Vets Now is renowned throughout the veterinary profession for its commitment to staff development — and at the heart of this are its Edge induction programmes. These provide vets and vet nurses keen to build their skills, and carve out a successful career, in emergency and critical care with a supportive route into the discipline.
There are three Edge programmes — Cutting Edge, Refresh Your Edge and Nursing Edge. For each intake, a huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure their success. The second interview in our “meet the team” series is with recruitment partner Ali Neretniece, who’s often the first point of contact for anyone interested in learning about Cutting Edge. We spoke to Ali to uncover a little bit more about her and her involvement with the programme.
Tell me about your career path?
After leaving school, I was studying dance in Norway. I then met my now husband, fell pregnant and life just took off from there. With bills to pay and a baby on the way, I started working in an office and discovered that I really enjoyed it. My first role was as an HR administrator. I liked speaking to people and hearing about their careers and what they felt they needed to be successful. That’s really what pushed me towards a role in recruitment. After that, I worked in the engineering industry before joining Vets Now. It's a completely different profession but, in essence, the outcomes are the same. I‘m still trying to find people who will fit well into our team. That’s what I enjoy most.
How did you end up at Vets Now?
In my previous job, I was working long hours. By then I’d had my second son so I was on the lookout for something a bit closer to home that would allow me to see more of my kids. I saw a job ad for the locum network at Vets Now and felt it would be suited to my skills. I joined the team in November 2015 and learned a lot about the company and loved it. I moved into the permanent recruitment team earlier this year, as I was keen to progress my career, and started looking after the Cutting Edge programme soon after.
Read more: Cutting Edge coordinator Malisha sheds some light on working for Vets Now
What does your role involve?
I review all CVs that come in to find the best Cutting Edge candidates. As well as that, I reach out to people through LinkedIn and other networking sites to make connections for the Cutting Edge programme.
What about once the programmes have started?
The Cutting Edge intake currently on the programme are the first group that I helped recruit and I intend to stay in touch with all of them. I'd never want my input to stop when they arrive because that’s my talent pool and hopefully it’s going to grow bigger as we recruit more people.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy talking to people from different backgrounds. We have applicants from all over the world and I love getting to know them and figuring out if they'd be a good fit for the programme. People are so different. Every person I've spoken to has a story, and I like hearing those and how they got to where they are now.
Read more: Aoife tells how Cutting Edge programme provides perfect launch for career
What’s the biggest challenge in your role?
I'm currently recruiting for the January 2018 intake and started this in June. It can be a challenge getting candidates to seriously consider something that's six or seven months away.
What makes Vets Now a unique employer?
The company values and the fact it recognises people for doing a good job. Here, if you do something well people are quick to praise you, and that's such a motivating factor for me. This ethos filters down from the top and it’s nice that we work for such a supportive company.
What's been your proudest moment at Vets Now?
Seeing my first group of Cutting Edger’s come through the door was very satisfying because it felt like all the hard work had been worthwhile. I really had to hit the ground running in this role, so I’m very proud of the fact we recruited 12 vets for the programme.
Read More: Have you got the Edge? Take our test to find out if a career in ECC is for you
Tell me an interesting fact about yourself?
I was born in Mexico but adopted by an American family who moved to Spain. I spent most of my life living in southern Spain so English is my second language as I spoke Spanish from birth, but I'm bi-lingual. I can also converse in Norwegian, German, Portuguese and Italian. I'm also learning Latvian as my husband is from there. Having the ability to speak so many different languages really helps me as a recruiter as I can communicate with people from a broad range of cultures.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’ve got two boys that keep me extra busy with karate, hockey, football and the rest of it. I’m definitely one of those “hockey moms” as Americans would say. I also teach dance every week which I thoroughly enjoy, and I'm grateful I’ve not had to give up that part of my life.
Do you want to be part of Ali's team? The next intake for Cutting Edge is in January, and places are filling up fast. We are also recruiting for more experienced vets for Refresh Your Edge.
If you, or any vets you know, are interested in applying, please call Ali now on 01383 841181 or click here for more information.