Case study

Work placement confirms Olivia’s passion for the future

Work placements during your degree can help show you a path to your future. After seeing first-hand how important and effective the use of therapeutic techniques are to help athletes and local communities, Olivia Brown’s work placement confirmed that a future in sport therapy is where her passion lies.

Strengthening employability

Olivia has always had an interest in sport, particularly the role of sport therapists and how they work with colleagues in sport clubs, like managers, doctors and trainers to provide the highest level of care to athletes.

As part of Olivia’s studies on our BSc (Hons) Sport Therapy and Rehabilitation, and to strengthen her employability, she has taken advantage of additional qualifications offered as part of the course, such as first aid and massage. She also worked in the University’s Student Clinic where she delivered treatment to staff, students and the public.

However, Olivia knew that growing her professional network and getting real-world experience was going to help her further stand out in the graduate job market. To put her theory into practice, she approached the Get Back to the Action Clinic in Middlesbrough and was offered a work placement. She says:

“The practical lectures at University are really enjoyable and we have the opportunity to use equipment currently used in industry, such as electrotherapy machines. Experience of using the equipment led to my interest in wanting to know more about how the equipment is used in real world environments. And so I pursued a work placement to further my understanding.”

Excellent platform

The placement gave Olivia an excellent platform to test her skills and contribute to the treatment of clients. She says: “I shadowed two sports therapists to assess client needs and was entrusted to perform supervised treatments to improve my handling skills, and boost my knowledge.”

Growing in confidence

Choosing to go on a work placement can be a daunting experience for some. Olivia has some sound advice for how to overcome any challenges. She says: “The main challenge I faced was my lack of confidence when I started this placement.

“I overcame this by fully immersing myself in the experience and asking my clinical supervisor lots of questions to make sure I fully understood what I was asked to do, and also what different techniques were being used. I found this very helpful as it built a strong rapport with my supervisor as well as giving me more confidence in my knowledge and ability. I feel like this could help other students in the same position as myself.”

A female Sport Therapy student working in our Human Performance Unit.
Olivia also worked in the University’s Student Clinic where she delivered treatment to staff, students and the public.

Wide range of skills

Combining her studies on the course with placement experience has boosted Olivia’s confidence to be able to use her skills and have a positive impact on athletes and the public.

She says: “Studying at the University of Derby has given me a wide range of practical skills and knowledge which can be used to treat a diverse set of clients. This is useful for me as it widens my scope and opportunities for the future.”

Olivia has some advice for anyone thinking of doing a work placement. She says: “Make sure you approach as many clinics as possible to ensure you develop a broad set of skills. Be proactive, ask as many questions as possible, and take up opportunities to work with clients.”

Olivia continues to maintain her relationship with the clinic and has been given the opportunity to return for more placements during breaks from her studies.