Student's career change from welder to massage therapist inspired by university studies
A former welder retrained as a complementary therapist after therapies helped him recover from a freak injury – and is urging others considering a career change to find out about their options.
Paul Jauncey, from Southsea near Wrexham, is in his final year of the BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapy for Health Care at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. He turned to Complementary Therapies after a freak accident left him in pain – and, finding that massage and other procedures helped him cope, he decided to change career to work in the field.
He said: “I was a welder – I worked in Brymbo Steelworks until they closed, then at Air Products, and then I was a self-employed freelance.
“Though my job was physical, I actually injured myself in a freak accident. It was just one of those things - I had just dropped off my wife and was getting out of the car, and as I did so I twisted slightly – and that was it, my back went. I had prolapsed two discs and I was in agony.
“The doctors wanted me to have a microdiscectomy – surgery on my spine – but I wasn’t sure. One of the things I found did help was complementary therapy – I tried that and it really made a difference.”
As a result of his experiences, Paul decided that he wanted to pursue a career in Complementary Therapy himself – and spoke to lecturers at Glyndŵr to find out more about his options.
He said: “I remember it was July when I started talking to lecturers here and I thought it was too late to apply – but it wasn’t. It’s always worth having that.
“It was a big gamble for me, giving up welding and coming back to university – but it has been the best decision I ever made.”
Following his initial meeting with the lecturers in July 2015, Paul came to Glyndŵr to begin studying in the Autumn. Three years later, he is set to graduate later this year – and is working as a massage therapist in two different locations. He works via a clinic at a leisure and holiday park near Wrexham one day a week and at a professional osteopathy and health care clinic in Nantwich for three further days. He has also set up his own business, Heka Therapies.
He added: “I am particularly interested in musculoskeletal therapies – these are therapeutic interventions for injuries. It involves looking at things like posture, the way people walk and the way they hold themselves – that can tell you so much – and then working out how to treat them.
“To be working four days a week doing something I decided I really wanted to do is just incredible. It has only been three years since I came here, but it has been a massive part of my life. It was a challenge setting out in academia at first – but once I got going, I have never looked back!
“The course has been great – we have a small and friendly group where everyone knows each other, and everyone is working together. Our lecturers are great too – nothing is too much trouble and they are always there to help you.”
Paul has found his three years at Wrexham Glyndŵr so inspiring, he is planning to attend a Postgraduate Open Evening at the University later this month – to discuss a further qualification which would enable him to teach others Complementary Therapy.
Complementary Therapies for Healthcare Lecturer, Michelle Johnson, said: “Stories like Paul’s, where we can help someone who was inspired to make a career change, are a real highlight for lecturers at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.
“With the right support, Paul has really taken to his studies and he’s now forging a career for himself doing something he really wants to do.
“If you are interested in finding more out about the courses we offer, or are looking at making that change, do come and talk to us – we will do all we can to help.”
If like Paul, you are interested in finding out more about postgraduate study, Wrexham Glyndŵr University is holding an Open Evening on May 23. Held between 4.30pm and 6.30pm at the reception at the main Wrexham campus, the evenings can give you an insight into course content and your areas of study.
They also offer a chance to meet course tutors, current postgraduate and professional students, and to chat with university support staff about finance, fitting your studies around your professional life, and much more.