The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has launched a new national graduate mentoring program to help veterinary students make a successful transition to the profession.
AVA CEO, Graham Catt, said being a veterinary graduate vet can be challenging, particularly in the first year.
“A first role as a qualified vet can involve long hours and some confronting issues. This can be compounded for those graduates working in remote locations, without much support around them.”
“This program will help ensure veterinary graduates make a positive transition to a wonderful profession, reach their potential and are happy in their jobs,” Mr Catt said.
The AVA mentoring program has already attracted 250 mentors and 283 mentees across Australia.
“We use specialised software to provide an online match. We consider both career aspirations as well as areas of interest that both the mentee and mentor share.
During the 12-month program, mentors and mentees are expected to have monthly contact as a minimum and all mentors undergo training before being assigned a mentee.
The program gives mentors, especially those who work part-time or those who have retired, an opportunity to get involved and give back to the profession.
Although it is a 12-month program, it is expected that many relationships will continue informally long after that.
“Supporting veterinarians is the core role of our association. This program is an important step in developing and sustaining the professional careers of veterinarians,” Mr Catt said.
The program started in Western Australia before being rolled out nationally. Participants of the WA program have reported a number of benefits from their participation including improved confidence, self-awareness, clearer career direction, better communication skills, listening skills, feedback skills and enhanced management skills.
“Our new program is designed to support veterinarians entering the profession”, he said. “But we see mentoring and support as being much greater than this. Veterinarians will face many career transitions and challenges over their professional lives, and we want the AVA to provide a mentor or partner at every stage of their career.”