PHYSIOTHERAPY DEGREE APPRENTICESHIP

BSc (Hons) 

Accredited by University College Birmingham

Course Level

Level 6

Duration

4 years FT

90% of apprentices will remain in employment after completing their apprenticeship

83% of apprentices say their apprenticeship has improved their career prospects

Are you currently working in healthcare as a physiotherapy or rehabilitation assistant? Do you want to expand your knowledge and become a qualified physiotherapist? Our Physiotherapy Degree Apprenticeship will give you the advanced on-the-job training you need for a rewarding and diverse career.

This flexible, work-based degree empowers you with the skills and anatomical knowledge needed to diagnose and rehabilitate across a range of conditions affecting the body systems. Supported by our cutting-edge training facilities on campus, you will learn how to prevent illness and disease by promoting healthy living and educating service users, applying a wealth of knowledge to complex situations to ensure safe and effective practice.

Alongside applying your training in your workplace, you will undertake mandatory industry placements in a range of settings, including acute, musculoskeletal, respiratory and neuro. (Employers will need to ensure they can access required placements prior to the apprentice starting the programme.) 

Crucially, upon successful graduation, you should be eligible to apply for registration for the title of physiotherapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and then the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), opening up a wide range of career possibilities within a whole host of dynamic health and social settings. 

Why choose this apprenticeship?

  • BOOST YOUR SKILLS – Gain essential knowledge and skills for the field of physiotherapy as well as transferable skills such as leadership and management
  • PRACTICAL APPLICATION – Hone your practical skills on-the-job in your workplace and on a range of industry placements, as well as off-the-job in our state-of-the-art training facilities
  • INDUSTRY APPROVED – Register as a physiotherapist with the HCPC and become a member of the CSP on completion of your apprenticeship
  • EXPERT TEACHING – Get excellent support from our experienced academic lecturers and guest speakers with clinical expertise in a variety of areas

Our facilities

University College Birmingham offers a variety of cutting-edge facilities to support your physiotherapy training, including our new Health Skills and Simulation Suite, providing a specialist learning environment which replicates real-life care settings to enhance your practical experience.

Course breakdown

Part 1

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Excellent knowledge and understanding of the human body and its function is essential for a career in physiotherapy. This year-long module will cover the whole musculoskeletal system, nervous system and cardiovascular system. Innovative teaching techniques and digital technology enhances the learning experience.

Academic and Professional Development

This module facilitates your transition to higher education through a structured delivery of academic study skills relating specifically to your physiotherapy programme. The scope of the module will extend beyond that of lectures and will invite you to play a central role in your own academic development aided by online screencasts and virtual classrooms. Study skills will focus on written English and maths specific to physiotherapy, scientific enquiry and towards improving achievement.

Health across the Lifespan

This engaging module looks at the human lifespan and the challenges that occur from a physiotherapy perspective, from embryonic development, birth and early childhood development, through to adolescent biological and emotional maturity. Adulthood brings many changes to our bodies, from maximal fitness to cancer, life-limiting diseases and fluctuating mental health. The ageing process is complex and poses many challenges as we struggle to maintain independence and what happens when we can no longer care for ourselves. The biomedical, behavioural, physical and social science bases of physiotherapy practice are investigated in this fast-moving module.

Musculoskeletal Studies I

This module introduces basic skills in musculoskeletal assessment, including the assessment of joints, muscles and ligaments, developing clinical reasoning skills based on functional anatomical knowledge. You will get to practise your manual techniques, including handling skills, positioning and accessory movements. Manual therapy will be introduced and you will have the opportunity to practise this in our open access teaching rooms.

Part 2

Neurological Studies I

This includes an introduction to physiotherapy approaches to enhance movement and minimise impairment in a range of neurological conditions. You will gain understanding of life-long conditions and the complex management required. You will learn basic assessment and rehabilitation skills through practical lessons and taught sessions. The impact of neurological conditions will be discussed through the perspective of the patient, their families and from society as a whole.

