ESVPS is a not-for-profit organisation which was set up in 2003 by a group of likeminded veterinarians with the principal objective to provide attainable, balanced qualifications for veterinary practitioners working in full-time practice. The General Practitioner Certificates and Nurses Certificates were designed to meet the needs of busy veterinary practitioners and nurses wanting to gain a postgraduate qualification without having to take excessive time out of their busy working lives.
Since the launch of the first General Practitioner Certificates in 2004, over 3000 veterinary professionals have achieved an ESVPS Certificate. ESVPS examinations have been held in 15 European countries, with new non-European countries being added in the next few years, including South America and Japan.
Whilst the General Practitioner Certificate is not a specialist qualification it can be used as a stepping stone to higher education within the profession. Some successful candidates have used the General Practitioner Certificate qualification to go on to complete a higher degree and a few have subsequently completed a European Diploma in their specialist area.
A selection of the General Practitioner Certificates have been validated by Harper Adams University at a Post Graduate Certificate level.
Director: James Banfield
James is a Director of ESVPS. He has an MBA and an MA in history (Magdalene College, Cambridge);
James has over twenty years' experience in professional and education publishing first with Longman
from 1987 to 1993 as an editor and publisher and then at Pearson Group PLC from 1993 to 2003
working in publishing and business development roles until he became Managing Director at FT Information Europe.
Prior to joining Benchmark in 2012 James was Managing Director at KBC, an international education provider.
Examinations Chairman: Professor Simon J. Wheeler
Simon Wheeler, born in Wales, graduated from the University of Bristol in 1981. After working in veterinary practice, he gained a PhD in neurology from the University of London. He is a founder Diplomate and President of the European College of Veterinary Neurology. He held academic positions at North Carolina State University and University of London. He holds an MBA from The Open University Business School, Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is adjunct Professor of Clinical Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine - North Carolina State University.
Director: John Houlton MA, VetMB, DVR, DSAO, MRCVS, DECVS
European Veterinary Specialist in Surgery
John Houlton qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1970 having gained a 1st Class Natural Science Degree in 1967. After 6 years in practice, he returned to Cambridge as University Assistant Surgeon. In 1980 he became University Surgeon, remaining in that post until 1997. He then joined the Veterinary Defence Society as a Claims Consultant until 2010. He has extensive experience of being an examiner, having acted as an external examiner for several UK Veterinary Colleges, having examined for the RCVS Certificate and Diplomas in small animal orthopaedics and surgery, RCVS Fellowships and for the European College of Veterinary Surgeons.
He has a wide number of contacts in Europe and has been President of the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association (BVOA), AO/Vet International, the European Society of Veterinary Orthopaedics and Traumatology (ESVOT) and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS). He is an RCVS Diplomate in Veterinary Radiology and in Small Animal Orthopaedics, and a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. He is currently European Associate Editor for Veterinary Surgery, a panellist for the BVA/KC hip and elbow dysplasia schemes and a European Specialist in Veterinary Surgery. In 1985 he was awarded the BSAVA Simon Award for outstanding contributions to Veterinary Surgery. He has published extensively and has co-edited five text books. Beyond veterinary medicine, his major interest is gundogs, and working Labradors in particular.
Operations Manager and Legal Consultant: Ana Rocha
Ana is Operations Manager and Legal Consultant for ESVPS. She has joined the organization with great enthusiasm
aiming to further develop the high standards set up from start.
She graduated at law in Coimbra, Portugal and previously worked in several major companies improving her skills in client management, quality control and supervising client management teams. She has also worked on a legal office as a consultant. She joined the Improve International company in 2007 as business manager overseeing the delivery of the portfolio of courses in the different managed courses from Oporto that include Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Japan, Mexico, Chile and Peru. She also works as the HR coordinator in the offices as well as a legal consultant.
Her range of expertise allows her to provide support on different areas with upper management on new projects and coordinating the existing ones.
Assessment and Partnership Manager for the UK and Scandinavia: Dale Ford PGCE PGDE MEd
Dale's background is in Further Education, teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Anatomy and
Physiology for Complementary Therapies before becoming the Head of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and was quality
lead for the organisation and external awarding bodies. She has completed a PGCE, PGDE and more recently a Masters
in Education in 2014 with distinction before joining ESVPS as the UK Examinations Coordinator in 2015.
