Building a profession-wide framework for improved graduate transition

18 Aug 2023

There is increasing recognition that the graduate transition experience for veterinarians in Australia needs to be managed more effectively. In 2022 the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC), Veterinary Schools of Australia and New Zealand (VSANZ) and AVA agreed to work together to address this issue, recognising that the responsibility should be shared between the regulators, the profession and educators. 

A graduate transition working group was formed with representatives from AVBC, VSANZ and AVA to:  

  • Review existing frameworks that may be applicable to the Australian context. 
  • Determine a preferred option for feedback from contributing organisations and refine it based on that feedback. 

The AVBC’s Sustainable Practice Committee (SPC) evaluated graduate transition models used in the USA, UK and NZ and provided a detailed analysis of the options.  

After review of these the working group supports adopting a framework based on the model developed by the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ), for the following reasons: 

  • The framework includes technical and non-technical aspects of graduate professional development, rather than focusing solely on technical competencies. This recognises the importance of non-technical skills for veterinary professionals, which aligns with these competencies being expanded within university veterinary curricula. 
  • The design is simple, non-prescriptive, flexible, allows for low-cost implementation and can be easily incorporated into existing and new graduate programs.  
  • The framework supports the employer by providing guidance about how to give feedback to the new graduate. It aims to be useful for both employees and employers, by creating a language and a structure around guidance, outcomes and expectations. This provides incentives for adoption, whereas a mandatory program may be seen as a compliance burden.  
  • The onus is on the adult learner and allows for flexible engagement that fits the needs of the graduate and the employer.  
  • It incorporates reflective practice (Plan, Act, Evaluate, Reflect), which is commonly used in other professions. This familiarises graduates and employers with the reflective CPD model, which has benefits for life-long career engagement.   
  • Auditing for compliance can be tailored by individual regulatory bodies. 

More detail about this framework can be found here:   

Through the SPC, the AVBC started a small pilot program this year using the NZ framework with the veterinary boards from Qld and WA. The NZ Veterinary Council is also expected to provide feedback on their experiences, which may help identify refinements to the framework.  

Once a final framework is agreed, it is recommended that implementation be jointly managed by regulators, the profession and educators.  

Practices that would like to take part in the pilot should contact the AVBC at 

AVA members can access more information about the work undertaken by the graduate transition group that informed this recommendation can be found here.