Linda Hodgetts

Children’s Assistant Practitioner

Imagine changing your career at an age when others are looking forward to retirement. That was one decision made by local lady Linda Hodgetts that she is glad to have made – 17 years ago!

Linda is living proof that, you are never too old to change your mind – or career path. At the age of 53, Linda left her role as a Science Technician at Tettenhall College in Wolverhampton after seeing an advert in her local paper for a Physiotherapy Assistant in the Children’s Therapy team.

“I trained as a school laboratory technician straight after leaving school and worked in schools around Dudley until my husband and I decided to start a family” said Linda.

“In between the births of my four children, I worked part-time in schools, but when I had given birth to my fourth child, I started working at Burton Road Hospital as an Occupational Therapy Assistant for around two years.

“When the hospital was closing I saw an advert for Tettenhall College in Wolverhampton and I was soon back into my technician work.”

After many years in Tettenhall, Linda saw an opportunity to change her career and move into helping children personally.

“After spending years working with children, I felt that I would like to be more involved in supporting special needs kids and their families.”

“After six months I was asked to study to further my skills in my current role, and I completed my NVQ 3 to be a better-rounded Physiotherapy Assistant. I then continued with day release to study at Bournville College in Birmingham and obtained a BTEC Diploma in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Support for Physiotherapy Assistants and was promoted to Assistant Practitioner.”

The Children’s Therapy team at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust is based in the community and is made up of such roles as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, School Nurses and, Linda’s role, Children’s Assistant Practitioners.

Her day is usually based around supporting children, families and school staff by monitoring their physiotherapy progress, carrying out treatment programmes and encouraging with them within therapy sessions.

“At the moment, I work one day in the community (Rowley and Tipton) with early years and pre-school children and also see children in various schools in the area.

“The other two days are spent at The Meadow School in Sandwell working with senior children with special needs.

“We have a very supportive Children’s Therapy Team and I enjoy working alongside all of the staff we work with.”

Linda will be celebrating her golden anniversary with her husband Barry next year and they have three sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

“I come from a close family and have relatives across the country who are all very caring and keep in close contact.

She enjoys listening to music, visiting the theatre and going to watch her family play football.

“My youngest son was in the West Bromwich Albion youth team, so we went up and down the country watching him play, and now we are doing the same with one of my grandsons.

“He plays for Stourbridge and is only 12 years old, but we are looking forward to him following in his uncle’s footsteps.”

Being a mentor is something that Linda takes great pride in and enjoys helping university students with any worries or problems they may have.

“I am a ‘student buddy’ for our university students and have contact with them before their placement starts and support them throughout their time with us.”

Even though she has just celebrated her 70th birthday, (in Spain with numerous members of her family), Linda has no plans to retire at the moment as she enjoys her job far too much.

“Although I have reached the big 70, I still feel enthusiastic about my work and am finding it difficult to think about retiring.”

Linda has received a nomination for the Distinguished Service Award at this year’s Staff Awards at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, and is very grateful to have been recognised by the Trust.

“I am honoured to be recognised for my work and am looking forward to the awards evening in October.”