Never in my 20 years in Podiatry higher education have things ever been in such flux. Some might recall, with a wistful smile, ye olde “Podiatry School” or “Foot Hospital”, where Podiatry education enjoyed high levels of autonomy, driven by professional allegiance to “the Society” and clear NHS career pathways awaiting graduates.
Today, BSc (Hon) Podiatry is “just” another degree within the University sector. It needs to pay for itself, perhaps subsidise other courses now and again, make contributions to central University costs, and play out changes in the wider higher education sector (such as assessment of teaching and research excellence and the “fee paying Podiatry student”). To this you can then add high levels of allegiance to the Society and College too. To survive the “Podiatry School” of today needs to reboot for the future. And in short, “Your Podiatry School Needs You”.
It was against this backdrop that Veronica Newton, Dr Jane McAdam and I have relished the opportunity to host the 2018 ENPODHE conference, a network of Podiatry Schools across the EU. The first full day is a “Podiatry Teachers” conference, resurrecting an event that used to occur annually I believe (but not for at least 10 years). It provides a chance for anyone involved, or indeed just interested, in helping to build the Podiatry workforce of the future to meet with other like mind professionals. You might think this is only for “lecturers” but actually the podiatry workforce is built by academic staff plus a vast team of clinical educators out in real practice. It is for all these contributors that we are hosting this one day event.
The schedule for March 22nd 2018 is HERE.
The programme reflects a more contemporary view of where Podiatry education is heading – new methods for teaching and assessment, issues such as digital literacy too. It also allows UK podiatry to benefit from the considerable energies of our EU colleagues. They will each have a different working context (e.g. different scope of practice, public/private sector graduate destinations, more/less national cohesion in terms of regulation and professional bodies) and this has shaped how they build their own Podiatry workforce in Spain, France, Belgium, Finland and so on. We can all learn by looking at what others have achieved and how, and find our professional energies replenished by the enthusiasm of others for Podiatry education and students. We were all students once of course. Perhaps you could be the next “Mr Chips“.
So, ever thought of helping to build the future Podiatry workforce? Or you already are and want to know more about what the future might hold? Join us on March 22nd at the University of Salford.
The full ENPODHE conference is detailed on the ENPODHE website here.