Keele and Connect Health launch innovative student mentorship programme in new partnership

Keele University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation (SHAR) has signed a partnership with Connect Health, the UK’s largest provider of musculoskeletal (MSK) health services.

12 July 2019

Keele University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation (SHAR) has signed a partnership with Connect Health, the UK’s largest provider of musculoskeletal (MSK) health services.

The Memorandum of Understanding between Keele and Connect Health has enabled the launch of the MSK Mentorship Programme, which offers Keele’s physiotherapy students training, mentoring, and professional development whilst studying for their degree. Connect Health is a specialised independent provider of community musculoskeletal (MSK) services, including orthopaedics, pain and rheumatology, serving over 300,000 NHS patients and 75 businesses.

The innovative programme is open to Keele students, with up to ten mentorship positions available. Those on the scheme will receive a variety of placements and also summer employment opportunities throughout their degree, and following graduation have the opportunity to pursue employment with Connect Health.

During the launch held at Keele Hall, the MOU was signed by Keele’s Professor Pauline Walsh, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Andrew Walton, Executive Chairman of Connect Health.

Professor Pauline Walsh, said:

“I am delighted to see the signing of an MoU between Connect Health and Keele University; this will be beneficial for students, both organisations, and ultimately clients using the service. The MSK Mentorship Programme, in the first instance, will offer 10 places to students from the 2nd and 3rd years respectively. Students who are successful in the interview process will have access to specialist training workshops, remote clinical learning opportunities, mentoring opportunities with industry leaders, and access to data-sets for research purposes. In the longer term, Connect Health is in discussions with the University to identify pathways of employment for students who read for a degree in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Science at Keele University, and opportunities for big data research in partnership with industry.”

Andrew Walton, Executive Chairman of Connect Health, said:

“The partnership offers a fantastic opportunity for students to access real life work experience, first-rate clinical leadership and mentorship with employment opportunities. We identified Keele as a leading university in terms of physio and research and are delighted to have kicked off this excellent programme, further reinforcing Connect’s investment in student development and innovation.”

Tammy Baird , Learning and Development Business Partner and ADP Lead North at Connect Health, said:

“We identified a real need for MSK education and support through our work with students and graduates.  This exciting Programme aims to bridge this gap as we plan to mentor and support students as they progress through their MSK development at University. With regular and structured access to expert clinicians, students on the programme will be invited to our study days, In Service Training Sessions, clinical shadowing and have access to their clinical online forum reaching over 300 MSK clinicians.”

Applications to this programme are now open for Keele’s Physiotherapy first-year students and Connect are inviting expressions of interest to be sent to