Andrew - Occupational Therapy
Studied: BSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy.
I was a Civil Servant for 17 years and I thought that would be my only career — working there until the end of my days. When redundancy packages became available I started wondering if I really wanted to carry on in the same job for the next 15 to 20 years...
Or did I want to try something totally different?
I already knew about occupational therapy through my job, and I thought it sounded like a really interesting career. That’s why I applied for the course, and I was excited to accept my place.
The university experience
I didn’t know how many mature students would be on the course so coming back to university was a bit daunting. But there’s a real spread of ages — lots of people with different abilities, from different backgrounds. It’s a really interesting bunch of people.
It’s a good course and I’m studying with a great group of people. And, there’s a lot of opportunity out there for male Occupational Therapists — this is something I found out on my last placement. I joined an all-female team and they were really happy to have a male student on board. A lot of their service users are male so they found that I made a real difference.
Occupational therapy from a new perspective
Visiting lecturers give talks on different areas of occupational therapy, and we use the Occupational Therapy Resource Centre at Glenside a lot. This is a great place to familiarise ourselves with all the equipment before going out on our first placement. We also take part in occupational therapy sessions, where we can find out first-hand what it’s like to be a service user, and how to lead a session.
Real world experience
So far, my placements have given me the chance to work with people who have learning disabilities, and in neurological rehabilitation for patients that have had a brain injury.
My next placement is going to be in an assertive outreach mental health team, and I’m really looking forward to it. These areas are all quite different and I feel lucky to have a wide range of experience — one of my placements even led to an offer of employment as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.
I’m really enjoying it all, and I’m getting a lot of experience.
"I find with the placements you learn an awful lot - suddenly you get a clearer picture of what the job actually involves."