RCVS Workforce Action Plan

Ambitions for dealing with the veterinary workforce issues explored in new online sessions

The RCVS ViVet innovation project will be holding a series of online workshops – ‘Ambitions Explored’ – over the coming months to explore the ambitions outlined in the recently published Workforce Action Plan.

The Plan, which grew out of the RCVS-led Workforce Summit in November 2021, looks at how the RCVS, organisations, veterinary employers and individuals within the professions can collaborate to mitigate the workforce issues currently affecting the veterinary sector under seven over-arching ambitions. The ambitions propose solutions that cover how to recruit more people into the professions, how to better retain those already in the professions, and how to encourage those who may have decided to leave the professions, to return.

Each of the online sessions organised by ViVet will focus on one of the seven ambitions and will comprise of a panel who will be discussing the ambition in more detail, what this means to them and will be inviting questions from the audience.  

Each of the ViVet Ambitions Explored sessions will take place online between 7pm and 8.15pm and are as follows:

  • Thursday 16 February 2023 – Ambition One: Shape leaders at all levels – this session, chaired by Amanda Boag FRCVS, Past-president of the RCVS and Chair of the RCVS Knowledge Board of Trustees, will explore how promoting everyday leadership, embedding equality, diversity and inclusion at all career stages, and launching more opportunities for free and accessible learning resources can help recruitment and retention.
  • Wednesday 22 February 2023 – Ambition Two: Confidence, culture and recognition – this session is chaired by Jill Macdonald RVN, Lead for the VN Futures project, and will look at how to improve retention by ensuring that there’s a welcoming and supportive environment for the whole veterinary team, continuing to deliver leadership training and raising awareness of and signpost resources to mental health support.
  • Tuesday 28 February 2023 – Ambition Three: Greater responsibility for veterinary nurses – this session will explore specific themes for improving recruitment and retention for veterinary nurses, including demonstrating the capabilities of the VN role, ensuring clear career pathways for veterinary nurses, and continuing to progress the need for legislative change so that veterinary nurses can gain more autonomy and responsibility.
  • Thursday 9 March 2023 – Ambition Four: Welcoming a modern way of working – this session is chaired by Belinda Andrews-Jones RVN, Vice-Chair of the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council, and will look at how workforce issues can be improved by: promoting return-to-work support for clinical and non-clinical veterinary roles; continuing to strengthen relations between UK and overseas regulators and representative bodies; and encouraging the use of innovation and technology to tackle some of the sector’s major challenges.
  • Thursday 30 March 2023 – Ambition Five: General practice – a chosen pathway – this session will consider specific actions for improving recruitment into and retention within general practice through encouraging confidence into pursuing a GP career and the opportunities it offers; encouraging shared training, where appropriate, between vets and VNs at undergraduate level; and learn from and model actions against other professions, including the medical professions.
  • Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Ambition Six: An attractive career for everyone, including those who have left – chaired by Dr Kate Richards MRCVS, RCVS Senior Vice-President and Chair of the Mind Matters Initiative, this session will look at improving the workforce crisis through direct RCVS accreditation of overseas veterinary degrees; launching an Extra-Mural Studies policy leads to a more consistent high-quality experience for students and providers; and ensuring employers understand the re-entry process and the importance of welcoming people back after career breaks.
  • Wednesday 12 April 2023 – Ambition Seven: Improving client interaction and communication – chaired by RCVS President Dr Melissa Donald MRCVS, this session will look at how to improve retention by elevating and driving the status of communication and other interpersonal skills in the professions; and developing clearer and more easily accessible explanations of the veterinary role and the scope of vet and vet nurse roles to the general public.

Angharad Belcher, RCVS Director of Advancement of the Professions, said: “These sessions are focussed on how we can all translate these ideas into our organisations and working lives, as well as being an opportunity for open discussion.  The speakers all come from different types of practice and can share their experience of responding to these issues. We encourage participation by the audience, and there is the opportunity to submit questions in advance. It should give people ideas and practical concepts to take back into their organisations as we know there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all approach.”

“One thing that we made clear through the Summit and the Action Plan is the importance of collaboration, no one organisation can solve as complicated and multi-factorial an issue as the workforce challenge on their own. We hope to welcome you to these sessions to share your insights and contribute to the on-going discussions.”

To sign up to one of the Ambitions Explored sessions, please visit the dedicated Eventbrite page.