Louisa Pettener

"The access to resources there was invaluable"
About my career

During the BSc (Hons) in Speech Pathology and Therapy, I learnt how to analyse case information to anticipate potential speech and language difficulties and how best to work on them. Theory really reinforces everything that you put into practise in this career as well as problem solving.

I had 6 placements overall during the degree, in clinics, hospitals and schools with NHS Trusts across the North West. The placements for me were the most important part of the course as I got to see the theory in practise. They gave me the experience of doing the job in real life and helped to grow my professional network, as well as grow in confidence. I feel it’s crucial to be flexible and confident in your approach to working in this industry, so you can quickly adapt to a variety of settings and clients.

While finishing my research project, I applied for a bank Speech and Language Therapist role. As I’d applied before I’d finished my degree I wasn’t actually expecting to be shortlisted, but I received an email inviting me to interview. It was my first interview for a Speech and Language Therapy role so I was nervous, but still being at university meant that all of the theory was still fresh in my mind. I received a call later on the interview day offering me the position!

Since graduating, I’ve attended a course about Speech Disorders presented by Caroline Bowen which not only contributed towards my Continuing Professional Development, but also informed my practise in a speech disorder group I help to run every week. It’s important to keep up to date with current and new evidence-based practise, to make sure your intervention is always at its most effective.

My top tip for students is…

Start applying for jobs early; some Trusts might be happy to wait until you get your results if you are what they are looking for. Find a way to make your application stand out by highlighting any volunteering or career-related work you have done which other applicants may not have.

I’m inspired by…

My placements which allowed me to work with some genuinely fantastic clinical educators. I spent my 8-week block placement with three particular paediatric therapists at Blackburn with Darwen and they have been my main inspiration in achieving my goals. I started the course wanting to work with adults but I learned so much from them and they shared so much knowledge with me that I realised a career with paediatrics was for me. I’ve never looked back!

Why I love Manchester Met

I’d graduated from another university previously and the level of support and encouragement I received from staff at Manchester Metropolitan University was far greater. Many of the lecturers were practising therapists which gave me access to a fantastic amount of practical and relevant knowledge. On top of this, the department has an incredible working Speech and Language Therapy clinic on campus, and the access to resources there was invaluable.

Also, I have made some fabulous friends for life as it was a truly challenging course at times, and we all got through it together!