I first became a student at Leeds Beckett when I was 18 years old (2011), studying Childhood Studies on Headingley campus. This was one of the best things I have ever done, meeting new friends, making memories and getting my degree was a huge achievement, my graduation day in 2014 was one of my happiest ever!
This is why, when I decided to have a career change and become a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT), I knew I wanted to come back to Leeds Beckett! This course is on city campus, and Leeds is such a wonderful city, which has loads to do, and is really easy to find your way around. I was excited to live in the city centre, and meet lots of new people on my course.
I chose the Speech and Language Therapy course because I want to become a qualified professional, who can really make a difference to people’s lives and well-being. SLT work covers a huge range of people and abilities. For example, once qualified I can work with: children who have Autism, teenagers who have stammers and elderly people who have swallowing difficulties, and all those in-between. Even things like working with people who have severe burns to the throat, stroke survivors and singers is possible work of an SLT. It really is one of the most diverse job roles I’ve ever known of.
I really feel like becoming an SLT will be worthwhile. The job satisfaction of helping someone with their entire life, improving their wellbeing and making a difference is very important to me, and all those on my course. It is possible to work and a private SLT, running your own business, or working for/with another SLT, or working in the NHS - which are all brilliant opportunities.
I enjoy the course, as it is very interesting learning about human biology, medical science, children’s language acquisition (how children learn to talk), and linguistics. All of these are subjects I have never studied before, and the course is very good at keeping everyone on the same page. We are all taught the basics, so we are all at the same level of understanding. I have just finished my first year. This featured a lot of theory, plus a few placements to ease us into the SLT role and get a firm understanding of how language works and how humans speak.
The course is challenging, and it can be very difficult at times, but my tutors are very happy to help and answer questions in person or via email if we would prefer. At times I have lost sight of what it all means, as I got a bit bogged down with studying a lot of theory and doing exams. When I did placement though, it reminded me of why I want to do SLT – meeting the people I will be helping in my job role (service users) and seeing how the speech and language therapy makes a real difference in their everyday life. It's very rewarding, and that's a big part of what keeps me going.
I have had 3 placements in my first year. One was in child development, which was working in a nursery. One was being a ‘conversation partner’, which is meeting an adult who has SLT needs and chatting to them once a week. My other placement was an observational block placement, for which I was placed in Hull. I worked with a community SLT for 3 days, and a Forensic Psychiatry secure hospital for 1 day. This placement was really eye-opening, as I got to observe an SLT in her everyday life. It was great to see first hand what the job involves, and how she manages her workload along well as observing therapy with clients and patients.
I was placed in Hull, as we can be placed anywhere in Yorkshire, which is also a really good opportunity to explore new places. I was there for 4 nights so had lots of time to wander about, go out for tea and make the most of my placement!
This course is good because there is a lot of placement opportunity over the 3 years, giving us loads of opportunities to work with different ages and abilities of people, both in the NHS and privately. This will be really beneficial for my future career, as well as for informing my uni work.
To round off this blog I would like to tell you that coming to Leeds Beckett on the Speech and Language Therapy course has been the best decision for my career, and I’ve had so much fun living here and making new friends. Making the most of my course's opportunities, as well as all the opportunities Leeds Beckett gives you like volunteering aboard, joining sports teams and everything else is a really valuable experience which you won’t regret. Put in the work and you’ll get loads out of it!
Thanks for reading and good luck with whatever you choose to do!