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Ben Blake BSc Podiatry, 2016

Podiatrist for Solent NHS Trust

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Hi, I'm Ben Blake and I studied Podiatry at the University of Southampton.

As a Russell group University, Southampton highlighted the importance of research and research skills, which, within healthcare, is at the forefront of why we make decisions and what we do clinically.

What made you select the University of Southampton for your undergraduate study?

As a Russell Group University, Southampton highlighted the importance of research and research skills, which, within healthcare, is at the forefront of why we make decisions and what we do clinically. Integration of all of the applied health sciences was really useful when looking at the multidisciplinary aspects of modern health care provisions.

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

Throughout my time at Southampton, I always found that the staff were willing to make time for you to iron out any concerns, academic or personal, that you might have. The library resources are extensive, so there’ll always be something that you can find that can help.

What did you enjoy about the course?

My favourite part of the course was my clinical placement. I found placements were the best way for me to learn – having an opportunity to apply all of the skills and knowledge you’re taught in lecture rooms was the most important and enjoyable aspect for me.

Were there any modules that you particularly enjoyed?

I enjoyed the musculoskeletal modules – I didn’t necessarily realise it at the time because they were quite heavy and demanding, but it underpins everything we do as podiatrists.

How useful did you find your clinical placements?

I found my clinical placements extremely useful – they basically were extended job interviews and obviously that works both ways. The reason I picked the job I’m in is because I was here as a placement student and all of my now-colleagues made me feel really welcome and a vital part of the team.

Did you participate in any extra-curricular activities (such as clubs, societies) that provided skills that you have used since finishing your course?

I was a football player for my Halls of Residence (Monte). As vice-captain, it meant I developed communication skills that are now really important for delivering clinical messages. My role as treasurer also meant that I can deal with money much more efficiently than before, and having a part time job while studying meant I had to learn how to balance/prioritise my time.

What is your current profession?

I’m currently working as a qualified Podiatrist for Solent NHS Trust.

How do you feel that your course prepared you for employment?

I feel that everything I need for my current job was provided by my course.

Do you have any plans for your future career progression?

At the moment, I enjoy the NHS caseload and that consolidates all of the basics of Podiatry, with the idea being that I progress to a band 6 job within the year.

What tips would you give to current students looking to start a career in your sector? What could they be doing now to make themselves more employable when they graduate?

In general, look after your back! In terms of starting a career in Podiatry, know what you’re getting yourself in for. Shadow a podiatrist if you can, or an orthotist. Do some research about career pathways so that you can pick a university that is most suited to the areas you would need to fulfil your career ambitions.

What advice would you give to a student starting their undergraduate study at Southampton?

The basics of Podiatry are what will see you through to the end, so learn your bread and butter back to front. From there, manage your time and don’t be afraid to be inquisitive.

What are you most proud of?

I think I’ve helped to grow the profession slightly; before me, nobody at my school had heard of Podiatry, but since I started, there’s one chap who went to do it in Edinburgh and another who started here at Southampton.

Life as a Podiatry Student

Find out more about the typical day of a Podiatry student at the University of Southampton

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