An online discussion forum dedicated to sharing ideas, tips and anecdotes about how veterinary surgeons can further develop their careers has won a competition recognising outstanding projects inspired by Vet Futures.
The competition, which was launched in July 2018 marks the second anniversary of the Vet Futures Action Plan. In total 13 entries to the competition were received which, following a shortlisting process, were whittled down to reveal a winner – Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify (or V:SGD). Three entries – VetDB, the VDS Training’s Vet Leadership Programme and Virtual Vet Derms were highly commended by the judges.
V:SGD started as a closed Facebook group where, as the name suggests, vets could discuss how to best use their veterinary degree – whether that was staying in clinical practice, using their skillset in different fields or branching out into a diverse range of other areas. In April of this year, it held its first live event in London featuring a range of seminars, lectures and workshops on career development, mental health, job hunting tips and information about a variety of different career options including civil service, research, science communication and charities.
As the winner of the competition, Ebony Escalona, founder of V:SGD, will now be given a platform to showcase the idea during the BVA Congress stream of the London Vet Show on Thursday 15 November, as well as two tickets to London Vet Show (including accommodation and travel) and support from both BVA and RCVS to promote the project to the wider profession.
Commenting on her win Ebony said: “I am over the moon that V:SGD has been recognised by Vet Futures for its positive impact on the profession. It has gone from helping a few friends to providing a safe and supportive space for thousands of veterinary professionals. I have been astounded by the peer-to-peer career inspiration, helping us to explore our potential together! The beauty of it too is that it has helped so many other Vet Futures inspired initiatives and businesses such as WellVet, Simply Locums, Streetvet and VDS Training to name a few. This award is a HUGE thanks to all the community members who reach out to help our secret supports, share their career stories or just make us feel that we are never alone on this career journey. We are excited to build and create new initiatives and partnerships with V:SGD in the future too #VetPassport.”
All entries to the competition were judged against a set of criteria, including how far they advanced one or more of the six core Vet Futures ambitions, these are:
1. A leading force for animal health and welfare
2. Valued for wider roles in society
3. Confident, resilient, healthy and well-supported
4. A broad range of diverse and rewarding career paths
5. Thriving, innovative, user-focused businesses
6. Exceptional leadership
Simon Doherty, BVA President, said: “We had a very strong field of entrants doing everything from improving the technological tools available to the profession, to developing leadership skills and to helping to enhance the wellbeing of the profession.
“It was a very difficult decision to choose just one but Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify stood out for the impact it has had in opening up the discussion on career change and development within the profession, the major and very well-attended live event it held in April and the enthusiasm and drive of its members.”
Amanda Boag, RCVS President, added: “V:SGD touched on a variety of the Vet Futures project’s core aims, particularly developing a confident and well-supported profession and looking at a broad range of diverse and rewarding career paths.
“By allowing members of the profession to talk about their career dreams, hopes, aspirations and frustrations V:SGD is acting as an important resource to support the veterinary community in a digital age. It is a source of ideas and inspiration for vets seeking to do something a bit different or just seeking reassurance about their current career path.”