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Studies I

Prevention and healthy living will be promoted in this empowering module. Many medical conditions are a result of unhealthy lifestyles. This module will look at the health of our surrounding communities, touching on inequalities in health and services available to support people potentially at risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Accompanying this, you will gain knowledge and insight into cardiovascular pathologies and respiratory conditions, learning the key skills in assessment and management of conditions.

Musculoskeletal Studies II

Your skills will be further developed from the previous musculoskeletal module. You will be using clinical reasoning skills to further develop your assessment, treatment and rehabilitation knowledge and learn to apply this knowledge to a range of case scenarios. You will extend your knowledge and understanding of more complex presentations, utilising the biopsychosocial approach to optimise the impact of physiotherapy interventions. A person-centred approach is embedded into these interventions, which is essential to prepare you for your practice placements.

Research for Physiotherapists

As the 21st century progresses and we move ever further into a digital age, having the knowledge and skills to navigate this area is vital to be an effective practitioner. This research module is based on the Topol Review, which will ensure you have a good knowledge of the digital future and will form the basis for the research project that will be taken in the final year. It aims to develop analytical thought through a range of research processes, allowing you to increase their appreciation of scientific and clinically-based research methods. Furthermore, this module aims to develop your critical thought of current research and practice and consider how the digital future will change the experiences of the service user.

Part 3

Complexity in Physiotherapy Practice

This module continues to build upon your neurological physiotherapy skills. You will refine your therapeutic handling and learn about patient journeys faced by people affected by permanent impairment from neurological damage. You will utilise case studies and problem-solving skills to encourage professional thinking ‘outside the box’. You will be looking at opportunities for children and people with life-limiting neurological conditions in our local communities and reviewing access to these services, enabling education and employment when appropriate.

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Studies II

This module continues to look at the management of patients with conditions affecting the heart and lungs. This revealing module explores aspects of palliative care, as well as reviewing the management of the unwell patient in the intensive care setting. You will develop skills suitable for working in the acute setting using our simulation facilities, practising your respiratory management in a safe and engaging environment.

Research Project for Apprentice Physiotherapists

This is a key project which will develop independent learning, problem-solving, analysis and data presentation skills. You will deepen your knowledge in a selected area of the Topol Report and apply it to the profession by choosing an area to be explored. This may be a review of a healthcare service, a clinical audit or a number of journal submissions on the same topic. All methods are supported by an additional poster presentation. 

End-point Assessment Module: Physiotherapy – The Future

This module focuses on the end-point assessment and is a must-pass module. It ensures that you have developed the appropriate standard of knowledge, skills and behaviours to be a safe, effective and well-rounded qualified physiotherapist. It utilises a range of assessment approaches to examine thoroughly how well you have developed over the course of your apprenticeship. This module will be graded in accordance with the end-point assessment plan for Physiotherapist (integrated Degree) Apprenticeship standard as issued by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. 

The modules listed above for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules – if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Employment: Employment for at least 30 hours per week on or before the start of the apprenticeship and a contract of employment that lasts the duration of the Physiotherapy Degree Apprenticeship. Employers will have to sign a service level agreement prior to the start to ensure the mandatory placements are available to you.

GCSEs: GCSE/IGCSE maths, English language and science grades A*-C/9-4. 

Plus any of the below qualifications:

  • A-levels: Grade profile of BBB, including grade B in biology or physical education.
  • BTEC: Grade profile of DDM from one of the following subjects: applied science, applied human biology, health and social care, sports and exercise science. This can be achieved from either an Extended Diploma or a combination of smaller BTEC qualifications.
  • Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications (but not including BTEC) are accepted for entry – a minimum of128 UCAS Tariff points will be required from a vocationally relevant subject matter. To find out if you are suitable to apply, please contact Admissions on 0121 604 1040 or complete our enquiry form here.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma: 128 UCAS Tariff points including a minimum of 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction in one of the following subjects: health science, health professional, biomedical science, biosciences, science, science for health practitioners.  If you are using this qualification as your English and maths evidence, you must have 12 credits for both English and maths modules.

