Following the Veterinary Schools Council’s (VSC) inaugural survey of veterinary employers in 2017, the veterinary schools have now joined forces with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to launch a new survey for employers of recent graduates.
The joint survey will aim to give employers a means of providing their insights on recent graduates from veterinary schools in the UK and Ireland, while reducing the number of survey requests that employers receive from individual veterinary schools.
It is hoped that the surveys will provide valuable information about graduate outcomes such as “preparedness for practice” and experience of the Professional Development Phase, against which any future changes in policy can be evaluated.
In the 2017 survey, employers commended the communications skills and empathy of graduates while rating them lower on financial and business management. The new survey will enable veterinary schools to see any shifts since that time.
In addition to the employer survey, the VSC is launching a parallel survey for graduates, providing further insights into how veterinary education can respond to the needs of the workplace.
Professor Ewan Cameron, chair of the VSC and an RCVS council member, said: “Two years ago we made a commitment to an improved and ongoing conversation with the employers of our graduates. Since conducting that first survey we’ve met with employers’ groups to discuss the findings, the veterinary curriculum and the complexities around areas such as emotional resilience.
“Vet schools and employers working together is part of optimising the transition for new vets into the workplace. Another key voice is that of the recent graduates themselves, which is why we are introducing a new national survey for three-to-five-year graduated vets as well. This desire to listen and adapt is how our vet schools became ranked among the very best in the world. We look forward to continuing the dialogue and helping to create the profession of tomorrow.”
Professor Susan Rhind, chair of the VSC education committee, added: “As educators we want our decisions to be evidence-based, so this survey will be invaluable to informing our work in readiness for practice. Over time we are hoping to build a full picture that reveals trends. This will provide a strong basis for the allocation of resources to certain areas, as well as direction for conversations with employers.
“As the workplace evolves so too must veterinary education. We’re very pleased to make the voice of employers a part of this process. The more people who respond to the survey, the more meaningful the insights will be.”
Professor Susan Dawson, chair of RCVS education committee, said: “A key component of the Graduate Outcomes project has been that the RCVS as regulator should work very closely with the vet schools so that they are working towards the common goal of making sure that veterinary graduates are the right fit for the profession and the improvement of that transitional stage.
“We are very glad to be working with the VSC on this survey, to ensure that we have relevant information against which the impact of future educational interventions can be measured. The honest and frank feedback of employers and graduates on how veterinary education is working – and where it is not – is vital for our aims.”