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01-12-2021 | Research | Uitgave 1/2021 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2021

Podiatry as a career in the UK - what attracts Generation Z? A qualitative exploration with university and college students

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2021
D. Whitham, S. Whitham, M. Trowell, S. Otter
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The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-021-00470-y.

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Training for a career in podiatry is reported to provide graduates with excellent employability, alongside professional autonomy and suitable renumeration. Yet, there has been an ongoing decline in the number of those applying to study the subject. There is limited literature associated with this topic and we sought to explore the factors that attract ‘generation Z’ (those born 1995–2010) to a potential career in podiatry.


A qualitative design framework underpinned by phenomenological principles used four focus groups over a two-year period to generate data from participants at University and in Further Education. Focus group conversations were led by external facilitator, recorded, independently transcribed verbatim and anonymised prior to thematic analysis. This was followed by external, independent verification of themes.


Four main themes were determined from the analysis i) a lack of awareness of podiatry; ii) podiatry: accessible course, accessible career; iii) career status; iv) breadth/opportunity of the scope of practice. Both positive and negative experiences were reported and highlighted key gaps in how the attractiveness of a career in podiatry is portrayed.


The chronic lack of awareness of podiatry as a career clearly needs to be addressed, ideally with more positive role modelling in mainstream and popular media. The career status offered together with the breadth of, and opportunity associated with, the scope of practice should continue to be celebrated.

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