What Employers are Looking For (Speech and Language Therapy Specific)

Guest contribution by Claire Swaffield (UWE graduate)


  • Graduated in 2012, English Language and Linguistics.
  • Interests include: Speech and Language Therapy, Education, Technology, Literacy.
  • Extra Curricular: Vice President of the Linguistics Society, Treasurer of ULAB2 Conference, Core Treasurer of ULAB.
  • Modules taken in 3rd Year: Cultural History; TESOL; Creative Writing and the Self; Dissertation

Deciding what I wanted to do:

  • Thought I might enjoy SLT due to my interests, and in phonetics and phonology.
  • Tried some mainstream school work experience and observation, Summer 2011.
  • Realised it would be a good route to pursue and investigated MScs.
  • This lead to the understanding that you need A LOT of work experience to be considered for the course.
  • I began this while in my 3rd year, but took a year out to concentrate on getting good experience.

Work Experience since Summer 2011

  • Mainstream School (2 months, 2 days a week)
  • Observation, adult and paediatric (3 days)
  • Conversation Partner with a Stroke outpatient (8 months)
  • NHS administrative work experience (1 month, 1 day a week)
  • Speech and Language development, young adult with downs syndrome (since Aug 2012)
  • Administrator for Independent Educational Psychologist/Speech Therapist (s. September 2012)
  • NHS Aphasia Group volunteer (s. October 2012)
  • Special Needs School Speech and Language Volunteer (s. November 2012)
  • Special Needs Preschool Childcare Volunteer (s. September 2012)

Applying for Courses

  • You can apply for MScs at Newcastle (17 places); Sheffield (18); UCL (50); City (120); Greenwich (?); Reading (10); and Essex (30).
  • Incredibly competitive most places will have 250-300 applications and will interview 20-30% of applicants.
  • Generally if you get through to interview, you are good enough to study on a course, but because of the high level of applicants, it’s just down to who they like.
  • Many applicants will also apply for BSc.

What Employers (and SLT Admissions are looking for)

Work Experience

  • BBC (18th January 2013): Work experience ‘key to job hunt’ for graduates
  • Begin ASAP; Summer is a perfect time too, if you don’t want to juggle uni work
  • Even if you are unsure of what you want to do – try and do as much and in as many areas as possible!


  • Understanding and the ability to look reflexively at your practice and work.
  • Examples of team work
  • Understanding of what the position will involve (and if you don’t understand, ask for clarification!)
  • What challenges you may encounter
  • What your work experience has taught you (reflexivity)
  • Understanding of your clients (e.g. what it is like to have a communication disorder)

It works!

  • I’ve followed these steps and been proactive
  • Been asked to interview at Sheffield, Newcastle and UCL (3/5 I applied to and haven’t heard from the other two yet!)
  • Had really great feedback from Sheffield (Newcastle was a group interview, haven’t been to UCL yet!)
  • All in my first year of applying, which is apparently really difficult!

The Linguistic Experience Project

I run a website, called the above, and collect the voluntary/graduate and work experiences of Linguistics and English Language students to give an idea of what opportunities are out there.

If you’ve got an experience you’d like to share (and get something published!) please contact me and check it out!


Thank you – and I hope you find this useful! Any questions, feel free to email me!



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