Nicolas Pereira

20 Nov 2023
20 Nov 2023

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You shouldn’t think the world owes you anything just because you have a degree. It’s up to you to make the most of the knowledge, life skills and principles, and apply that to your career.

What led you to starting your own practice?

My move from community service physio into private practice, as well as from an employee in private practice to business owner, were both inspired by the same thing – a lack of opportunities. I couldn’t find a job in public health, and then I reached a point as an employee where I wasn’t growing professionally, in skills or financially. I decided that if I wanted to achieve what I had envisioned for myself, I would have to create the opportunity I was looking for – and I have subsequently tried to build a business where there are opportunities for growth for those that I work with.

What were some of the lessons you learnt from growing your practice?

First, make sure you learn what it means to be a good employee before you try to be an employer. Owning a business isn’t for everyone; the calculations about profitability are often oversimplified, and the lifespans of many private practices in Sports/Orthopaedic outpatient physiotherapy are very short- lived.

How have your degrees helped you to get where you are?

A misconception, which I learnt after completing my undergraduate, was that the world and profession owes you anything. You shouldn’t think it does just because you have a degree. It’s up to you to make the most of the knowledge, life skills and principles, and apply that to your career. Similarly, with my postgraduate, every graduate of the programme gets the same piece of paper. What allows some to have their career trajectory changed can be an insignificant event in the lives of others. It comes down to how you use it.

Even if there was no degree at the end, I would do my postgrad again just for the knowledge, networking opportunity and the calibre of professionals I met through UCT.

In my current setting at The Pretoria Capitals (SA20), an international cricket team (owned by the IPL franchise – The Delhi Capitals), all the lead physios and assistants have a minimum requirement of a master’s in physiotherapy, plus experience in elite sports.

How did your experience as Fitness Trainer at a gym help your career?

As a physiotherapist working in sports teams and with athletes, the experience of being one- on-one with gym members and taking group training classes helped me to gain confidence and competence in group settings. I’ve facilitated recovery sessions, group rehab, and mindfulness/ breathwork sessions with teams and groups of athletes, thanks to these skills. I encourage students to get involved in the field as soon as possible, during their studies.

What were some of the challenges and highlights of studying at UCT?

As a Cape Town local, the University of Cape Town was always my dream university – I’m proud to have completed my MSc there, and I’m proud of the international reputation that the university holds, as well as the quality of education I received. I am incredibly proud to represent the university as an alum.

What advice would you give to current students?

I strongly recommend working on yourself, as a person and as a professional, to improve your experience in life and the workplace. I am a big fan of audiobooks and podcasts, and an avid reader in the personal development genre.