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Accessing funding through the CSP's Charitable Trust has given associate member, Lisa Erwood, a key stepping stone in her career.   Here she tells us the difference it has made.


Lisa Erwood, associate member, is enjoying combining her studies with the job she loves

Starting out in physio

The year 2013 was life changing for me. My experience of receiving care as a patient inspired me to pursue a career in healthcare.

Initially it was hard to get a foot in the door in the NHS. I started off as a receptionist in a physiotherapy department and during this time I discovered how much I loved physio. The role is varied, with the option of working in different work and clinical settings. It’s so rewarding empowering patients to manage their conditions independently. It seemed only natural when a physio assistant post became available, a year later, that I gave it a go – I applied and was successful! 

Soon after, one of the advanced clinicians at work encouraged me to join the CSP. I had always been very vocal about how important career progression was to me and she suggested I look at the educational awards available to all members through the CSP Charitable Trust.

Exploring options

I started to investigate which courses may be useful to help me advance in my career. With two kids and a need to keep working, it wasn’t obvious what the best option would be. I knew I wanted to have the option of going to university to study physiotherapy so I contacted local universities to check what qualifications I would need – biology A level, an open university module or an access course were all suggested to me.

I couldn’t afford to reduce my hours at work as well as pay for the course, nor did I want to stop working to study.  So I chose the access course option through online distance learning which gave me the flexibility to work part-time and fit in with my home life.

I then applied for the Charitable Trust educational award for the Access to HE Diploma (Science Professions) offered by Academy Online Learning and was successfully awarded £600 towards the course which was a huge help financially.

Studying and developing in the role

I started the course in December 2015 and whilst it has been more challenging than expected, especially juggling family and working life, I have enjoyed it all!

The course has 17 modules, each worth 60 credits and covering a variety of topics. The course structure works well; the first three modules helped to develop academic writing and research skills. Each unit builds your knowledge; starting with an activity, followed by an assessment and feedback from your tutor.  I can relate each module to the tasks I am doing at work such as MSK (although the microbiology one was a little trickier!)

My work colleagues have been really supportive. Some of the physios have also undertaken the access course route and have been happy for me to ask questions; they often offer advice and feedback on my coursework.

For me, the highlight of the course has been the content.

I haven’t really seen it so much as a course but as a way of building my clinical knowledge

Over the past 15 months, my confidence has grown and I know I am able to do more.  I enjoy combining what I am learning with the job I enjoy doing. This experience has encouraged me to keep progressing. I’ve even taken on more responsibility at work - seven months after starting the course I applied for a band 3 role and got promoted!

I have since been offered a place to study a physio degree at two different universities on the basis I complete the access course. This has been a real boost to my confidence and I know there are other options that are now available to me with this qualification such as apprenticeships.

I feel lucky to have found my vocation in life and really believe that some of the difficult personal experiences I have gone through will help me to help others.

Don't miss out, apply now!

Charitable Trust educational award funding is available to all CSP members so don’t miss out!

Apply now for an educational award - the next application deadline is Tuesday 21 March.

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