At iTEC & VTCT, we love sharing the amazing work that our centres have been doing to inspire the future generation of professionals within our industries. Specialists in Complementary Therapy and Massage Therapy courses, Devon Academy of Complementary Therapies, have shared how they have kept learners engaged, how they got started and how to succeed.
Gail Lowe heads up the Devon Academy of Complementary Therapies and has been running complementary and massage therapy courses for 16 years. But she has had a connection to iTEC for far longer.
“I started as a General Nurse with psychiatric experience. It was a childhood dream to become a nurse but I found that when I became one, it wasn’t the hands-on career I wanted and not at all holistic. After eight years nursing, I begged and borrowed the money to travel to London and train with Professor Arnold Taylor, founder of iTEC.” She says.
Beginning with teaching leisure classes and iTEC diploma courses at another college, she soon became so popular that students would ask her for private lessons at the weekends.
Speaking of her complementary therapies and massage therapy courses, she says, “I felt that the market didn’t cater for students that were willing to travel at weekends. I set up Devon Academy as a private college in 2005 as a result. There was no other college in my area then. My partner was my first successful student and people travelled from all over the country and abroad to study my courses. I had students from Antigua and the Dominican Republic as well as all over this country.”
What sets Devon Academy of Complementary Therapies apart?
The centre has seen 2,600 learners pass through their courses, with many coming back to take more qualifications. And Gail cites her innovative teaching and learning methods as the key to her success. She uses a range of activities and games to keep students engaged, including identifying aromatherapy scents and utilising her medical background to ensure learners grasp complicated Latin terminology, which is used frequently in complementary therapies and massage therapy courses. As well as this, she recognises that each learner has unique and individual needs to enable them to excel, so she offers bespoke classes for those who need extra tuition or cannot attend a normal class.
In fact, Gail consistently goes the extra mile to ensure that she continues to inspire all of her students. “I tend to consider the needs of all students and go the extra mile when they need it. In particular with special needs students who have dyslexia, dyspraxia and mental health issues. I had one student who was struggling and was scared to tell me. I encouraged her to be honest with us and made special arrangements for her to catch up on bespoke classes with me and gave her extra time for her course work and case studies. I was so delighted when she did eventually pass her exams and became a therapist.”
As well as this, she recognises the extra challenge that Covid-19 and lockdowns have put on her students. To support her complementary and massage therapy courses and ensure her learners were still engaged, she created her own learning platform for her students during lockdown, uploading videos of a range of subjects including equipment setup for complementary therapies, Effleurage, Petrissage and Percussion on the different areas of the body, towel management and more.
She continues to offer flexible training to her learners, including online learning, flexible course start dates and examination. “This approach is working really well and because students practice their routine before they come to class, our models are saying the treatment standard has improved from day one. We are continuing to do Zoom assessments and feedback from students is excellent.”
She now hopes to further equip her learners with the tools to support clients by giving them the knowledge to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health in clients. “As so many have suffered and continue to suffer from Mental Health issues during lockdown, I have applied to teach the Level 1 Mental Health Awareness qualification and hopefully higher levels later on. Awareness and understanding of mental health issues, especially within such an intimate environment with your clients, is vital for all potential therapists to appreciate, never more so than now.”
What do the learners think?
After hearing glowing reviews from one of his friends, Richard Ebbage applied to Devon Academy of Complementary Therapies. He studied VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Massage & Extended Sports Massage diploma and then went on to study the Level 4 Sports Massage alongside a BSc Hons Sports & Exercise Science degree. Since completing his sports massage therapy courses with Gail, he has set up his own successful business with clients, including the rugby team Exeter Chiefs. He hopes to utilise the skills he has gained within the health and fitness sector to continue to work with professional sports teams/individuals.
“Gail’s knowledge and practical approach is brilliant. If I have a question, she knows it.” He expressed. “Gail is brilliant with both practical skills, experience and knowledge. She is thorough as well as ensuring quality of the student’s skills and knowledge remain high.”
Which qualifications does Devon Academy of Complementary Therapies offer?
Devon Academy of Complementary Therapies is one of many fantastic centres offering our market-leading qualifications. They offer a host of complementary therapy and massage therapy courses that lead to plenty of exciting career opportunities.
You can take a look at these qualifications by clicking the links below:
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Certificate in Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology for the Complementary Therapist
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Diploma in Massage
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Diploma in Reflexology for the Complementary Therapist
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Massage
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Certificate in Stone Therapy Massage
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Diploma in Indian Head Massage
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Award in Healthy Eating and Wellbeing for the Complementary Therapy Client
- VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Diploma in Anatomy and Physiology
Have you been truly inspiring to your learners? Do your students deserve extra recognition? Has someone gone over and above to keep learners engaged? We love hearing the excellent work our centres have been doing and if you have a story you would like shared across our far-reaching platforms, please get in touch with email@example.com