Training providers delivering Animal Health Professions Register (AHPR) accredited training courses in animal musculoskeletal therapies are reporting a strong level of interest from new students as well as students returning to studies post COVID-19.
A generation of young people have had their training and education disrupted over the past two years, potentially changing career paths and future livelihood with many putting their studies on hold. But as restrictions are lifted and the wider population looks forward to normality, students are returning to their studies.
Providers of AHPR accredited training courses in animal musculoskeletal therapies have seen numbers of applications rising in recent years and are expecting places to be quickly filled with applications already coming in for the 2022 cohort.
Dr Richard Payne, associate professor of veterinary anatomy and program lead, MSc/PGDip Veterinary Physiotherapy at University of Nottingham, has seen a steady increase in numbers enrolling in their AHPR accredited course over the past five years.
“Approximately 45 to 50 students enroll each year, which has been increasing year on year from 20 to 25 in 2018, says Richard. “Obviously, COVID-19 has had an impact, with many students interrupting their studies, which is producing a post-covid cohort bulge as they return to their respective years”.
“Choosing an AHPR accredited course ensures that the course meets set and approved standards for day-one competencies. Students can be assured that the outcomes are equivalent to those of other courses and membership of professional and regulatory bodies becomes much easier,” explained Richard.
The two-year PGDip and three-year MSC courses offered at Nottingham were developed to fulfil the need for veterinary physiotherapists. The courses integrate with undergraduate veterinary surgeon teaching, linking the concepts of treatment and rehabilitation.
Helen Tompkins, MSc, is a veterinary physiotherapist and director of Animal Therapy Solutions Ltd, which delivers the Level 3 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage, the only Ofqual regulated independent equine sports massage qualification in the UK. The course was originally developed by Mary Bromiley, FCSP, MBE, and offers human qualified practitioners the opportunity to qualify and work on all levels of both horses and riders.
“We can take a maximum of 12 students and are currently taking applications for September 2022”, explained Helen, who has had a lot of interest in the course since COVID-19. “The course is accredited with the AHPR to offer students the opportunity to direct entry on their register.
“I am keen to promote professionalism and an excellent standard of conduct to my students. I would like them to sign up to the voluntary register for their own benefit and to enable them to market their own practice as a transparent and high standard operation,” she added.
The McTimoney College of Chiropractic has seen the number of applicants for their programme increase significantly since 2019. Nikki Routledge, MSc, PGCLT, BSc (Hons), MMAA, spokesperson for the McTimoney College of Chiropractic, said: “Places on the next MSc Animal Manipulation (Chiropractic) course which starts in January 2023 are already filling fast.
“The College also offers a unique Graduate Certificate in Animal Therapy, which encompasses training in soft tissue massage, fascia release and stretching in both equines and canines as well as developing business skills and practical hands-on training in preparation for the MSc Animal Manipulation.”
“We have seen a marked increase in public recognition of the benefits of chiropractic care for animals over the last few years, with an increase in demand for practitioners. The MSc programmes we provide are AHPR accredited, offering a comprehensive and well-recognised route to providing the highest qualified practitioners to fill this demand.
During COVIS-19 we were determined to provide continued excellent education and training, with highly comprehensive blended learning experience for all our students which meant that every student progressed each year and graduates in this period continued to reach high levels of competency standards to fit them for practice”, Nikki explained.
For horse and pet owners, choosing an animal musculoskeletal professional who has been trained by an AHPR accredited training provider gives added peace of mind that the therapist has achieved the minimum competencies to carry out their treatment to the highest standards.
“The aim of the Animal Health Professions Register is to raise standards in the industry and assist animal owners and veterinary surgeons in ensuring that the professionals they use to assist in the treatment and health maintenance of their or their client’s animals are suitably trained and accountable,” said Carol Brizuela, MRCVS, former chairman of the AHPR. “All registrants have achieved an industry recognised appropriate standard of training through externally accredited courses, comply with Continuing Professional Development and hold full, valid professional indemnity insurance as required by the wider industry.”
Liz Troman, MSc, RVN, the current chair of the AHPR, said: “In all these professions there are increased demand for animal owners looking for supportive treatments to maintain the wellbeing and health issues of their animals.
“It is even more important in todays world that standards are upheld and people use recognised professionals to deliver their needs”.
For details of AHPR accredited courses in a range of musculoskeletal therapies, visit the AHPR website and follow them @AHPR on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.