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BEVA Expands Successful Leg Up Coaching Scheme

1 year ago

21st March, 2023 11h22


BEVA has expanded its successful Leg Up coaching scheme to support the careers and wellbeing of even more new vets.

Launched four years ago under Renate Weller’s presidency, the Leg Up programme pairs graduates with experienced equine vets for career support. It has proved both popular and effective, so accessibility has been extended from new vets during their first three years post-graduation to their first five years following graduation.

Kate Blakeman, the BEVA Council member leading the Leg Up scheme said:

“The Leg Up Coaching Scheme offers one to one coaching from a specifically trained coach who is also an equine vet. Independent coaching in this form has continued to provide many of our youngest members with vital support, increased resilience and improved confidence.

“Career coaching empowers you to overcome whatever challenges you’re facing in your job. It’s all about gaining the support, tools and guidance you need so that you can both recognise and achieve your potential and make decisions about your future.”

The veterinary industry’s rapidly changing landscape, together with rising concern around wellbeing within the profession, mean that consistent support and guidance are more relevant than ever. New graduates can especially benefit from the support of experienced peers to help them navigate career decisions and pathways within the equine veterinary field.

The Leg Up programme is doubly beneficial as it also gives established equine practitioners the opportunity to develop their mentoring skills by becoming a coach. Leg Up coaches are trained by a specialist mentoring professional via workshops, discussion forums and online toolkits. Once trained they are paired with recent graduates to provide individual guidance and support to help their graduates explore the foundation years of their careers.

Coaching is open to BEVA members who have graduated within the past five years. After submitting an application, individuals are matched with a coach that is suited to their goals and current situation. Members can sign up to be coached on the BEVA website

Cat Mackenzie signed up to become a coach having experienced the benefits of being coached during her residency. She said: “Residency is quite stressful and talking through resilience and goals and how to achieve those was great. So, I saw the benefits of it then, and when BEVA coaching came round, I thought what a fantastic thing.

“The coach training I did was great and really inspiring; it provided a good framework to start from. And what’s nice as well is that we can keep in touch with the other coaches to compare notes to keep on track about how we can best coach people.”

Cat was matched with Heather Frenkiel who graduated from Edinburgh in 2019. Heather responded to an advertisement to participate in the Leg Up programme. Having always wanted to end up in equine practice she initially worked in small animal practice with only 5% of equine work. She felt she was lacking confidence when she moved to a 50% equine practice. She said: “The 50:50 role ticked all boxes for me on paper and felt I should be loving it but felt I was struggling a bit and a colleague suggested why don’t I try the leg up scheme and that’s when I got in touch.”

“At any point you can experience challenges or slumps in your motivation and if someone can help work out what those are and why they are happening and how to get you out of them then it’s relevant at any point in your career whether 5 years or 10 years. Cat has been and continues to be an excellent coach for me.

“I can think of so many colleagues who would have benefited from coaching. Sometimes I think you worry and think that career coaching means you must have a game plan and a goal that you want to reach, but actually it doesn’t need to be that - it can just be about making the most out of where you are currently so that you are as happy as you can be. It’s so approachable and easy that it would make sense to give it a go, especially if things aren’t 100%.”

To find out more you can listen to Cat and Heather’s story here .
To sign up for the Leg Up programme visit

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