How difficult is it to arrive in England on a new adventure during Covid?

Meet Guido Bertoldi, Italian born, who arrived from Argentina to start a new life in London as a VCA.

Guido Bertoldi
Guido Bertoldi

Thank you, Guido, for sharing your experiences.

What did you look forward to most, when moving to England?

My main goal is to become a Veterinary Neurosurgeon; however, I can’t deny that I really look forward to meeting people, learning from them, meeting other cultures, music, foods, travel around Europe/Asia/Africa and different ways of seeing life. I am really excited about that, although COVID has other plans (for now).

Is there any advice you would give to other vets in your position before moving over that you wished you knew before?

It is a broad question, as it depends on every vet’s particular situation and goals. In my case I thought I was going to have more time to study as I have to sit for the MRCVS exam… living in London, in particular, is expensive and we need to work 40hs/week in order to “survive”. So, my advice would be, if you have to sit for the same exam, study as much as you can before coming and also choose a place to live that can allow you to save as much as you can. If you are already a Vet qualified to practice in the UK that’s awesome, enjoy!

Was/is there any addition paperwork you needed when moving to London?

Yes, I had some troubles to acquire a proof of address as newly arrived i didn’t have National Insurance Number, hence couldn´t have any services from my household on my name. So, I used a General Practitioner’s (human doctor) letter to get proof of address and then was able to use that in banks and also to finish my MRCVS exam forms.

I had to do the Pre-settle status and also the National Insurance Number.

In regard to my university qualifications, I brought my degree translated and certified by the Haya postille and before sending all the needed documents to the RCVS I had to do an Affidavit in order to state that Proof of Good Standing Practice.

Have there been any restrictions you have faced while moving here?

Fortunately, not, I arrived and asked for the pre-settled status and it was granted to me without problems at all. Unfortunately, things are changing everyday with the Coronavirus restrictions.

What has been the best part of your placement since starting in London?

To be completely honest, I still find it very difficult to feel as if I were in London, as I cannot go to a bar, or the theatre, etc. The best part since I’ve arrived, has been the kind and generous people and co-workers I have met, who, have made so much easier, the homesickness “coin face” of this journey.

Have you got any advice to anyone looking to sit the RCVS exam upon arrival?

It is very difficult to give precise advice, because of the interpersonal differences, but what I have learnt so far:

  • Good, solid anatomy/physiology bases are essential in order not to lose time with those when going through so much material.
  • Endurance – work every day even if it is 1hour or 30minutes and study something new.
  • Listen to the RVC podcasts! they are awesome for tube/bike (not recommended he he!) time .
  • Try to find what kind of information they will probably ask of us in the exam, so far, I’ve been focusing on clinical scenarios, differential diagnosis and most common treatments.
  • Go and see General Practitioners work in the UK! It’s is very different compared to they way we work in Argentina.
  • I think the most challenging part of the exam is the amount of information you have to cope with and memorise and retain for long periods before sitting the exam. I had to change the way I studied because of this, so a particular piece of advice (that I think is helping me) regarding study techniques: active recall (make yourself questions when studying and try to answer them instead of just reading the book) and spatial repetition (judge yourself on how good your answers are and go back again to those topics to help memory)

How did you find working with A1 Locums?

To be 100% honest, to arriving in London, finish my 14 days of isolation and have a job waiting there for me… was without doubt, one of the most important things that helped me to be safe and be able to focus on my studying. This unique scenario of being 11.000km away from London and being able to get a job interview… I would have found that impossible in other times. I am so thankful I met Sophie; I am sure that things would have been so much harder, if I hadn’t met her.

Guido - hopping test


Happy Christmas – Our Charitable Donations

Christmas time is always a difficult time for so many and especially this year with COVID 19 and the various lockdowns, it has been very hard for everyone come to terms with what is expected of them. We have all learnt to adapt, for some this has been more difficult than for others and now thrown into the mix is Christmas, which does not always bring joy and happiness. Its only a day, but for many the long shutdown of businesses and interaction will be difficult.

At A1 Locums we have been fortunate enough to trade through this year, it has certainly delivered it challenges for the veterinary industry, with initial grants not been available, practices not allowed to invite clients in to the practices, causing stress to owners and pets and then practices working long hours and needing coverage, but not sure about letting locums into the practices to share bubbles.

Over the last few years instead of sending cards to our candidates and practices, we have sent donations to 2 or 3 different charities.  This year we decided it would be nice for each one of our staff to pick a charity they would like to support for their own personal reasons and each person has placed their charity tag on our tree.

The charities we are supporting are varied, from rescuing dogs in Romania, to supporting Veterinary staff, caring for animals on the streets, to saving orphaned wild animals.  We have also supported Mental health in all age groups, CALM, (Campaign against living miserably) and supporting people and research with Parkinson’s

We hope that our donations will make a difference and help people in these difficult times.

From all at A1 Locums, a Very Merry Christmas and hope that 2021 will be a brighter year for all of us, both in our health, well-being and in our businesses.


Top Cat rules A1 Locums on International Cat Day

Author: Graham Simons (Recruiter magazine) 8 August 2018

In honour of International Cat Day, Recruiter spoke to a recruitment agency that has a feline receptionist.

Earlier this summer, Recruiter brought you a story about the benefits of having canine consultants to call upon to celebrate Bring Your Dog to Work Day.

In the interests of balance, Recruiter spoke to veterinarian staffing agency A1 Locums about their feline receptionist TC.

Senior recruitment consultant Sophie Vickers explained TC’s in a job share with his canine companion, a black Labrador by the name of Wilbur.

TC the A1 Locums cat with a copy of Recruiter
TC the A1 Locums cat with a copy of Recruiter

According to Vickers, TC and Wilbur are known to come around and meet visitors to the office with a friendly miaow or woof, which she says always lifts the mood of the office and makes everyone smile.

TC doesn’t have a long commute as his home is just next door to the office where he lives with his human, A1 Locums director Clare Alderton.

And it seems TC doesn’t seem to make a distinction between his own home and the office. “He knows all of us and comes and gets treats, or sits or lies on our desks… He just comes in, especially in the winter. He goes off when he wants to and comes back when he wants a bit of a fuss from everybody.”

While TC is a friendly kitty, interaction with him is on his own terms, Vickers adds.

“He’s quite grumpy. He doesn’t like being cuddled – it’s fuss on his own accord. He’ll walk across everybody’s keyboards. If you’ve got any paperwork, he’ll lie across that… if there’s any paperwork, it’s always got muddy prints on because he’s walked across our desks or something similar.”

But it appears TC’s been a free spirit since he was little. “When he was a kitten, Clare had her window open. He made a swift exit out the window and he was hanging on for dear life with his little claws. Anne made Clare go and make a cup of tea as a distraction and [recruitment manager] Anne [McManus] went to catch him. We think that’s one of his nine lives done.

“In the house it’s all open plan. So TC decides to run up the banister, falls off and lands on the sofa. He didn’t speak to anyone for a couple of days through pure embarrassment!”

Despite all this, we know that all the staff at A1 Locums are feline that TC is the purrfect member of the fur-midable team of paw-some recruiters [enough of the cat puns – Ed.]. – editorial email: