Your career, your adventure, your path

As work begins on developing a new career framework for the profession, CSP professional adviser Claire Fordham, explains the aims of the project, the timeline for its development and how members can get involved and help shape the final framework

Your career
Career Framework

The CSP published the original version of the career framework for the profession back in 2011, but since then the range of roles and responsibilities of physiotherapy staff have evolved and broadened – resulting in a much more diverse 21st century workforce.

Due to these changes, the current physiotherapy framework, which defines and describes the capabilities required at different levels of practice, contains certain elements that now require updating.

‘The 2011 framework needs modernising,’ Claire Fordham explains, ‘But its underpinning reference points – such as its definition of physiotherapy and the core physiotherapy knowledge, values and behaviours – do remain valid.’

Also unchanged, are the core domains of physiotherapy practice it describes. But there is now a need and a desire to situate the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of the profession within the four pillars of modern allied health professional practice. The intention is that this will refresh our thinking and foster new views about what a career in physiotherapy can mean and how we can approach growth and development.

As a result, the new career development project aims to produce updated support for members, and help them to think differently about both their personal and professional growth, as well as their career development.

‘The previous version is not outdated to the extent it can’t be used any more,’ says Ms Fordham. ‘But it no longer reflects the way we need the contemporary workforce to develop and grow.’

As such, work on the new framework will aim to maintain the integrity of the original one, but modernise it by contextualising career development in the pillars of clinical, research, education and leadership practice. It will seek to empower members, by describing the range of different skills and capabilities they can acquire whilst working across different pillars of practice, and at different levels.

Just as with the original framework the new framework will be inclusive of all levels of practice and will have a particular focus on reframing thinking about development as a support worker and at early and mid-career points,’ Ms Fordham explains.

Importantly, the new version will also ensure that the expectation to practise in a non-discriminatory manner, will be central. Whether that’s with patients, colleagues and in designing services. Equity, respect and person-centeredness should be in the foreground of who we are as a profession, helping to drive positive culture change creating inclusive accessible services.

Project aims

  • Modernise the physiotherapy framework, to provide an updated underpinning frame of reference for physiotherapy professional practice.
  • Help individuals to consider how to broaden their practice whatever their role at whatever point they are at in their career.
  • Help individuals move away from the current, linear way of thinking about career progression.
  • Empower members to make how they plan their career progression their own decision.
  • Enable members and other stakeholders to think differently about a career in physiotherapy; recognising that there are numerous career routes available to take, and that individuals don’t just gain experience or develop skills within one pillar or at one point in their career.
  • Help members take control of their career and move into areas where they can use their skills and knowledge in a different way.
  • Showcase the capability of the physiotherapy workforce at different levels to leaders and managers, so staff can fulfil their highest potential.

    Inspiring workforce development 

    The new version of the career framework also aims to increase recognition outside of the profession that the physiotherapy workforce includes and encompasses more than clinical practitioners – and highlight that all physiotherapy staff have the ability to broaden their skills and contribute in other areas.

    The CSP hopes the new framework will also help to inspire and prompt managers and decision makers to innovate with new roles, for example if members of the physiotherapy workforce still want to treat patients but are also interested in undertaking research, we need roles to enable that.

    There is a need to support people to work flexibly and the new framework aims to encourage innovative role development that would enable more staff to stay in the physiotherapy workforce.

    The new framework will also aim to empower students to consider a range of future career opportunities and enable them to focus on ways they might develop across the four pillars of practice. Armed with this insight, students will have the flexibility to think about where they would like to go in their career and how they may get there.

    Registered physiotherapists and support workers meanwhile, will be able to use the new framework to map their present level of development and take stock of their current levels of capability across the four pillars of practice. Importantly, the framework will also enable registered physiotherapists and support workers to explore how they can remain in their current roles, developing their capabilities across others pillars of practice, in order to bring more variation to how they work.

    As Ms Fordham explains: ‘With a focus on how to develop in all four pillars of practice, at all levels in the profession, we hope the new framework will help people truly plan their career adventure in their own way, and not be held back or discouraged by outdated attitudes and beliefs about when and how to explore different options or ways to get to the next step – if that’s where they’re headed.’ The original framework titled 'Professional frameworks' can be viewed here.

    How to get involved


    Invitations will be sent to representatives groups and networks inviting them to join a short life task and finish group on behalf of members, to provide guidance, scrutiny and challenge to the CSP project team


    Two career framework cafés for members will be held (on 11 August from 9-10am, and 22 August from 6-7pm). Drop in to hear from the project team and share your views on your understanding of career development and the language used to describe various levels of practice. Sign up here


    Members are invited to attend two final career framework cafés (on 13 September from 12-1pm, and 28 September from 10-11am) to hear from the project team and to share their views on the new draft framework. Sign up here

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