All about the XLVets Farm Graduate Programme

All about the XLVets FarmGraduate Development Programme Meet Vicki! Vicki Rhodes is a 2015 graduate of Liverpool Vet School and works as a farm animal vet at Scarsdale Veterinary Group. Vicki’s journey to vet school was unconventional and showed real grit and determination. That same attitude landed her an internship in the farm animal department at University College Dublin vet school, where she spent her first year in practice. Following a short stint at 608 Vets in Solihull covering maternity leave, she started at Scarsdale in April 2017. Vicki has just completed the XLVets Farm Graduate Development Programme and shares her reflections on this and life-to-date as a vet. Vicki, tell me a little about your background. I’m from Solihull in the West Midlands, from a non-veterinary family: my mum is a receptionist at a doctor’s surgery, and my dad a project manager. But there was some kind of medical influence there – one of my sisters is a paramedic and the other a midwife! I attended Solihull College for 2 years studying for a BTEC Level 3 course in Animal Management, with a view to trying for vet school. Through VETNET LLN, I managed to get an interview at Liverpool and the rest followed on from there. Gaining experience on farm was a key part of achieving that: I’ve always worked on farms – doing dairy and lambing and such-like, and I knew I wanted to be a farm vet. How do you find your role at Scarsdale? I love it. I have a really good mix of clinical work and herd health management. I’ve just been allocated my first farm, meaning I’m responsible for its fertility and veterinary-supervised herd management. The practice has been very supportive with this – I hadn’t done much reproduction work before, and I’ve received training both in my job and on the XLVets Farm Graduate Development Programme, which has been invaluable. I also cover out of hours for my practice. We operate a two-vet system here. I am usually paired with a senior member of the practice as my back-up, and it works very well. I let them know when I’m going out and they are there to help if needed, or to handle any calls that I physically can’t get to because I’m tied up elsewhere. The farm vet team at Scarsdale is big, and we always have a resident from Nottingham vet school working with us too. How did the XLVets Farm Graduate Programme help you? I did quite a bit of surgery during my internship, and the programme helped with balancing my experience – as well as