Admissions process

The Apprenticeships team will contact applicants to confirm that they are employed for at least 30 hours a week in an applicable role within a healthcare setting (e.g. rehabilitation assistant). There will then be a joint meeting between the employer, learner and the Apprenticeships team to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the employer, educator and learner. The employer will be required to sign a service level agreement based on access to the required placements for the duration of the apprenticeship. 

Evidence of certification will be needed to verify the learner meets the entry requirements. Once verified, the learner will be invited for an initial assessment which includes a skills scan, plus a maths and English test.

This is followed by multiple mini interviews (MMIs). Here, you will be assessed on your motivation and understanding of the role of a physiotherapist. You will also complete a series of case scenarios and tasks while being assessed on your performance by different assessors, who may include members of the health teaching team, patients, practice educators and experienced clinicians. This will give a fair insight into your abilities, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate more than just academic ability. If successful, commitment statements and contracts will be exchanged between the learner, employer and the University.

Additional requirements for entry

You must be a minimum of 18 years old and working for at least 30 hours per week in an appropriate role.

Your employer must sign the University service level agreement which determines the employer’s responsibility for accessing required placements during the apprenticeship programme. 

You must also complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check through your employer and provide eligible evidence prior to starting the apprenticeship.

EU/International students

Academic entry requirements: Please visit our Country Specific Information page.

English Requirements: Overall IELTS score of 7.0 – a minimum of 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking, and a minimum of 6.5 in writing.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

Note: Indicative information only – actual timetables and assessment regimes will be issued at your induction. 

Teaching 

Learning strategies include: 

  • Practical lessons 
  • Small seminars
  • Self-directed study 
  • Placement learning opportunities 

You are expected to prepare for your lessons and conduct independent study reading around lecture topics. 

Assessment

Assessment formats include:

  • Practical exams
  • OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations)
  • Written multiple choice questions
  • Written assignments

You will also be required to evidence your skills in the workplace. Alongside your e-portfolio, you will be observed in practice by a workplace mentor who will assess you against the apprenticeship standard.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

End-point assessment

This final part of the degree apprenticeship allows you to prepare for assessment and have the opportunity to demonstrate your skills ready to become a registered physiotherapist.

Placements

Placements from the 2022 confirmed starts: Employers will be required to sign a service level agreement which commits them to finding suitable mandatory placements for their employees. University College Birmingham will invite employers to a partnership group to explore the potential for required placements across a wide range of employer sites. 

 

Placements 1 and 2

Once you have completed the necessary inductions and preparations, you will undertake two placements aligned to your Level 4. 

These placements will allow you to gain first-hand insight into the role of a physiotherapist. Your role will be observational at the start, but as you gain skills learned in your other modules, you will be able to apply these immediately. Your development will be rapid, and you will gain skills and knowledge that will be further developed in your second year.

Placements 3 and 4

Placements will be varied across different areas of physiotherapy practice. Placements 3 and 4 will align to the Level 5. You will be further supported throughout by our staff and encouraged to plan and reflect on your own learning. 

Placements 5 and 6

Placement 5 will be the start of Level 6 learning and takes place at the end of the third year, with the final placement starting at the start of the fourth year. In placements 5 and 6, you will be expected to practise with growing autonomy, developing and refining skills, to enable you to manage your own caseload.

Additional course costs

There are additional course costs for the physiotherapy degree, however for students undertaking the apprenticeship route, these costs are covered through the contractual arrangements between University College Birmingham and the apprentice's employer:

Uniform

Apprentices will be provided tunics and trousers for placements (outside of their own workplace), and a polo shirt for University College Birmingham practical sessions.

Travel costs to placements (away from the workplace)

If you are required to travel to a placement that is farther away from your home than your workplace, you can claim back travelling costs and parking charges from your employer. 

CSP Membership

As a member of the CSP, you will benefit from professional liability insurance cover, workplace support and representation with legal cover, and access to additional learning resources.

Books

Your programme manager will supply a reading list for the degree and most books will be available from the University College Birmingham library, or as an e-book. It is left to personal choice for you to decide if you wish to purchase your own copy of books from the reading list.

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