PURPOSE: To quantify self-reported changes in student professional behaviours and skills after a 10-week community-based experience. METHOD: Twenty-eight physiotherapy students (22 women, 6 men; mean age 21.9 years, SD 2.9) were each matched with a young person with Down syndrome, who was randomly allocated to an intervention or control group. The intervention group completed a 10-week, twice a week progressive resistance training (PRT) programme. The control group completed a 10-week, once a week social programme. Before and after the experience, the students completed a self-reported assessment of their skills in prescribing and supervising PRT, professional behaviours, confidence and the likelihood they would work with people with intellectual disability in the future. Between-group differences were analysed using analysis of covariance with baseline measures as covariate. RESULTS: There were between-group differences for 7 items rating skills implementing PRT, in favour of the intervention group, but not for any other outcome. Across both groups, students self-reported positive changes in their professional behaviours, confidence and the likelihood they would work with people with intellectual disability after the programme. CONCLUSIONS: A 10-week community-based experience produced changes in physiotherapy student professional behaviours. Students who completed the exercise programme self-reported an improvement in their professional skills relating to PRT. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION: Community-based experiences working with young people with disability offer physiotherapy students the opportunity to development their professional behaviours, skills and confidence. Students who completed a 10-week experience working with a young person with Down syndrome reported they were more likely to work with people with intellectual disability in the future. Improvements in the students' skills in delivering progressive resistance training were only found for the students who completed an experience that included an exercise intervention.