Clare and Sophie

Staying at the cutting edge of veterinary science

Smart people never stop learning…

Staying at the cutting edge of veterinary science often means you have to keep learning and studying, even after you have qualified as a vet or nurse.

That’s sometimes easier said than done when you have years of study behind you, a busy family life and a burgeoning career.

Oncore knows exactly what those challenges are and they have devised CPD modules to make your learning as interesting and rewarding possible. They have been providing online education to the profession for just over 6 years, and have developed courses in a wide variety of disciplines.

A1 Locums is delighted to be teaming up with Oncore to host a competition during London Vet Show, offering the winners each a free CPD course of their choice.

A1 Locums Managing Director Clare Alderton says “Many thanks to Oncore for providing the fantastic prizes for our competition to promote our app. It’s a pleasure working with them as we recognize the value of their training and know that you’ll come away from each course with personalised, practical learning that is relevant to you, your practice and your team. You’re able to discuss current challenges from practice (and find the solutions) alongside your tutor and other participants.”

ONCORE is run by veterinary nurse Jill Macdonald who says “Our CPD is a little different from other providers – our courses provide expert tutor guidance and support, an interactive and engaging learning experience, and the opportunity for assessment and feedback on coursework. Most of our courses are suitable for both vets and nurses, and if you take a look at the current course selection you can see why. Many of these skills are needed by both members of the practice team, and it’s really useful for both vets and nurses to study alongside each other, and understand each other’s perspective better, whether it be a management topic, or anaesthesia, or client care.”

Courses run over set start dates as group courses, and for each 3-week course you will receive ongoing guidance, support and advice via ONCORE’s active learning forums, with your final week allocated for self-study to complete your coursework.

Discount for A1 locums clients
ONCORE have been proud to work with A1 Locums over the past few years, and offer a 5% discount to all bookings that come through A1 Locums, using the code that they provide you with.

Jill used to perform locum nursing work, and A1 Locums were her locum agency of choice. She says “The team at A1 are brilliant. They are so knowledgeable about the profession and understand the different roles, and what will suit each locum. They are also really friendly and helpful, and I will always use A1 should I ever find the time to slot in some locum work again!”

Future plans
ONCORE plans to develop two courses in the near future: a further course to enhance the nurse’s role in managing medical patients in practice, tutored by Nicola Ackerman, and a course to help nurses with out-of-hours and ECC work, tutored by Lou Northway.

Partnerships
ONCORE has some great partnerships with associated veterinary businesses, and is always looking to collaborate, so if you’d like to know more, please contact them.

A1 Locums is currently exhibiting at Stand T59 at the London Vet Show.  TO WIN A FREE CPD course of your own choice: See our A1 Locums Facebook posts on how to enter the London Vet Show competition.  Closing date is at noon on 19 Nov 2018. The winner will be drawn at random on the same day.

Please visit the Oncore website to see the full range of CPD courses available.

ONCORE ePD
Contact email: info@oncoreepd.co.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)121 663 1971

A1 Locums works with Oncore to provide CPD courses for vets and nurses
A1 Locums works with Oncore to provide CPD courses for vets and nurses.
Clare and Sophie

App adds value as a recruiting tool

Almost six months after launching our A1 Locums app, we take a look at how it’s changed the way we communicate with our vets and nurses.

Managing Director Clare Alderton says ‘Since launching, we have listened to feedback from our candidates and implemented a few minor but positive changes. In effect, we have evolved the design to simplify the recruiting process even further.”

A1 Locums app adds value to the recruiting process
A1 Locums app adds value to the recruiting process

Once you’ve downloaded the A1 Locums app, you’re able to register directly with us, load a list of your available dates and message us with your preferences. You can browse the jobs by location or date and apply for any role that catches your eye, there and then. Using the app can speed up the job-hunting process for you. When you contact us we automatically recognise your profile, know who you are, where and when you wish to work and how we can potentially assist you.

As a job-seeker you can set your preferences to receive only certain emails via push groups, relevant to the type of work you are looking for,  areas or the companies you’d like to work with.

Clare says “The new WhattsApp button has been a popular addition. Sometimes all you want is a human voice!”

As a locum you may be free at short notice, and equally, practices may find, at the drop of a hat, that they need additional staff to cover a shift.  With the information we get from our app holders, we can facilitate a speedy turnaround and a suitable match. It’s a plain and simple platform yet it’s proved invaluable to the veterinary professionals we deal with on a daily basis.

Download the A1 Locums app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store now.

Clare and Sophie

The smart casual debate for interviews

The smart casual debate for interviews in the veterinary sector
The smart casual debate for interviews in the veterinary sector

Yesterday a vet came rushing in to our offices in dirty wellies and mud-splattered shirt just in time for his job interview. The sidelong glance from our office-based colleague with his crisp white shirt and perfectly pressed trousers didn’t go unnoticed. The vet explained that he had just returned from a breach birth emergency callout on a nearby cattle farm and had to make a choice of being late for our appointment or turning up in his working gear.

