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IVC Evidensia And Nestlé Purina PetCare Pilot Ground-breaking Veterinary Apprenticeships

4 weeks ago

27th May, 2021 13h30

IVC Evidensia UK & IE

A brand new, innovative postgraduate apprenticeship offering vets the opportunity to work towards a Master’s degree has been piloted with veterinary surgeons at IVC Evidensia thanks to substantial funding from Nestlé Purina PetCare. 14 vets from across the IVC Evidensia network in England started the L7 Advanced Clinical Practitioner (Veterinary) Master’s level degree apprenticeship in January 2021, which is being run by the University of Nottingham.

The aim of this apprenticeship is to help support veterinary graduates as part of IVC Evidensia’s pledge to offer a clear career path for their vets.  Upon completion of the programme, apprentices will be awarded an MSc Advanced Clinical Practice (Veterinary) and an RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP). 

Julie Cayzer, Academy Manager at IVC Evidensia said,

“This is a completely new and unique offering within the veterinary world that IVC Evidensia and Nestle Purina are incredibly excited to be able to offer to our vets.

“It will help support their transition from veterinary graduate to well-rounded, experienced General Practice small animal clinicians and, possibly, Clinical Directors of the future.

“The apprenticeship enables comprehensive development of our GP vets to a high level and the ability for our practices to increase their skill capacity. This, in turn, helps our practices to continue offering a gold standard level of care to our patients.”

The ground-breaking programme is delivered as an apprenticeship which supports learners to access 20% off the job learning time.  The programme is typically 50 months, or approximately 36 months for a post-PDP professional.  IVC Evidensia apprentices are joining the programme post-PDP as prior learning is being recognised and so the group includes alumni from the IVC Evidensia Graduate Academy. It combines curriculum-led work-based learning with high quality MSc-level education. It has two phases with an integrated portfolio project; a postgraduate Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) and a transition to Advanced Practice module, culminating in a Master’s degree.

Harriet Morley, Specialist Channel Director for Nestlé Purina said,

“We are delighted to be able to support the acceleration of skills development within IVC Evidensia. Nestlé is committed to skills development and this is a fantastic way that our business can play a key role in supporting people, both within our organisation and through our valued partnerships, such as the one that exists between Nestlé Purina and IVC Evidensia. With STEM subjects being a skill gap area, it makes this opportunity even more exciting.”

Congleton Veterinary Centre nominated their 4th year graduate for the programme. Clinical Director, Struan Henderson said,

“I felt Alice would benefit and thrive from a new challenge and I was keen to nurture that.

“She has a renewed motivation and enthusiasm as the course is highlighting and teaching many of the complexities involved in practice that may otherwise have been passing her by. It also creates a ripple effect for other members of staff, in that they can clearly see we are committed to substantial career progression and development.”

Jo Weaver, Clinical Director at St George’s Vets chose their candidate because they had shown great potential for leadership.

“Our candidate was someone we could see as a future Clinical Director at IVC Evidensia. We had been looking at various certificates but wanted something broad, encompassing many of the different aspects of veterinary medicine and advanced practice, whilst also developing clinical and leadership skills. This fit the bill.

“We have found it makes us focus on our candidate’s development. In the last few weeks, we have really pushed forward with getting them scrubbed in with more complex surgeries and made more time for coaching. Otherwise, despite great intentions, as we are all so busy, there is always something else we could be doing.”

The apprentices in this first pilot are finding the support they are getting from multiple sources is proving invaluable for their development.

Jennifer Simmons of Axe Valley Veterinary Practice said,

“I have a clinical mentor in practice and an academic mentor at the university; there are also numerous other people I can contact from the wider support network.

She is also finding the course itself is broadening her experiences, just a few months in.

“I was looking for something new to focus on, and had always liked the idea of further study. This apprenticeship means I can focus not only on areas I find particularly interesting but also give more time to those that I don’t feel as comfortable with, despite carrying out regularly.”

For Robert Thompson of Wilton House Veterinary Clinic, the programme appealed because of the skills he would be able to develop. He said,

“I chose this program as it will allow me to develop a large advanced skills base whilst obtaining a recognised qualification at the end of the program. The link between IVC Evidensia and Nottingham University was a big selling point, having had previous experience of the quality of the teaching on offer at Nottingham and the organisation of IVC Evidensia.”

More information about the programme is available from 

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