In her spare time, she likes to walk her dogs, enjoys country pursuits and work on the farm where she lives with her partner.
Italian Examination Coordinator: Maria 'Titti' Villa
Titti Villa is a qualified Veterinary Technician, and joined ESVPS as the Italian Examination Coordinator c/o SCIVAC, Cremona (IT) in 2014. Titti has scientific training, high level of experience about sales line management, employee relations with pet shop, veterinary pharmacy ,wholesaler. Titti's role includes coordination and management of sales activities as consultant for product for animal health , coordination of breeder’s line events, employee relationship with veterinary and organisation veterinary scientific’s events.Titti's strenghts are team oriented, problem solving, excellent independent business and team worker capacity, able to maintain and develop professional relations.
Spanish and Portuguese Examination Coordinator: Patricia Silva DVM
Patrícia Silva graduated from the University of Porto in 2013.
She participated in several externships in small animal clinics and hospitals. She did her curricular internship at Hospital Veterinário de Gaia and at Hospital Clínic Veterinari da Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
In 2013 she started working in a clinic and, later, also worked at a small animal hospital and as a sales representative. In 2014 she got a pedagogical skills certificate and in 2015 she completed the MBA for veterinarians.
Beyond veterinary medicine, her interests include animal behaviour and management.
Head of Marketing: Sarah Walsh
Sarah studied for a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing in 2015 through the Digital Marketing Institute. Sales & Marketing background - previously worked in lead generation for marketing agencies. Sarah has a ginger cat called Beans and enjoys running, socialising, travelling and watching rugby.
German Examination Coordinator: Gudrun Neidenbach DVM
Gudrun Neidenbach joined the team as Representative of the ESVPS for German speaking countries Germany, Austria and Switzerland. She grew up in southern Germany and studied veterinary medicine in Vienna, afterwards she did postgraduate training in Acupuncture and Behavioural Medicine. In her free time she loves hiking and enjoys spending her free time on the beach. She is passionate about experiencing different cultures and languages – theoretically with journalistic writing and reading of books or practically by traveling the world, but even more she loves her dog, who is a very well behaved and cuddly furry companion. As German speaking Custumer Service Manager of Improve International at the same time, she is eager to upgrade the service for delegates and candidates as a single point of contact for all questions around courses and exams. She is attending courses and she is happy to be available for everyone personally!
ESVPS French Examination Coordinator: Ivete Ribeiro
Ivete Ribeiro studied Music at the Music Conservatory in Aveiro. In 2009 she graduated in Languages and Publishing Studies in the University of Aveiro, where in 2012, she obtained a Masters in Languages, Literatures and Cultures. In 2014 she attended a course of International Commerce and in 2016, she completed a post-graduation in Legal Translation of French in the same university. In 2009, she started working as a music teacher at the elementary school. Before joining the ESPVS as French Examination Coordinator, she worked in a 3D Printing Company's customer service team. She has also been working as a French translator of legal documents since 2010.
PA to the Managing Director: Jo Johnston
I have worked for ESVPS since 2012. My background is in H.R. and Administration. I like to work as part of a team and although our team is spread out we manage to work closely thanks to modern communication methods. I have always enjoyed working with people and one of the best things about this job is helping candidates to achieve success. I also love the dogs in the office as well as our candidates!
The Academic Board comprises fifty members who are Diplomates of UK, European or USA Veterinary Colleges, or are similarly qualified or recognised specialists who are active in clinical practice. The Academic Board sets and evaluates all course work, formulates the final examination, reviews the conduct of examination and determines the final examination results.
To achieve ESVPS accreditation a course provider must provide/fulfil the set criteria, which is evaluated by the accreditation committee. Please refer to the accreditation page for further details.
This is not a formal committee of ESVPS but is an integral part of the examination process. The Validation Review Panel is responsible for reviewing and benchmarking all submitted examination questions. Members of the Validation Review Panel are General Practitioner Certificate holders and academics.
ESVPS offers sixteen General Practitioner Certificates (GPCerts). Please click below for further details of the subjects available.
ESVPS offers five Nurses Certificates (NCerts). Please click below for further details of the subjects available.
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