Training & development to become an FCP or APP

We are proud of our strong reputation for investing in the training and development of our physiotherapists.

It’s part of our heritage and has helped Ascenti to become the team and business that we are today. 

This pathway enables physiotherapists at Ascenti to develop into Advanced Physiotherapist Practitioner (APP) or First Contact Practitioner (FCP) roles. 

We are the only employer in the UK offering physiotherapists the funded training, support and nationwide opportunities needed to move through a complete career journey, from graduate to FCP or APP.

"Ascenti funded my training and has fully supported me in becoming an APP by allowing me to attend university whilst still working, setting up regular de-briefs to provide advice and letting me shadow senior clinicians."
Beverley Turnbull
Senior MSK Physiotherapist and Physiotherapy Development Lead
Find out more here

What are the differences between an FCP and APP?

A First Contact Practitioner (FCP) is a diagnostic clinician working in Primary Care at the top of their clinical scope of practice. The FCP will often be the first clinician that the patient has seen and will therefore be able to assess and manage undifferentiated and undiagnosed MSK presentations. 

An Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner (APP) is a clinician working at an advanced level across all four pillars of advanced practice at master's level. The four pillars of advanced practice are: Research, Leadership and Management, Education, and Clinical Practice. Typically, these physios would see more complex MSK referrals from other healthcare professionals rather than being the first person a patient sees. 

Practising as an APP is often considered to be a pinnacle role in physiotherapy and can be a gateway to you learning other skills such as injection therapy and prescribing. These roles are also a great opportunity to work closely with other health professionals and experts. 

Who is this development pathway for?

This development pathway has been designed for physios who may be looking at becoming a First Contact Practitioner (FCP) or an Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner (APP) next, or even further into the future as a longer-term goal. 

It is a significant financial investment in the qualifications, credentials, and continued development of our physiotherapists. 

Why might I want to develop into working as an FCP or APP with Ascenti?

What makes our FCP and APP development pathway different is the variety and the clinical development that we will be offering. 

Becoming an FCP or APP will allow you to have some days focusing on assessing, diagnosing, and signposting patients when in your advanced clinics and then other days treating patients when in your non-advanced MSK clinics. We also have virtual advanced physio opportunities that you could combine with in-person clinics - this is not something you will find anywhere else!

What is the eligibility criteria?

Any MSK physiotherapist can apply for any of the ‘developing FCP or APP’ vacancies currently being advertised, but to be successful you will need to be operating at an Ascenti CL3 grading level or above (equivalent NHS Band 6), and with at least 3 years of MSK experience.

Alternatively, you can join Ascenti as an MSK Physiotherapist and express an interest in joining the pathway in the future and we will support you in developing and reaching your goals, and work to identify an advanced clinic for you to work from. 

How does the development pathway work?

This development pathway is aligned with Health Education England's stages of development.

Once you have joined the pathway, we will invest in your training and development and support you with developing as an FCP or APP. This may take anywhere from 12 to 36 months and will ultimately depend on the individual and the route chosen.

When you join, we will talk your through our FCP and APP framework, which will provide you with a clear Developmental Roadmap. There are three progression routes that you can choose with Ascenti. These range from more academic options to portfolio routes, and each will have different timing implications and requirements. We will explain more about these options as part of your onboarding process and will work closely with you to find the best development route for you personally.

When I complete the pathway will I move into an FCP or APP role?

This will depend on when you complete your development on the pathway and the vacancies available at the time. If there is a vacancy available and you are successful in your application, then you could move straight into an FCP or APP role with Ascenti, with increased remuneration. If there is not a vacancy available immediately on completion of the training, you will be in prime position for any future vacancies.

How do I apply?

It is easy to express an interest or to apply for the pathway – apply directly for one of the ‘developing FCP or APP roles’ currently listed under our vacancies section or email us at

"The mentorship I have received at Ascenti has been invaluable. They give us the opportunity to learn from our colleagues by sharing challenging case experiences, discussing recent research and listening to advice from senior clinicians and consultants."
Marcus Quarmby
Physiotherapy Development Lead
Find out more here