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Skills push

Know yourselves, and realise your skills will last a lifetime and can be used anywhere in the world, speaker Jill Wigmore-Welsh told the conference.

Ms Wigmore-Welsh, who qualified as a physio at the Royal London hospital in 1977 and held management roles in the NHS before starting her own private clinic in 1985, stressed the strengths of physio training, and the variety of careers it could lead to.

She said: 'You are not going to fall off the edge of the world if you don't get a job in the NHS.

'Unlike law, pharmacology and computing, anatomy and physiology largely stay the same. You can take your skills all over the globe,' she told delegates.

She also urged students and new graduates to be enterprising in the search for work experience and job opportunities, and to approach sports clubs and event organisers. A former British team physio to the Olympic rowing and judo squads, who teaches massage, Ms Wigmore-Welsh also advised acquiring a range of skills. 'If you approach the private sector, offer something such as massage,' she said.

Later in the conference, a motion calling for at least three hours of mandatory massage training to be included in the undergraduate curriculum, was passed.

Recalling the origins of the CSP, which grew out of the Society for Trained Masseuses, established in 1894, Mark Lillywhite said:  'Massage is one of the four pillars of physiotherapy.  As the profession modernises we should not forget our origins.'

Several speakers spoke of the confidence they had gained from learning massage. Terry Hugill, a student at King's College hospital, London, said the college had put on a massage session as a result of the enthusiasm shown by students.

Gary Nicholson from the University of East Anglia, where massage is part of the curriculum, said it developed students' confidence and manual handling skills.

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