NIHR CLAHRC National Careers Day for Postdoc Research Careers in the Allied Health Professions

By Angela Browne, CLAHRC EoE Buisness and Operations Manager

On the 11th May 2017 the NIHR CLAHRC South London and NIHR CLAHRC East of England held a joint Careers Day for Allied Health Professionals (AHP) at the Post Doctorate Research level. The day was structured to give advice and networking opportunities to all delegates and included a stellar line up of speakers to do just that. The day was chaired by Professor Cath Sackley, Head of Physiotherapy, Professor of Rehabilitation & Deputy Head of the Division of Health and Social Care at Kings College London.

The Wicked Witch of the West featured (well her stripy tights and shoes did) along with the yellow brick road, sheep throwing them selves off cliffs and a round of speed dating making an unforgettable combination. Between them the speakers came up with a wealth of information and advice for AHPs which in many ways could transfer into other disciplines the following are just a few of those words of wisdom for anyone wishing to take up a career in AHP research;

– Seek a mentor from your specialty and perhaps more importantly from outside your speciality to widen your horizons; its ok to have more than one
– Put together a one page CV with a photo that you can easily send to potential mentors, collaborators or employers
– Have Informational Interviews (google ‘informational interviews’) – ask the right questions e.g. ‘what salary range would this type of role attract?’ rather than ‘how much do you earn?’
– Talk to your university careers department for advice
– Think about what really drives you; what is your passion
– Seek out opportunities to sit on funding or health and social care committees – one way to learn what is expected of an application is to be part of an application process
– When writing an application remember to write about what has changed in clinical practice as a result of your clinical/academic approach
– NIHR fellowships give you external validation – if you fail the first time, try again
– NIHR panels look for strengths in the candidates as well as the research proposal. Check out the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre website for information around applications
– NIHR application pitfalls include being over or under ambitious, proposing unrealistic budgets and failing to show how important the research is to the NHS and its patients
– Showcase your work through applying for awards and social media
– Contact your regional hub of the Council for AHP Research (CAHPR)
– Seek out other funders e.g. Stroke Association, Alzheimer’s Association, Health Education England
– ‘Career’ should be used as a verb ‘to career’, it can change at any time, there is no set path so OWN YOUR CAREER

If I take anything away from the day it is that there is a hunger within the AHP community to drive research forward and make a difference to patients’ lives. Thanks go to Catherine Elliott from KCL for organising the event.

Please follow the link slides and speaker bios from the conference

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