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Spaniel Charity Benefits From Christmas Donation

A1 Locums is delighted to announce the name of the second charity that will benefit from donations this Christmas after a decision was made to support a charity rather than send cards and gifts.

Cocker and English Springer Spaniel Rescue believe that every Spaniel should have the opportunity of a happy and fulfilled life in a loving home and that everyone who owns one, should have a positive experience and one that enhances their quality of life.

This was the aim of two retired couples, who having worked for a previous charity,  set up Cocker and English Springer Spaniel Rescue in March 2010. Passionate about the breeds and owners of many dogs, they wanted to ensure that these loving breeds found the best possible homes. In August 2010, CAESSR gained Charity status and are now recognised by the Kennel Club and listed in the Kennel Club Rescue Directory.

The charity, with its network of volunteers, has been able to expand its operation from its initial starting point in the Midlands, to throughout the country. It has a team of rehoming folk, who go out and check that the new homes would be suitable for the dogs which are to be rehomed. They are also supported by a band of foster parents and homes, as well as the support of two kennels. Some dogs are better suited, because of age, illness or trauma, to go into a foster home, rather than kennels.

CAESSR is constantly raising money to cover the monthly veterinary and kennel bills; the latter can be over £1,000 per month, plus veterinary bills, grooming bills, transportation and supporting the foster dogs, who without the charities support, would not be rehomed.

The veterinary bills are also a large cost of the care, with bills between £1,000 to £4,000 per month. For our elderly dogs and those with long-term illness, the charity supports them where necessary through their lifetime. A dog with a pacemaker or long- term heart surgery, can be draining on the charity, but with the help of donations, this amount is met.

A1 Locums has a special interest in this charity as one of the A1 team, Anna Robertson, volunteers as a rehomer, going out and chatting with couples and families, looking to take on one of the dogs from the charity.  She said “I have worked with the charity from the beginning, having taken on a 5-year-old springer, who was adorable one minute, but had aggression tendencies. The group helped us and supported us with training and advice from a gun dog trainer and some good veterinary advice. We had Digger for 10 years and we finally said good-bye to him at the age of 15 in July.

“We are now blessed with a 4-year-old golden working cocker called Bertram, who is adorable, full of energy and as mad as a hatter. Sadly, we are already his third home, but this one will be his forever home now without a doubt. I love working with this charity and am always amazed by the circumstances of some of these dogs which come to us. I also love going to visit their new homes and listening passionately over a cup of tea to the new families who are looking to take on a new dog and listening to their stories of the ones who they have sadly lost and how they are now ready to take on a set of new paws.”

John Powell for the charity, was delighted that A1 Locums were going to donate to the charity and assured them the money would be well spent!

A1 Locums is a specialist recruitment agency for the veterinary sector, placing vets and nurses in jobs throughout the UK.

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Christmas Cheer for B.A.R.K.s Banbury

A1 Locums brings Christmas Cheer to Guinea Pig Charity

This Christmas, instead of sending gifts and cards, A1 Locums has nominated three different charities to support. As a recruitment company that specialises in veterinary placements, we feel it is only right to choose animal charities!

The first charity we will be supporting is B.A.R.K.s Banbury. It’s been four months since we adopted our two gorgeous guinea pigs, Bob and Barry from this charity and the boys have brought us nothing but joy.  They happily keep our staff amused with their antics. Both have settled in well and are very chatty! They’re a special addition to our office team, and can frequently be found on the lap of a staff member, wrapped in a cosy blanket. They’ve each made their modelling debut too, having been featured on the company leaflet and on many social media posts.

Ann from the B.A.R.K.s charity says “Thank you so much to A1 Locums. BARKS’ main expenditure is medical bills, typically £2000-£3000 per month, covering neutering, vaccination and of course health issues. We neuter all domestic animals and vaccinate all cats, rabbits and puppies (we only handle a small number of dogs, all youngsters).

“The second largest expenditure is on bedding, food and litter. Over and above this we have to maintain the pens and run a safe environment for both animals and volunteers, but admin, travelling (home visits) and website costs are, where possible, kept to zero levels by means of the core team donating out of their own pockets. We struggle to cover costs each and every month.

With such practical needs and recognising the excellent work they do, A1 Locums is proud to be supporting this worthy charity.

More on our next charity very soon.

Bob and Barry, our two guinea pigs
Bob and Barry, our two guinea pigs
bertie

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.
tc-the-recruiter-cat

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.].

Sourcewww.recruiter.co.uk – editorial email: recruiter.editorial@redactive.co.uk

bertie

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.

bertie

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.

bertie

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.

bertie

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

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Veterinary recruitment – a whole new world!

We caught up with Sophie Vickers, one of our recruitment consultants who has just completed her Level 2 – Certificate in Recruitment Resourcing through the Institute of Recruiters.

