Case study

Helping Gilson make a real difference in his career

Gilson Timire knew there was something missing in his methods working as a physiotherapist. He wanted to employ a more holistic approach – and found the answer in ergonomics. Now, after studying our Ergonomics and Human Factors MSc, he wants to make a real difference, enhancing his practice, educating others, and improving the health and safety laws in Zimbabwe.

Improving human performance

Gilson is from Zimbabwe and runs his own physiotherapy clinic. He says: “My interest in physiotherapy first started when I was at high school. I was a sporty person and I was involved in first aiding. That is where I first developed my interest in physiotherapy and managing people’s injuries.”

After working as a physiotherapist for many years in Zimbabwe, the UK and New Zealand, Gilson realised that there was something lacking in the profession’s approach to managing musculoskeletal conditions. He says: “I found ergonomics to be the answer.

“I have always wanted to look at holistic approaches to human performance and I’ve found that, with these conditions, there could be other issues. You need to find the root cause as people often have the same complaint and revisit for treatment time and time again. I look into issues with lifestyles, home, work, social activities and psychosocial issues to find the root cause.”

Educating Zimbabwe about ergonomics

In Zimbabwe, there is a lack of expertise in the field of ergonomics. Gilson explains: “I’ve found that a lot of people are unaware of what ergonomics is. There are very few ergonomists in the world and becoming one is a step forward. I think only one or two other people in Zimbabwe specialise in ergonomics so there is a lot of opportunity for me to grow in this area. We do not have any training in ergonomics in Zimbabwe, and some people that study the topic in other countries only do short courses, which is nothing like what you learn through studying a masters degree.”

Ergonomics and Human Factors is an evolving profession gaining greater attention as we see more emphasis being placed on a holistic human-centred approach to product and service design. Gilson says: “I want to educate people to increase their knowledge of human factors. I have found that people are interested in finding out more once they understand it, especially those working in medicine.”

From studying our online Ergonomics and Human Factors MSc, Gilson says: “I have benefited hugely from this course. My knowledge and skills in dealing with human health and safety and human performance/wellbeing has greatly improved. With this new knowledge, I am more confident. I have presented to other health professionals and company managers as well as writing articles in local papers to raise awareness of ergonomics. I am also looking at how to change the current health and safety law in the country, explaining why it is important for them to include human factors. I hope the draft will sail through our cabinet to become law.”

Online student Gilson Timire sat studying
Online student Gilson Timire

Support on a personal level

At the beginning, online learning was all very new to Gilson but, after a few weeks, he could easily navigate the online platform. He says: “I found the online platform to be good because it allowed sharing of knowledge and experience. The University study guide was very helpful as it helped me to plan my studies more efficiently, told me how I could communicate with others and had information on learning schedules.

“The discussion board was a great place to get you started and share ideas. I found it very helpful talking to other students on my course as they were from different countries, all working in human factors. I learned a lot from them.

“The lecturers were very approachable and supportive, and my best compliments go to Melinda Lyons, Ruth Sims and Victoria Filingeri. They wanted to find out more about me at a personal level and, if I missed something, they would get in touch to support me.

“The Ergonomics MSc is a great course that must be promoted all over the world. It breaks down human factors into different areas and brings you into the picture on what you would like to learn.”

Taking his career further

Gilson was able to continue with his job while studying online. He says: “Online study allowed me to continue with my job and it gave me flexibility in time. For example, I could study at night. In the current scenario of COVID-1,9 I could continue my studies. Online Learning was impressive.”

In terms of next steps, he says: “I am very happy to have completed my Ergonomics MSc with the University of Derby Online Learning. Next, I wish to pursue a PhD in Ergonomics, get my research project published in the relevant journals and focus on building my career in ergonomics.”

a diagram of the human body

Our online Ergonomics courses

Our online Ergonomics masters course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors. It meets their high standards and gives you the opportunity to gain graduate membership.

Find out more about our online Ergonomics coursesFind out more about our online Ergonomics courses