timeframe for its completion was recommended by the VetGDP Subcommittee, which comprises employers and recent graduates and is chaired by RCVS President Sue Paterson.

Jenny Soreskog-Turp, RCVS Lead for Postgraduate Education, explained: “The Subcommittee reflected on their experience of working with new graduates and felt that graduates would often come up against a ‘fatigue’ with any training programme once they were past the initial momentum of a new role. The experience of the Subcommittee also suggested that graduates would benefit more from support from their VetGDP Adviser, in the first 12-18 months.

“Therefore, it was felt that, by reducing the amount of time for completion, the VetGDP would be able to maintain a high level of engagement and momentum with the new graduate, while reducing the amount of ‘drift’ away from the programme that could happen with the longer, three-year deadline.

“There will, however, be some inbuilt flexibility and if anyone feels they may struggle to complete the VetGDP programme within 18 months we are more than happy to discuss this with them and their Adviser.”

The 18-month deadline for new graduates to complete the VetGDP will start from when they and their VetGDP Advisers have confirmed their entrustable professional activities (EPAs), meaning that new graduates who don’t go straight into work won’t be penalised. There would also be an extension system in place for those who might struggle to complete the VetGDP within 18 months, for example, because of illness.

Those who need further information about the VetGDP should visit the programme's dedicated webpage or email [email protected]

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