Linnaeus launches an updated graduate programme - Veterinary Practice
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Linnaeus launches an updated graduate programme

Linnaeus, one of the UK’s leading veterinary groups, has divided its two-year graduate programme into two courses to provide more tailored support for its graduate cohort

Linnaeus, which is owned by Mars Veterinary Health, will now offer a 12-month Graduate Development Programme (GDP) followed by a 12-month Early Careers Programme (ECP). New graduates will work through both programmes during their first two years in practice.

The GDP will continue to focus on support and networking, with greater access to mentors, social events and a structured education programme that covers 12 core educational days, including a pre-start training camp. In addition to primary care skills development, the GDP will cover topics including veterinary business training, leadership skills and time management.

All graduates will then complete the ECP, which is designed to offer greater flexibility as the participants start to focus on different clinical areas. Professional and clinical skills training will be more tailored to graduates’ topics of interest, while funding will be available to cover the cost of CDP courses that support individual areas of development. Online courses and content are accessible throughout the year.

Professor Séverine Tasker, chief medical officer at Linnaeus, explained: “We decided to update the GDP after asking for feedback from across Linnaeus and our stakeholders. By continually evaluating and improving the programme, we can deliver the best experience for new graduates and the teams that play such an important role in supporting them.

“While many graduates need a lot of guidance in the first 12 months of their veterinary careers, they will then start to develop more specific areas of interest. By developing two separate programmes, we can offer education, guidance, networking and flexibility that is adapted to the progression of our graduates.”

The GDP and ECP each provide all graduates with both a primary and secondary mentor, with their primary mentor focusing on clinical guidance and a secondary mentor offering pastoral support.

The next Linnaeus GDP starts in the summer of 2022 and is open for applications from now until the end of May; it is aligned with the Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVetGDP course. The ECP provision will be available from mid-2022 to support recent graduates that join Linnaeus outside of their GDP intake. The ECP will be available to all Linnaeus graduates who have completed the GDP from 2023.

Linnaeus comprises 47 primary care and 17 referral veterinary practices across the UK and Ireland. There are 46 graduates on the current Linnaeus GDP scheme.

For further information about graduate career opportunities at Linnaeus, visit

Case study: Laura Copley

Laura is a veterinary surgeon at Linnaeus-owned Woodwards Veterinary Practice in Ashby De La Zouch, Leicestershire. She was keen to join a graduate programme that offered a variety of cases and an experienced team to learn from. 

“I attended careers fairs and compared multiple graduate schemes before applying to the roles that would suit me best. Linnaeus is known for providing top quality care for pets, which really appealed to me. I also wanted to practise a wide array of skills and use advanced equipment.”

Laura was also keen to find a role that offered flexibility around her personal interests. 

“Running my own fitness business means I can combine my two passions for sport and helping others! Every Friday morning before work, I lead a fitness class for my veterinary colleagues.”

Having weekly meetings with her primary mentor and VetGDP Adviser, setting clear goals and support from the wider team at Woodwards has ensured that Laura can focus on her progression.

“My team has been very supportive in guiding me through my weaker areas of clinical practice and encouraging me in areas where I feel most confident. I have loved being part of a larger team because there are so many different people to learn from.”

Case study: Thomas Heaselgrave

Graduate veterinary surgeon Thomas Heaselgrave joined Linnaeus-owned Blacks Vets in Dudley from the University of Nottingham. He heard about the Linnaeus GDP from other graduates.

“I decided to apply for the Linnaeus Graduate Development Programme due to the supportive atmosphere and high-quality CPD it offers. Several university friends from the year above had joined, and said that they’d been looked after well.”

Thomas is now progressing with his clinical skills, particularly surgical and dental procedures.

“I have a real interest in surgery, and have a long list of procedures I want to advance my skills in. My role initially focused on routine consultations but I am now seeing ongoing medical cases and completing more complex work. I was proud to recently complete a c-section, cystotomy and a hernia repair.”

For Thomas, the GDP has enabled him to meet his peers, and learn from the network of Linnaeus-owned primary care and referral practices across the UK.

“The in-person CPD days are a brilliant way to meet the other graduates on the programme. The sessions have covered topics that really help at the early stage of your career, from communication and clinical skills.

“I am looking forward to an externship week with the neurology team at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, which was arranged with the help of the Linnaeus GDP. The dental practical CPD session planned in Dublin sounds great too.”

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