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Despite newly qualified physiotherapists leaving University at times of public sector cuts and a tougher times regarding employment there are still plenty of reasons for optimism for physiotherapy undergraduates. There are many simple ways to boost the chances of landing the job that you want.
It’s the eternal dilemma of ‘experience required’ but how do you go about getting the experience? Both voluntary and paid opportunities are open to students and these exist at a very local level, at events and also for a lucky few internationally. At the recent CSP student development meeting last year Lynn Booth the clinical lead for physical therapies for LOGOC (London Olympic Games Organising Committee) certainly underlined the importance for those wishing to break into working within sport of getting as much volunteering done as possible. Having started working for her local hockey team on a voluntary basis, whilst maintaining full time employment for the NHS, she charted her way through the amateur and professional ranks by a combination of hard work and being fantastic at her job. But it all started by her volunteering and giving up her weekends to help her local team.
What can you volunteer for? At ProActive Training we have been fortunate to see many undergraduate Physiotherapists gaining experience both at events and for local teams. Many of these have started working using sports massage skills acquired and many of our students have gone on to work for some of the hundreds of amateur sports teams around the country. We have seen some of the students who we deliver training to work in elite sport gaining experience at the likes of Aston Villa F.C, Middlesbrough F.C, Charlton Athletic F.C, Harlequins R.F.C, Queens Park Rangers F.C, Celtic .C, Wasps RFC and many other leading sporting clubs. Others have been lucky enough to work in part of fantastic teams and gain experience treating athletes at the London Marathon, London Triathlon, Bath Half Marathon and Wimbledon tennis. It represents a fantastic way to obtain experience with patients, build on the skills acquired from your degree and have a brilliant way to sell yourself to employers in the public and private sectors. It’s also great fun!!
Every year there are over a thousand newly qualified physiotherapists who leave university fighting for jobs in a very competitive market place where employers are able to be very selective about who they can choose for a role. What can a student do to increase their chances of landing that job that they want? By broadening your areas of expertise and building a CV rich in experience and well respected qualifications an individual will find it much easier to market and sell themselves. Opportunities may be more accessible within private practice as well if in your chosen location employment is limited within the NHS. As a profession small niche areas which were previously the domain of the physiotherapist are now being seen to go alternative practitioners/professions such as strength and conditioning, sport scientists and sports therapists. Obtaining knowledge and skills in these areas can be obtained and this will be fantastic again for increasing knowledge and having a much better understanding in terms of the overall management of a patient.