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The College of Podiatry welcomes Office for Students support for higher education in podiatry

The College of Podiatry welcomes Office for Students support for higher education in podiatry

Two projects, designed to improve recruitment and retention of students to podiatry courses are being warmly welcomed by the College of Podiatry.

These projects are part of a £225,000 investment by the Office for Students designed to increase student uptake into vulnerable specialist allied health professions. The fund is administered by the College of Podiatry as part of the Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines Programme.

The University of Brighton will be trialling a novel and innovative approach to widening participation, by developing resources for pop-up podiatry schools targeting secondary school aged children.

The idea - which is the brainchild of staff at the University of Brighton - will target communities where people are less likely to go into higher education, enabling them to sample courses on the treatment of foot disorders and diseases.

Dr Simon Otter from the University of Brighton was integral to the project design. He said:

“The podiatry team at University of Brighton are excited to receive funding from OfS to help develop a package of offline and online recruitment tools which can be used by podiatrists. Once the packages have been completed, we would seek to engage as many colleagues as possible to join us on piloting work to help promote not only courses at University of Brighton, but also podiatry as a career for wider audiences.”

James Coughtrey, Head of Education at the College of Podiatry said:

“This is exactly the kind of initiative we need to spread the word about how rewarding and varied life as a podiatrist can be. There are such great opportunities within the profession to work with patients across the healthcare spectrum, building a meaningful and enriching career as an expert in the lower limb. We see great transferability to this initiative across the healthcare careers and beyond, and I look forward to seeing the outcomes over the coming months and years.”

A second project is a collaboration between the University of Salford, University of East London, Birmingham Metropolitan College, and the University of Brighton.

It aims to increase podiatry course student-placements by broadening the types of placements available, for example in private practice settings, public health and health & wellbeing services, and within the healthcare industry. 

James Coughtrey continued:

“Delivering relevant placement opportunities for our undergraduates to enable them to work in a number of settings on graduation is really important. This piece of work builds upon the long held belief that provision of placement opportunities in the private sector and greater alliance between private and independent practice and public sector working are hugely valuable, and we would encourage all employers in podiatry to consider looking at ways of enhancing their placement provision to enrich and enable the profession further. Students, providers and patients all benefit from the increased experience that projects such as this will offer and we are in full support of its ambitions.”

The winning projects were judged by a panel including representatives from the College of Podiatry, the Society and College of Radiographers, the Council of Deans of Health and Health Education England. After a competitive bidding process they received a share of £225,000.

Steve Jamieson, Chief Executive of The College of Podiatry commented:

“Podiatrists are experts in all aspects of the lower limb and provide tailored services that only we are best placed to deliver. We need to explore new and innovative ways to encourage aspiring health care professionals into podiatry. 

“The College of Podiatry is delighted to be hosting the SIHED programme, as it is a vital piece of work to ensure the continued delivery of specialist patient care.”

Details on each of the projects funded under this programme is available at www.officeforstudents.org.uk

More information about SIHED project here: www.scpod.org/sihed