Graduate Development Programme
Our award-winning Graduate Development Programme is designed to give you the best possible start in every way.
Vet Graduate Development Programme
Our award-winning Graduate Development Programme is designed to give you the best possible start in every way. So, as well as helping you develop your professional skills and commercial understanding, our comprehensive training covers the softer skills needed to care for pets and their owners. Join us, and with our ongoing support and emphasis on your wellbeing, you can realise and maintain your full potential.
What to Expect
This 2 year programme gives you hands-on surgical training as well as courses in subjects like cardiology, radiography and dermatology, and the confidence to put your knowledge into practice. It all comes together to make you an all-round better practitioner.
Build your future with us and you’ll have the best of both worlds, working in a locally managed practice, with the support network and stability of a large, successful business. Better still, when you’ve finished the programme there’s a career waiting for you, either with the practice you trained at or within our wider community.
Pets just see people. And just like pets, we embrace everyone’s differences. We work to break down barriers, attract and develop diverse talent, and create a culture that allows everyone to be the best they can be.
What can we offer you?
The Graduate Development Programme runs alongside a permanent job in one of our many supportive, passionate practices. Our 2 year programme officially launches each September, although many graduates start in practice prior to the programme start date or slightly after.
As standard we offer all the benefits you’d expect from a major employer (pension, healthcare, paid memberships. Life insurance, competitive salary etc.) plus a few more!
• 2 year programme, no financial/contractual tie-ins
• Guaranteed starting salary of at least £35,500 rising after each year on Programme
• Professional memberships paid – practice dependent
• Exclusive lifestyle and shopping discounts with up to 30% off at Pets at Home, Pet Plan insurance discount, cycle to work scheme and more
• Approximately 10 paid CPD days (clinical & non-clinical) per year
• Dedicated Vet GDP Advisor in practice and access to wellbeing support
• Fully funded London Vet Show tickets during the 2nd year on programme
• Access to our clinical academy for further development after programme completion
• Relocation and immigration support for overseas candidates - relocation packages from within or outside the UK, including visa sponsorship if wanted (we’re an A+ rated sponsor) – practice dependent
Our Graduate Team will work with you and support you, in matching you with one of our practices. You will have support from day 1 from your dedicated mentor in practice who will guide you through each step of your professional development, you will train on the job with a phased induction, at a pace that works for you, with regular reviews. You will also have access to over 1,300+ Vets within our online and clinical community.
We also believe support outside of your practice is crucial, our programme launches with a 2-day induction which is a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow graduates who have just embarked on the same journey, and also to network with lots of other colleagues from a variety of areas across the business. You will have access to your dedicated Graduate Team, we’re here to support you every step of the way, a Clinical Development Manager and Business Development Partner who are field based and regionally aligned, plus many more supportive colleagues, including a clinical community of more than 1,300
Find out what our graduates had to say about our Graduate Development Programme
I have really enjoyed the past 2 years as a vet and being part of the graduate programme. It has helped me to gain confidence and improve my practical skills. It was a very good opportunity to meet other new grads and to share experiences and find friends especially as I came to the UK from abroad.
The Graduate Development Programme has been very well run; with a good selection and range of CPD, which has helped massively with the transition into practice.
The structured CPD offering that is part of the Graduate Development Programme is fantastic! It gives great CPD targeted at the right level, for new grads and focuses on the most important skills.
During my time on the programme, being monitored by experienced vets and enjoying the case exposure has enabled me to transfer my theoretical knowledge into practice. After successfully completing the programme the JVP funded my certificate in small animal medicine and has been supporting me in my career development. I would highly recommend new graduates to apply, as they will benefit from the great support structure and development opportunities that the programme has to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click each question below to find out more information
Once we receive your application, we will invite you to have a chat with someone from our team so we can find out more about you and what makes you get out of bed in the morning. We want to learn about your experiences and understand what is the most important factor for you in finding the right practice.
Our priority is to find out about you as a person so we can help our Practice Partners best support you. We’ll also tell you more about our programme and answer any of your questions.
The next stage will be interviews with the Practice Partners. These could be face-to-face interviews or virtual interviews or both. No two practices are the same so these interviews are an ideal way for you to find the best fit for you and of course, for our Practice Partners to find the right grad for them. If you’d like any support with your interview, our graduate team are on hand to help.
Yes, absolutely! As long as you are eligible to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and can work in the UK as a vet, you can apply to the programme. We currently employ vets who come from 43+ countries and counting! We love the diversity our vets bring and actively encourage vets of all nationalities to apply.
If you’re from outside the EU, you will need to apply for a sponsorship visa. We have lots of experience supporting vets with sponsorship applications. Feel free to contact us on email@example.com with any questions.
You will be employed directly by the practice on a permanent basis. The two-year Graduate Development Programme runs alongside your job in practice, and is designed to support and compliment your role in your practice. Importantly, there are no financial tie-ins for you, and if you chose to leave your practice, you will work your notice period the same as any other vet. We hope that doesn’t happen, but we’re on hand to support you if you are considering moving on.
Absolutely! We understand that location is very important, and for some people location is their number 1 priority. We will work with you, in understanding which practices you wish to consider, and be open and honest about the opportunities available within those practices.
With almost 450 practices across the UK, we have a wide range of practices up and down the country that each year are looking to support a new graduate.
Whatever your preferences when it comes to your practice, we will work with you in putting you forward to the right practice.
Yes! Everyone who is part of our graduate development programme receives paid release form their practice to attend the programme’s CPD offering.
Because of the nature of our business model, no two graduates will have an identical benefits package, as this is agreed by each individual Practice Partner.
