Student focus: bridging the gap

Going from student to qualified physio can be daunting. Tom Gill explains how the CSP can ease the transition

Student Focus

If you are a final year physiotherapy student, the CSP strongly encourages you to attend one of the CSP’s Transition to the World of Work sessions that are held across the UK. 

These are usually organised at the request of the university and occur at different times of year to fit in with the student timetable. 

The CSP offers a presentation covering:

  • contracts of employment 
  • NHS pay rates and the terms and conditions new graduates can expect
  • information about the regulatory role of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) 
  • tips on how to avoid ending up on the wrong end of an HCPC complaint
  • the benefits of CSP membership

And of course, at the end of the presentation we also ensure there is plenty of opportunity for questions. When time allows, we supplement the session with a contract-of-employment quiz, and case studies that give students the opportunity to learn about, and learn from, the types of common workplace problem the CSP deals with on a regular basis. 

These case studies cover issues as diverse as bullying and harassment, using social media, ensuring your notes are fit for purpose and what to do if you are the subject of an HCPC complaint.

The CSP’s senior negotiating officers (SNOs) run these sessions for third-year physiotherapy students. SNO Julie Collins says: ‘The feedback from students who attend these events is really positive. We aim to make the sessions informative, but also try to ensure they are interactive and even light-hearted where we can – accepting that contract law isn’t an obvious source of fun! 

‘From our perspective, we see the sessions as a valuable opportunity to alert the students to some of the potential pitfalls they may face and save them from a painful employment experience.’ 


Julie adds: ‘We also want to showcase the many employment benefits associated with being a CSP member. Whatever point you are at in your studies, it is always cheaper to convert from student membership to becoming a full practising member rather than to join the CSP for the first time as a qualified member.’ 

She explains that this is because student members only pay a £20 joining fee, in addition to the actual membership fee, instead of £210 when joining the CSP for the first time as a practising member. 

Employment contracts: three top tips

  1. When starting a new job, make sure you read and understand the terms of the employment contract, and question in writing anything you don’t understand before accepting it 
  2. If you are given the employment contract and turn up for work every day, you will be deemed to have accepted its terms even if you do not actually sign it
  3. Check your first pay slip to make sure it is correct and raise any anomalies promptly

Get active in the CSP


Being part of a team is key to your personal wellbeing, your physiotherapy career, and influencing within and on behalf of the CSP. Each year we watch with admiration as physio students use their voices to ensure physiotherapy moves forward, and their careers too. 

As a member-led organisation, ensuring your views are heard is key to influencing the direction the CSP takes. That’s why I believe it’s so important that you become involved with the CSP while you’re at university, either by becoming a student rep or through your physiotherapy society. 

Becoming engaged as a student will help make your transition from university life to the world of work that bit easier. You’ll be up to date on everything, from employment contracts, your rights at work, including flexible working requests, and what to expect from your new employer. 

You’ll also be able to tap into the vast CSP reps networks, enabling you to access support and guidance as you make your journey into the professional world.

During my time at the CSP, it’s been fantastic to see a number of student reps move on as qualified members to take an active role as steward or safety rep. The benefits of this are multifaceted: allowing members to continue engaging with the CSP and their colleagues; great CPD and career benefits; and championing the voice of physiotherapy within the workplace.

  • Siân Caulfield is CSP organising officer, covering the Midlands and north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

More information

  • If you would like to get more involved but are unsure about who to speak to, please email me or Kevin Dale in the CSP organising team:


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