New tricks! Stalwart farm vets feeling inspired about the future

New tricks! Stalwart farm vets feeling inspired about the future

EVEN with nearly a century of experience between them, a trio of farm clinical directors have proved they’re open to new ideas to help create a bright future for their practice.

Finbarr Kiernan, Stuart Gough and Alistair Crozier say their eyes have been opened and they have felt inspired from participating on the VetPartners senior farm leaders course.

The six-month programme is developed and managed by our Business Support Manager team and covers five modules – Leadership, People/HR, Strategy and Finance, Business Planning and Regroup (delegating and coaching).

VetPartners business support manager Fiona Andrew led the course and admitted it was refreshing to see three vastly experienced clinical directors want to learn new skills and being open to fresh ideas.

Fiona said: “It’s great to see that people still want to learn and are open to new ideas even when they have so much experience.

“Having three such experienced clinical directors on the course brought wider knowledge and they were able to contribute so much.

“Vets are very good at being vets but often haven’t received any training on the business side of running a practice and tend to learn things on the hoof. Now we are able to give them wider experience and insights and it was inspirational to see people still wanting to learn.”

Stuart, who is farm clinical director at Calweton Vets in Devon and Cornwall, qualified from the Royal (Dick) School in Edinburgh in 1993 – the year Manchester United became first champions of the new Premier League, the first high speed train travelled through the Channel Tunnel and Meatloaf had the biggest selling single.

He took a job at Calweton Vets and, as one of the previous owners and directors, helped to build up the practice before it joined VetPartners five years ago.

Stuart said: “I signed up for the senior farm leaders course as I’ve never done any formal business training. I’ve learned these things on the hoof and by making mistakes. You never know what you don’t know until you find out.

“I am always open to learning and adapting, and the course gave me an opportunity to find out more and challenge my business and leadership knowledge.

“What I enjoyed most about the course as sharing knowledge with my peers and getting to grips with HR aspects which are not my natural skillset. Creating an up to date business plan was a key element of the course that was of particular interest.

“If you think it’s time to stop learning then it’s time to stop. All skills are an ongoing organic process of learning and adapting.”

Alistair, who is Clinical Director at Parkside Vets in Dundee, grew up in Cumbria on a farm with pedigree cattle and sheep, and qualified from the Royal (Dick) Vet School in 1998. He joined Parkside Vets in 2002 initially as a mixed vet but within a couple of years he was focused entirely on large animal.

He said: “Our BDD recommended the course and I’m a firm believer in CPD because there is always something new to learn. I was keen to attend this course because I value our practice moving forward with VetPartners’ support. I can already see the opportunities for my colleagues now that we are part of a larger family of practices, more so than when we were an independent practice.

“I enjoyed meeting other Clinical Directors and central support team colleagues. It’s remarkable how similar all the practices are no matter their location, and the challenges we face are all very alike, so having a group of peers to chat things over with is invaluable.”

Alistair added: “The connections I was able to make with my peers and knowledge of the central office support and opportunities will help me move my practice forward as we integrate fully into the VetPartners family.

“There is always something new to learn and I find doing so keeps things fresh and so adds to my enjoyment of my job.

“Even with so many years of experience, we got a lot out of the course and would recommend it to other practice leaders at VetPartners.”

Finbarr, who works at Cavan Vets Farm Clinic in Ballinagh, County Cavan, is one of Ireland’s best know large animal vets.


For media enquiries, please contact Amanda Little, VetPartners PR and Communications Director at or 07970 198492