The minimum starting salary for a graduate on programme is £35,500, this will be uplifted each year on the programme.
You will be entitled to at least 28 days holiday pear year (including bank holidays), a competitive pension contribution, income protection and a number of other benefits that come with being part of a large group!
From summer 2021 onwards it is now a requirement that any practice wishing to recruit a new graduate, that they be an RCVS approved practice. To be RCVS approved, there must be a least 1 Vet in practice who is a trained VetGDP Advisor. This Advisor will at least 3 years experience of being a Vet in practice.
You will be assigned a clinical mentor from within your practice who is dedicated to supporting you with your clinical and personal development. You also have regular ‘development sessions’ with your Practice Partner and additional ‘check ins’ with a member of the graduate support team.
You have lots of support available to you across the group, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this huge network of people that are here and want to support you!
You have access to our dedicated Graduate Development Team, who are always here to support you right through from the point of application and beyond the programme.
You will be part of a community of other Vets that we be embarking on this journey with you! You will have the opportunity to catch up regularly at CPD events, and we encourage you to keep in touch via our closed Graduate Facebook page.
You will be assigned a graduate buddy and talent ambassador upon starting programme - these colleagues are volunteers because they want to support you!
We have an online clinical community of more than 1,000 vets, which means you’re never more than a click away from clinical support and advice, an extensive mentoring network, which lets you tap into clinical and non-clinical expertise.
We know that in the Veterinary profession the word wellbeing is mentioned regularly, but we are genuinely passionate about wellbeing, and it’s one of our core priorities for all colleagues!
Your wellbeing is really important to us, on starting the Graduate Development Programme, you will receive a tailored Wellbeing Guide and a gift as a little reminder to look after your own health and happiness.
approach to Mental Health and for all colleagues to feel like they have the support needed. We have over 600 colleagues trained as Mental Health First Aiders across the business and this number is growing weekly. We have a Facebook Wellbeing page, which is a great platform to share tips, support one another, and most importantly – have a laugh!
You will only work sole charge when you and your Practice Partner both feel you’re ready. One of our programme commitments is that this must be a mutual decision. Generally, this is agreed around six months into the programme, but for some of our graduates, it happens sooner or takes a little longer.
Vets for Pets and Companion Care are both part of the Pets at Home Vet Group. Prior to 2014, they were two separate businesses, but in 2014, Pets At Home (who already owned Companion Care) bought Vets for Pets, and they became part of the same group. Since then, all new surgeries have been Vets for Pets surgeries.
If you join our programme, you may work in a Vets for Pets practice or a Companion Care practice, but you will receive the same CPD, support and benefits regardless of where you work!
All About Us
About Vets for Pets and Companion Care
Vets for Pets and Companion Care are a large network of first opinion practices, providing full veterinary care from preventative healthcare, including healthcare checks and vaccinations right through to digital x-rays and operating theatres.
We have over 440 in-store and stand-alone practices across the UK, each one unique! Our practice model is special and gives everyone, including our Practice Owners, the best of both worlds. You’ll get to work alongside and learn from experienced vets who own and run their own practice with complete clinical freedom and the autonomy to do things their way whilst benefitting from being part of a large, respected organisation.
Pets at Home Group
Vets for Pets and Companion Care are part of the Pets at Home Group, who are the UK’s leading pet care business. Because pets are at the heart of everything we do, we believe that everyone who is a part of our group has a special responsibility to help keep pets happy, healthy and safe. Our retail colleagues are trained to standards which are endorsed by many of the leading animal care and charity bodies in the UK, and we are leading the way in regulating the pet grooming industry by working with accredited training providers to enable colleagues to train for certification in this profession.
Joining one of our +440 practices, you’ll train on the job with experienced Veterinary Partners, at a pace that works for you. We’ll find you a role that fits you, in terms of location and culture fit. And, with Vets for Pets and Companion Care practices of all shapes and sizes across the country, there’s a perfect place for everyone.
So, if you share our passion for delivering outstanding pet healthcare, exceptional customer service and would like to join our team, then we would love to hear from you.
For a confidential conversation or if you’d like more information before you apply then please contact Cagla by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly.
A little bit more about us...
Meet Leigh-Anne, one of our practice Partners
“Taking on new graduates is really rewarding. My aim is to get them on their feet, so they can spread their wings and fly"
And the award goes to…the 2023 Vets for Pets Vet Graduate Awards
"This year we hosted 30 esteemed Graduate Development Programme colleagues at our Handforth Support Office for the 2023 Graduate Awards. We were able to celebrate and recognise new graduates, the practices and colleagues that support them."
Meet Colchester Vets for Pets' incredible South African vet, Johan
Johan jumped at the chance of applying to our Graduate Development Programme after hearing about the opportunity from a friend
Award Winning Programme
Best Graduate Onboarding and Induction Activities Programme
In late 2020 we won an award from the Institute of Student Employers for the best Graduate Onboarding and Induction Activities Programme.
We are immensely proud of this award and were the first Vet Graduate Development Programme to have been recognised outside of the industry for the work we are doing in setting up future graduates for success!
Shortlisted for the BVA Young Vet Award
In October 2022, Kirsty French, who completed our Graduate Programme last year was shortlisted for the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Young Vet of the Year award.
Kirsty currently co-runs the industry leading sustainability work happening in her surgery at Vets4Pets Milton Keynes.
We are so proud of Kirsty’s achievements and excited to see what the future holds.
Finalist for Graduate Scheme of the Year
In November 2021 we were shortlisted as a finalist for the Graduate Scheme of the Year Award as part of the Personnel Today Awards.
We feel extremely proud of this achievement, and were delighted to be up there alongside some other really inspiring finalists!