BEVA has introduced a new coaching programme specifically designed to support members who are seeking career support but are more than five years qualified, and thus not eligible for BEVA’s Leg Up coaching.


Back in the Saddle offers new group-style coaching, to support those who are either returning to work or wish to change tack in some way. It has been developed in response to numerous BEVA members reporting periods of feeling lost or adrift in their career as life progresses after graduation, particularly following a career break.


The six-month programme is led by a team of individuals who have experienced the challenges of working in equine practice and have all undergone extensive coaching training. It delivers monthly online group sessions for participants to discuss, learn and share knowledge in a workshop style environment.


“Back in the Saddle provides a safe, supportive and encouraging environment to help individuals understand what it is they want from their career, following a break, for example for parental leave or injury,” said Lucy Grieve, Veterinary Projects Officer at BEVA. “By reflecting on their career achievements, learnt skills and professional needs, in the context of their life as it is now, it enables them to prioritise appropriately, create achievable goals, and find their place in the profession again.”


“Our coaches are professionally trained, friendly and empathetic, and the nature of group coaching means peer support opens up to all involved. This helps counter feelings of isolation and self-doubt and enables a sense of purpose and confidence to return and develop further.”


Clinical equine vet Kate Blakeman is one of the five coaches and one of the programme’s founders. Having experienced the return to work following maternity leave, Kate is passionate about helping others to navigate the transition back to work whilst accounting for the necessary changes which take place.


“Returning to work from maternity leave was really challenging for me,” she said. “Everything seemed to have changed despite returning to the same job, the same team and the same clients, and it was a big shock to see how much I struggled to deal with it all. The second time round it was no easier, just different!”.


“My daily pattern had altered, and I was working fewer hours which meant I needed to organise myself and manage my expectations differently.


“I undertook a career coaching programme to help me figure things out properly, with impartial assistance, rather than trying to ‘wing it’. The skills I developed during this training helped me greatly and I hope Back in the Saddle will deliver similar benefits for those who need it.”


The launch of Back in the Saddle follows the success of BEVA’s Leg Up programme which provides 1-to-1 career coaching for equine vets in their first five years of graduation. Both initiatives support the association’s continued work on recruitment and retention, by directly addressing requirements specified by members in a survey conducted in 2022.


The first Back in the Saddle programme starts on 11 June 2024 – applications are now open and will close on 17 May 2024. To apply please visit