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Bradley Barbour

What are you doing now?

Living in London, I’m now working as a Physiotherapist and university lecturing on Physiotherapy, Sports Rehabilitation and Chiropractic courses.

What route did you take up to this point?

Leaving DHSB in 2014, I achieved my undergraduate degree in Sports Therapy, remaining in Plymouth. I kept busy with paid work as a football coach for Plymouth Argyle, as well as various shop work whilst studying. 

Since then, I embarked on 18 months of travel and work abroad – including working at Disneyland Paris, exploring Southeast Asia, living and working in Melbourne, Australia performing in musical theatre productions, video content creation, football coaching, assisting puppy classes and volunteering with animal abuse victims, and adventuring through New Zealand. I finally returned to the UK, employed as a digital content creator in London. 

And as much as I enjoyed the creativity of award-winning digital content creation, I was drawn back to health and research after reflecting in Covid lockdown part one. 

I pursued my masters (MSc) in Physiotherapy at King’s College London and am publishing some of my research from my time there in academic journals. I’m now excited to be starting my PhD journey very soon.

Any significant crossroads?

Plenty. Deciding to go from a comfortable digital content creation/marketing job to shift gears back to healthcare to study my masters. The lockdowns of the pandemic had me reflecting what was most meaningful to me. Financially and practically, going from stability to the unknown was a big risk for me at the time. But the challenges were tackled with careful planning and conversations with friends and family. 

I really loved and still enjoy the creativity of digital content creation and was sad to leave it behind. But after coming out the other end, I’ve been able to combine that digital skillset with healthcare to help others. It was a risk worth taking after weighing up all options.

What have you learnt most about yourself?

I can make my own luck and am a self-made person. Encompassing that, I never undervalue the relationships with others that have positively influenced my trajectory. Ask for help if you need it. Collaborate and learn from others and apply what you like to your life. I’ve learned that honesty, authenticity and hard work breed trust and respect. Kindness is a genuine trait that goes so much further than you think. 

I’ve learned that I am the only one who can change me and my life best, and that nothing does it quite like education (in and out of school), working hard and believing in my capabilities. 

What words of wisdom would you give to a student joining DHSB in Year 7?

Really enjoy and value the time you have here. Cherish seeing your friends almost daily. Being surrounded by support and opportunity, whether that be through teachers, staff or friends, you have the chance to thrive in so many ways. You will learn plenty through this school, but often, it is the moments outside of the classroom and the experiences with the people around you that stay with you. My memories are invaluable, and I wish that for you too.

And for a Sixth Former leaving DHSB?

#1 Pursue a purpose. I’ve known dozens of people who didn’t know what they wanted to do with life whilst at school. Several who pursued different career routes than what they studied at A levels, college or university and have still found great satisfaction in where they’ve ended up. They’ve found purpose in what they do. 

Whilst I know how the pressure feels being in Sixth Form to have the golden plan, if your choices reflect your sense of purpose or passion, you will be able to navigate the uncertainties of life with positivity. 

If your passion and purposes aren’t obvious, you can explore different avenues. I’ve trialled life as a football coach, teacher, pilot (briefly), video editor, marketer, digital content creator, researcher and now am a physiotherapist and pending PhD student. If you don’t have the answer now, it really is okay.

Secondly, things tend to change, for whatever reason. Your perspectives, enjoyments, living situations, health, friends, career and life plans might alter, at times with no warning. Maybe this impacts your passions and sense of purpose and then you adapt. Hopefully you develop as a person. Keep the values that you find important and embrace the excitement of your progression.

The cliches of seizing every opportunity and travelling will enrich your life are all true. Make opportunities for yourself by working hard. Learn from other cultures around the world. See more of the world. Appreciate your life and the time you have. Never undervalue the simplicity in being kind.

Any fond memories of school you can share?

There are too many personal highlights to mention. But briefly, I was proud to have been a football coach for Years 7 - 9 and getting to the final eight of the national cup, with away games across the country. Creating a music video for my GCSE media coursework is still one of my favourite projects in my life to have worked on. Winning the sports day cup as sports captain was a great moment.

Do you have a message for any of your teachers?

Mr Orkney/Bunney/Strang/Grinsill and the PE staff – thank you for the opportunity to learn from you and for giving me the autonomy and responsibility of leading PE classes, coaching the school’s football team and organising school sport. The experience really positively impacted the person I’ve become and gave me the confidence I needed to thrive and I wholly value all of the moments.

Mr Martin – You gave me incredible support and unmatched kindness through my most challenging times at school. I will always appreciate that. Thank you!

Ms Davidson/Benson – You gave me the chance to continue at DHSB in sixth form. The one to one support gave me the platform to feel as though I could truly thrive during my final years at DHSB. I can’t imagine navigating further education without it, so thank you.

Dr Proctor – A genius and a genuinely nice guy! I’m glad to have had you as a form tutor. Sorry if I was mildly troublesome at times, most of the time it wasn’t actually me, but I think ultimately, we had a fun four years together! But sincerely, thank you for your understanding and patience with me.


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