A veterinary surgeon who graduated in 2011 has already become a partner at a practice thanks to Companion Care’s graduate development programme.

Rachel Gemmell completed the Vet Group
graduate programme last year.

Rachel Gemmell, who completed the programme in 2013, became joint venture partner at Companion Care Ashford, the practice where her placement was based.

After graduating in 2011, Miss Gemmell enrolled on to the graduate programme, the first year it was launched.

Her placement was based at the Ashford surgery working alongside joint venture partner Cormac Higgins, who opened the surgery in 2007.

Miss Gemmell said: “The graduate programme was only in its pilot stages when I joined, but I felt it would be an excellent opportunity to further my clinical skills in my first job, while also gaining invaluable leadership and business skills training.”

The two-year programme allows graduates to continue their learning and development in clinical, soft and business skills, while working and earning. It was launched with the express aim of developing veterinary graduates to become future partners in the rapidly expanding business.

Joining the programme straight from university allowed Miss Gemmell experience of working within a joint venture environment, gaining the skills required to run her own practice so early in her career.

Miss Gemmell said Mr Higgins had been a great mentor. “I would recommend the programme to any new graduate out there looking for their first role – even if they’re not thinking about joint venture partnership; the soft skills and business knowledge you can gain is invaluable,” she said.

Mr Higgins said he and Miss Gemmell worked well together. He said: “After three years in the practice, Rachel was already taking the lead when I wasn’t around and taking on some of the management tasks and decisions – partnering with her seemed like the obvious next step, giving myself and the team the extra support as the business expands, as well as being a natural career progression for her.”

Fifteen graduates complete the latest programme in August and a total of 20 places are planned for the coming year. To find out more, email graduates@companioncare.co.uk

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