The benefits of in-person learning, workshops and networking

A guest blog by Hannah Perrin, Learning & Development Manager, VMG, with case studies by Ruth Peet, Course Administrator, VMG.


Online learning has been a fundamental part of personal and professional development in the veterinary sector for many years – accelerated by the pandemic, and enabled by the wide range of communication and interaction technologies now available.  There are obvious advantages in terms of cost and accessibility.  However, when planning your CPD, it’s always worth considering the benefits of in-person events.

Delegates enjoying the opportunity to connect with others in the exhibition at VMG Congress 2024

Building relationships

Primarily, in-person events provide the chance to meet and interact with people from diverse backgrounds and areas of practice.  These interactions can lead to valuable connections, collaborations, and even job opportunities.  Casual conversations are fantastic for sharing knowledge and experiences outside the formal sessions and these can be tricky to capture with even the best online platforms.  Being physically present also allows for more meaningful interactions with speakers.  It fosters engagement and enables you to ask questions, seek clarification, and engage in discussions in real time, making deeper connections than are often possible online.

Case Study 1: Dr Francesca Verney MRCVS, Lead Clinical Director, Village Vets

Francesca Verney

Francesca is all about pets and their people. Since graduating from Cambridge University in 2012 she has worked exclusively in small animal practice, most recently as Lead Clinical Director for the Village Vet group in London. She has wide-ranging clinical interests that include internal medicine and emergency/critical care, and during her time in practice has worked in both branch and hospital settings. During the last few years, she has been building and leading large veterinary teams across multiple sites, working with a clear vision: get great pet people providing exceptional clinical standards to clients in a personal, compassionate way.  She recently attended VMG Congress in person, and here’s what she had to say:

“VMG Congress feels like the start of something truly special within the profession – with its honest acknowledgement of the need for leadership progress in the industry. An intimate setting allowed for networking and the ability to discuss solutions with other delegates in a non-judgemental and progressive way. I’m excited to see how this conference will develop year on year and feel it can become a highlight of the veterinary entrepreneurship calendar.”

Session formats

Face-to-face CPD allows for personalised guidance and feedback from speakers.  Participants can receive tailored advice and support based on their individual needs – particularly if the event includes practical sessions or any kind of hands-on learning.  These activities provide participants the opportunity to try out and practice valuable skills in a safe environment and really maximise the benefits of physically being there.

Case Study 2: Tabitha Saltzer RVN, Head Nurse, Pet People Vets

Tabitha Saltzer

Tabitha qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2019 with a Diploma from the College of Animal Welfare in London. Since qualifying she has developed a keen interest in surgery.  She is keen on in-person CPD for the practical elements, such as completing her Schedule 3 course, allowing her to take on minor surgical procedures.  As well as nursing, Tabitha is involved in social media and marketing for the practice, and has recently used in-person CPD for coaching workshops and a hands-on social media masterclass to expand her skill set:

“When I moved into the role of head nurse at my clinic, I put pressure on myself to be able to lead a team of people. I felt out of my depth so embarked on the VMG Certificate in Veterinary Leadership and Management to diversify my leadership skills and improve my ability to confidently approach coaching and mentoring in practice. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for my management career and I feel excited to continue to learn new management skills.”

Social events

Physical presence, combined with the atmosphere and the ambiance of the event venue, can enhance the overall experience not just of learning, but of the fun part of CPD – letting your hair down with friends old and new.  The social side of learning events are a fantastic opportunity to step away from the obligations and responsibilities of practice and simply enjoy yourself!  Whether that’s having a good boogie at the evening party, or joining a yoga or walking group the following morning.   At VMG Congress, we have a popular morning river walk before our final day.  For those of us in leadership roles, and often the only person in this role in our organisation, these informal sessions are invaluable.  Walking side by side it’s easy to start a conversation with a stranger, and develop new friendships.  It’s also really lovely to get to actually see some of the local area when we visit!

Delegates at VMG Congress 2024 enjoy the ‘Walk and Talk’ CPD session.

Case Study 3: Ruth Peet RVN, Course Administrator, VMG

Ruth Peet

Ruth is an RVN now working with VMG to help run our leadership and management qualifications.  As we all work from home, in-person events are a wonderful opportunity to catch up with our colleagues and friends, as well as the learning elements.  She says:

“For me, Congress this year was a wonderful opportunity to finally meet my VMG colleagues, course tutors and students.  It was a pleasure to be part of the VMG and witness the team culture.  My take home learning this year is the importance of creating physiological safety and cultivating inclusivity within the workplace.”

Hannah Perrin


Being surrounded by fantastic colleagues in a dynamic environment is inspiring.  While online learning absolutely has its place – and is a valuable part of VMG’s own CPD provision – being with others is energising and bonding, and a wonderful way to reinforce the reasons why we do what we do.

For more information on VMG’s CPD provision, visit .

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