Sophie Vickers takes us on a journey through her career
Sophie Vickers takes us on a journey through her career

Q: Sophie, tell us how you came to be in veterinary recruitment.
A: My journey in the veterinary industry started when I joined A1 Locums back in November 2015. I was fresh off the plane with a glowing tan from three months travelling and volunteering in Africa. I had spoken to Anna and Clare before I left and was keen to come back and work with A1 Locums – really to meet Wilbur the puppy again (can you blame me?).

Wilbur as a puppy
Wilbur as a puppy

I came into this job with a university degree in Business and Management and a 7-year stint in customer service. I chose the path of Business at university, but I have always had an interest in the animal kingdom. I enjoy breaks and that’s where I get my safari fix – by going to various reserves in Africa to help protect and educate people on endangered species.

Q: What’s it like to work in recruitment?
A: I found it strange to go from seeing people every day to only talking to them on email or the phone, but I have made some great connections during my time at A1 Locums.

Q: What prompted you to study further?

A: I loved university and was intrigued to learn something new and apply it to this industry, which gave me a craving to study again. I have learnt so much and applied the knowledge to my everyday job; from how I approach people, to advertising a job to filling a position. The one defining factor is that I want to help people and animals. I can’t directly help animals in this profession, but I can help the people that look after your little fur babies and that’s why I want to get better at this job, to make a difference.

Q: Working and studying! How did you fit it all in?
A: Juggling work and studying was a big shock to the system again after 3 years post university. I was forever late to coaching (Netball), leaving a trail of paper behind me. The whole independent learning is something I love and could get used to. I have swapped the travel brochures for text books again, which will thrill my manager, Clare no end!

I keep having to remind myself why I started, and now I have that very same conversation with clients and candidates too. I even ask practices what made them start out, why they became vets or why they created a specific business model for their clinic.

Q: How have you been able to apply your studies in your day to day job?
A: The unit that made a big impact was the Building and Maintaining of Relationships with Candidates; how we can create and maintain loyalty. This has really helped me with looking after both clients and candidates and going that extra mile. I have been able to help prior to interviews, filling the gap with missing information on a role and making sure they are looked after in the best possible way. The research element has also made me aware of what is current and changing within the industry. What is happening with competitors and the factors affecting our industry with the looming Brexit being top of the agenda!

My first assignment was based on the recruitment industry facts and figures. Unit 4 was understanding the selection process, helping me to prepare both candidates and clients. As soon as someone phones me, on their knees, needing a vet, I try to do whatever I can to get them some help. Or that candidate looking for a dream job – I will always do my best to find out what motivates them. They didn’t study for all those years at university to be average. They studied to be awesome and to make a difference.

Q: What are some of the best moments you have had in the recruitment industry?
A: Compared to my friends, I think I am in a very fun and different industry, and often get asked ‘What is the best placement you have every filled or the strangest Vet request?’ Hands down, I remember it so well, mainly because I was very jealous. It was in August 2016 and I had a lovely equine retreat in Mustique that needed a vet to sail for 12 days from Portsmouth to Mustique to accompany 2 ponies to their new home. The stop-offs were St Lucia and The Grenadines! I asked my vet to send me photos, but I regretted that very swiftly. As a thank you they sent said vet to a lovely pool party overlooking the beach and the food looked amazing! There could be a lot worse places in the world to spend 14 days. The beaches were white, cocktails were flowing, and the sunsets were something to dream of.

This is the view that captivates Sophie every day at A1 Locums

Q: What’s the best part of working at A1 Locums?
A: The difference between us here at A1 Locums versus other recruitment companies is the view! We are very lucky to be where we are; it’s a positive environment and we always try to convey that over the phone by answering with a smile; being the agency with the friendly touch.

bertie

The New A1 Locums App

Launch of new A1 Locums app for veterinary professionals

A1 App Launch
Our new app will speed recruiting process for locums

A1 Locums has released a new app to make the lives of busy veterinary professionals simpler, by enabling registered locums to get in touch easier at the swipe of a screen. By using the new app, they will be able to contact A1 Locums quickly to let them know their current availability, apply for a job on the go, or make contact via WhatsApp. The new A1 Locums app is now available for download.

Registered locums will be sent the link to download this free app straightaway, enabling them to be in touch immediately with the recruiters at A1 Locums. The candidates can be set up to receive only certain emails via push groups – relevant to the type of work they are looking for, areas or the companies they like to work with.

Managing Director Clare Alderton said “Owing to the nature of the locum placement process, speed is often of the essence when filling a position. In developing the app, we wanted a straightforward and uncomplicated platform to help make the lives of the veterinary professionals we deal with lot easier and save them time.”

If veterinary professionals are not registered with A1 Locums and are interested in the app, they can register here before downloading it.

For candidates already registered with A1 Locums, here are the links to download the app:

 

A1 App