XLVets – New graduate programme: Kitty Article All about the XLVets Graduate Development Programme For new and recent graduates, starting their first job in practice can be a daunting and stressful time. No amount of studying can prepare you for the realities of working in practice and it’s a steep learning curve for new graduates. XLVets recognises how vital support and mentoring can be to new graduates embarking on their first role in practice. They have responded by forming a ‘Graduate Development Programme’, which is designed to help smooth the transition from the lecture theatre to the consulting room for these new practice team members. The programme has been devised to bring graduates working in similar XLVets practices together. It covers a broad range of subject areas, including clinical and non-clinical skills and has separate small animal, farm and equine courses. The courses give graduates the opportunity to hone and refresh their practical and clinical skills, as well as equip them with practical knowledge needed to get them through day-to-day life as a new vet. This includes how to take care of their finances; build positive relationships with colleagues and clients; and how to look after their mental health. These are skills that aren’t taught at vet school but are essential to real-world veterinary practice. Each graduate is also assigned a mentor to guide them. This could be someone in their own practice or even from another XLVets’ member practice. Each of the mentors has taken part in the XLVets mentor training programme to prepare them for this important role. Graduates are encouraged to touch base with their mentor through monthly phone sessions as well as face-to-face meetings. Mentors are not only a great source of support but also have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which can help to dissipate some of the stresses of practice life. Meet Kitty Kitty Jenkins graduated from Liverpool Vet School in 2016. Following her graduation, in September that year, she took up a position at Kernow Equine and Farm Vets back on her home turf in Cornwall. As a new graduate, her practice enrolled her on the XLVets Graduate Development Programme. Kitty, to date, has already completed the farm course and is currently embarking on the equine graduate development course. Here, she reflects on her experiences within the programme and how these have helped her survive her first year in practice.