This kicked off a bit of a debate in our offices afterwards. Some were adamant that he should have gone home to change to make a good first impression. Others admired his confidence and commitment to turn up on time, sans clean attire.

As a veterinary professional – how should do you dress for a job interview? Is it more appropriate for a nurse to wear a uniform or to show individuality and arrive suited and booted? Should you tie up your hair or is it acceptable to leave it long and flowing? How about painted nails and jewellery, or tattoos and face piercings? Do you take a chance and hope the prospective employer accepts you as you are, or do you deliberately cover up, pare it back? What if the person you are meeting has preconceived ideas and prejudices? Would that jeopardise your chances?

An accountant friend recently went for an interview at a small home-based laboratory and pondered beforehand about what to wear, knowing the environment is casual. In the end he dressed in a suit and tie, wanting to appear ‘professional’, yet he admits he was completely overdressed and out of place compared to the interviewers who all sported jeans and tees. But would they have judged his attire as inappropriate or disrespectful if he arrived wearing casual clothes? When is smart too smart and casual too casual?

Our debate continues. The vet…well, he got that job and is no doubt doing a splendid job kneeling in a dusty, hay-filled barn as we speak.

Clare and Sophie

Thank you for visiting A1 Locums at VET Festival!

We look back on a fantastic couple of days at the annual VET Festival event which took place on 8 and 9 June 2018.

Anyone who exhibits at an event knows it takes months of planning and weeks of anticipation before you even arrive at the venue.

In the run-up top the event we hosted a facebook competition to give away free tickets to the event, and were delighted with the response. At VET Festival we organised a free prize draw to give away a ‘cat’ hamper and ‘dog hamper’ to two lucky winners who registered with us.

Having launched our new A1 Locums App earlier this year, we also offered a free reusable coffee cup to any stand visitors who showed us the app on their phones!

We asked Sophie Vickers, Senior Recruitment Consultant at A1 Locums for her impressions of this year’s VET Festival.

“Vet Festival is one of our favourite conferences. Relaxing atmosphere, great CPD and fantastic company along with a side of live music and a glass of bubbly. We met a lot of clients who have gone on to pastures new, clients we have been working with for years and the future generations studying at university.

“The industry is fast paced and still growing, attracting speakers from all over the world.. Our little Wilbur met all the nurses that looked after him at Fitzpatricks. He greeted every one with a wag and a cuddle, and was most definitely the star of the show!

Sadly, it’s time to pack away the marquees and bales of hay for another year, but we will be back for 2019 on stand ST35a .. come and meet us there.

Clare and Sophie

What’s in a certificate?

When our REC Compliance Test certificate dropped through our letterbox, it was real cause for celebration at A1 Locums. Why, you may ask, is this recognition such a big deal?

Clare and Anna of A1 Locums with their REC Compliance Certificate
Clare and Anna of A1 Locums, with their REC Compliance Certificate

When you’ve been running a veterinary recruitment company for almost 20 years and have seen the industry change massively over time, it’s a proud moment to know you are riding the crest of the wave; you are right there where all the action is; you are neck and neck with the front runners in recruitment.

Having achieved 97% in the Test is a firm acknowledgement that your company demonstrates an understanding of the REC’s Code of Professional Practice. It’s a significant statement that says A1 Locums really does meet the requirements for the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations. This ethos is embedded in the way we do business.

I’m thinking back to how we operated when I started in recruitment: telephone calls, personal meetings, faxes and posted letters were the order of the day. Social media was not even a twinkle in the eye of the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world. Compared to how candidates searched for jobs way back then – today, with the swipe of an app or a quick search phrase, candidate and employer can be linked in a flash, without a human conversation necessarily having taken place. Communication is fully mobile and instantly accessible anywhere, any time of day.

But what lies behind the achievement of this certificate? Let me take you on a trip to a picturesque setting, to a farm in the Northamptonshire countryside, to a barn nestling among stables, sweeping fields and ancient woodlands; the offices and people that make up A1 Locums. We are not only veterinary recruiters; we also truly adore animals! Ring the doorbell and Wilbur the dog and TC the cat will be the first to investigate your arrival. Step inside and it’s a hive of friendly activity, where we do what we do best; matching top candidates to the best veterinary jobs.

The REC has established that we have the tools needed to be a compliant and efficient recruitment business, but more importantly, we have people you can pick up the phone to, people who are not hidden behind faceless digital platforms,  but real people who are interested in your next move as a locum vet or nurse. I am proud to say that my team is immensely dedicated; they’re professional, skilled and experienced. We are fortunate enough to have built up great relationships with practices around the country over the years, and those practices know that at the drop of the proverbial hat, they can call us to find them a suitable candidate. Candidates, in turn, have come to trust that we will match them to the right practice and keep them informed about the latest locum jobs.

Attaining REC membership means being among the best in recruitment. So yes, this certificate is rather a big deal.  – Clare, Managing Director