The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has joined veterinary schools to sponsor a new course it claims will “help cultivate future veterinary leaders”.

Image: Nivens

The sponsorship of the Veterinary Team Leadership and Professionalism (VTLP) course is part of its commitment to “develop opportunities” for vets as well as secure a “healthy future” for the veterinary profession.

The VTLP course was first piloted in the UK in 2013 following a similar successful scheme in the US. Now, and with support from the BVA, the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) along with the universities of Bristol, Edinburgh and Cambridge, are to jointly run the 2014 VTLP course – a three-day residential programme focusing on non-technical competencies across the whole veterinary team and bringing together future vets, veterinary nurses and scientists.

As well as focusing on leadership development, the course, says BVA, is “strongly underpinned” by teaching character education, emotional intelligence and teamwork, with a goal of “promoting both professional and personal transformation”. The curriculum also addresses methods for students to tackle mental and emotional wellbeing matters, whether they be their own or that of peers and colleagues.

The RVC’s Mandi de Mestre, who is the course director, said the college is delighted to be supported by the BVA in delivering the course.

“The VTLP team has recognised the critical need to develop leadership skills during the training stage of our students’ professional careers,” she said. “We are looking forward to working collaboratively across the vet schools to achieve this goal.

“I believe the VTLP provides a unique experiential learning environment for attendees to develop their intrinsic leadership and teamwork skills at a very early stage of their career. This is becoming increasingly important as our graduates enter diverse veterinary teams, be that veterinary clinical teams, scientific and industry teams developing new drugs for our animals or policy teams identifying ways to manage disease outbreaks or food security.”

The annual course will be delivered to 50 participants from veterinary schools across the UK during September 8-11 2014 in Buckinghamshire.

To celebrate, BVA is offering an opportunity for two student members to attend for free.

To apply for one of the free places, students should write 50 words stating why they are interested in completing the course and send it to the association. Students haven’t got long, however, with the closing date for applications this Wednesday September 3.

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