The sky’s the limit for new grads

The sky’s the limit for new grads

VETPARTNERS has four graduate programmes – small animal, equine, farm, and mixed practice – which are tailored to provide newly qualified vets with everything they need to thrive as they begin their career in practice.

The programmes build upon the knowledge and skills learnt at university and help provide new graduates with all they need to develop into happy and confident vets.

Whether working in their first small animal, equine, farm or mixed practice role, our graduate vets are a determined and incredibly talented bunch – the sky’s the limit!

Here, Sky Tetlow, farm vet at Cross Counties Farm Vets in Northampton, shares how the VetPartners Farm Graduate Programme has boosted her confidence in her first role.


Why did you decide to do the VetPartners Farm Graduate Programme?

When I first heard about the programme I was immediately intrigued as it sounded like the perfect way to begin my career. I especially liked the idea of having the opportunity to meet other graduates who are in a similar position to myself as I thought it might help with making me feel less alone as I entered the world of working in practice.


What is the support like whilst you are on the programme?

Support has been amazing so far and I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming practice team to begin my career with. I have regular meetings with my graduate development mentors, Alexandra Rowley and Jessica Swiestowska, who are clinical directors at my practice. These are great opportunities to discuss any cases I’m working on as well as my clinical progression. It’s also nice to just have a general catch up too.

The vets who run the CPD sessions are another great source of support on the programme. You can tell they are all enthusiastic about the topics they’re teaching and are also great to go to for advice if you’re struggling with a particular area that they have expertise in.

Another way I feel supported is although I feel trusted to fulfil the expectations of my role, there’s always someone there to back me up if I feel I need support or a second opinion on something.

I find the practice I work at to be a really encouraging environment where everyone works together to build up morale and team spirit. I’m really glad I’m lucky enough to work in such a positive team who make even the most difficult of days feel lighter.


What is the learning experience like?

It’s been really great so far and jam packed with an array of topics. The programme kicked off with the farm graduate boot camp which was a residential weeklong course full of practical sessions and lectures covering how to approach common cases across the farm species. Two of the practical sessions I found the most useful were fetotomy and another on digit amputation.

Throughout my first year on the programme, we’ve had in-person CPD sessions about once every two months with the same group of about 20 graduates. The CPD sessions are over two to three days and each over a different topic. For example, I found the scanning course really useful and this one was over two consecutive days and covered transrectal ultrasound scanning at a selection of Cornish dairy farms.

Another CPD session I found particularly helpful was the one on post-mortems. Although I had performed a few post-mortems beforehand, they were to varying degrees of success. The CPD included a demonstration and an in-depth discussion on common pathology to be aware of and how to collect samples. Fallen stock if used properly can provide valuable information to benefit our clients and their animals and is now an area of expertise I am much more confident to offer during my clinical work thanks to the CPD session.

I’ve found the CPD sessions extremely useful, and I am looking forward to upcoming sessions on infectious disease and parasitic control in grazing youngstock which I’m sure will also be very insightful.


Has meeting other graduates helped you navigate your first practice role?

There have been a lot of opportunities to network, collaborate with and meet other like-minded graduates on the programme and I’ve found this incredibly helpful. I would even say the social element has arguably been the most valuable aspect of the programme for me.

I’ve found making friends and sharing experiences with other graduates who are in the same situation as me comforting and something I’m really thankful for if I’m ever having a hard day. Having someone to talk to can make all the difference and I think prioritising wellbeing and mental health in our profession is so important, especially for those of us who are just starting out in the industry.

As well as making new connections, I’ve even kept in touch with some of my friends from university as a few of them are amongst the new graduates in my CPD sessions, so it’s been fun to continue learning alongside them too.


Would you recommend the VetPartners Farm Graduate Programme to others?

 Yes, without a doubt! From building connections with other graduates to being an extremely valuable resource to support you whilst you’re navigating your first role in practice, it’s been amazing so far and I’m looking forward to my second year on the course. The CPD provides knowledge above and beyond university teaching and has been really beneficial in helping equip me for my daily working life.

The support network and opportunities the programme opens you up to have also been invaluable whilst I’ve been finding my feet in my first role as a farm vet. I also found that the support and sense of community is similar in a way to being at university which has helped bridge the jump from education to clinical practice.

If you’re considering the VetPartners Graduate Programme I would say go for it as it really does add that extra layer of support to your learning and clinical progression in your first couple of years in practice.


Sky graduated from the University of Nottingham in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery in June 2023. She started her role at Cross Counties Farm Vets in September 2023 alongside the VetPartners Farm Graduate Programme. She is currently in her first year of the programme.


Are you interested in taking part in the VetPartners Farm Graduate Programme in 2024?

Details of all of our graduate programmes and how to register can be found here:

For an informal chat about the programmes, email



Article written by Rachel Neill, VetPartners PR & Communications Executive. Email