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Is your practice right for new graduates?
By 2020, millennials are expected to make up 50 per cent of the workforce.
How to recruit, support and retain millennials

There has been a lot of discussion about millennials and how different they are from other generations. If this is the case, how do we attract, recruit and retain these new graduates in veterinary practice?

Currently the UK workforce is made up of 40 per cent millennials (aged 20-40); 30 per cent ‘generation X’ (aged 35-49); and 30 per cent ‘baby boomers’ (aged 50-70). By 2020, millennials are expected to make up 50 per cent of the workforce.

Speaking at SPVS/VMG Congress in Newport, vet Catriona Curtis looked at the positive aspects of these new millennial graduates - they are tech savvy, knowledgable, enthusiastic, flexible and inclusive. She also explored the more challenging aspects, such as fear of litigation, less settled lives, impatience and reduced loyalty.

A panel of recently qualified veterinary surgeons shared their experiences of their first year in practice, and what they each felt they brought to their respective workplaces.

Their definition of a ‘good practice’ for new graduates was one that gave support, encouraged new vets to ask questions, provided clinical support and open communication and only gave new graduates responsibility when they were ready.

Delegates also shared their views on what a new graduate should be like. Valued qualities included a positive attitude, confidence, drive to succeed, willingness to embrace practice culture, commercial awareness and an understanding that colleagues are there to help.

Catriona talked about the process of employing a new graduate in terms of attracting, recruiting, ‘on boarding’, supporting and retaining.

Attracting
It is important to consider how your practice appears to others and to proactively attract new vets by going to careers days, being involved with extra-mural studies and having an attractive, up-to-date website. New graduates often do not want to do out of hours and are looking for flexibility, mentoring and career development from their prospective practices.

Recruiting
Cat's advice was to use recruiting websites as well as veterinary journals, and to really explain the practice and the job in the advert. The interview should be planned carefully and the ideal type of person required should be understood, with selection criteria listed. It is also important to explain the package offers in full - e.g. holidays, benefits, CPD allowance etc.

On boarding (induction)
This varies tremendously between practices, but it should be planned and carried out to the full if it is to really have any benefit.

Support and retention
Cat stressed the importance of regular reviews and feedback and the need for new graduates to be mentored.

She concluded by explaining: “Their ‘day’ is different from your day” and you must embrace this if recruiting the new graduate is to be a success for both you and them.

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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News Shorts
Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.