“I like speaking with people from different backgrounds and countries and learning about them and their experience of being a vet,” says Jo Hurst, Vets4Pets International Recruitment Specialist. “I actually love this bit of my job.”
Jo joined Vets4Pets in early 2017 after gaining years of recruitment experience working for major telecoms brands, including EE, Orange and Vodafone.
At Vets4Pets, she focuses on identifying experienced, international veterinary surgeons who want to come and work in the UK and lesser-experienced international vets interested in the Vets4Pets International Vet Programme, which is designed to support international vets seeking professional development opportunities.
According to Jo, international vets want to come to the UK because it’s seen to set the bar in regards to the quality of veterinary medicine care and because they want to develop their skills.
Jo says that when she first joined Vets4Pets, she spent a great deal of time reviewing the international vet recruitment process and identifying what worked and what needed tweaking. A lot of thinking also went into how Vets4Pets can support vets throughout the entire recruitment process from first looking for and interviewing for a UK role to then moving to the UK and what practice life is like here.
“What I find is that they all have an understanding of what to expect from UK clients, but the reality in practice is completely different,” says Jo. “We are known as a nation of animal lovers, and this is something you can’t fully understand unless you are immersed in it.”
The Vets4Pets International Vet Programme is a development programme that spans three, six or 12 months depending on the individual. While working in a Vets4Pets practice, it gives each vet on the programme the opportunity to take advantage of their colleagues’ experience and allows them to learn and develop at their own pace. It’s a very personalised and tailored programme that focuses on developing each person’s skills. It is not a set programme.
Candidates are matched to practices after a skills assessment is completed and after Jo gets to know each applicant. Jo wants to understand each candidate’s personality, lifestyle, interests and their career desires and goals. Also, in order for an international vet to be placed within a Vets4Pets practice, there must be more than one full-time vet working within the practice (to not add pressure to any one person), and the practice partner must be committed to training and supporting the international vet.
“It’s important for us to get the right fit,” says Jo. “Sometimes, it can take a while, but it’s worth it in the end. It’s not about simply filing a vacancy. It has to be right for both the practice partner and the vet.”
There are four stages to the assessment process, which aims to understand each person’s strengths and development areas before they join a practice. The process involves a telephone interview, online clinical tests, a people assessment (which focuses on colleagues and clients) and lastly, a clinical assessment with a Vets4Pets vet. The entire process is conducted via the phone and face to face online, making it as convenient and efficient as possible for everyone.
There are 10 international vets currently taking part in the programme, coming from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain.
As part of its commitment to support those participating in the programme, Vets4Pets has recently added in a CPD element comprised of 12 mandatory modules. In addition, programme participants have access to an entire library of Vets4Pets CPD sessions that cover a wide variety of topics, both clinical and non-clinical. When asked what she likes best about her role, Jo says that’s hard to answer. “I can’t give one reason. I like the fact that our programme gives international vets the opportunity to become fully competent to work as a vet in the UK. They’ve worked hard for most of their adult life to become a vet, and our programme gives them an extra boost. Also, I’m not a vet, and I guess, in this role, this is my way to help animals.”