Full name: Dawn Kennedy
Apprenticeship course: Occupational Therapy (Level 6)
Why did you decide to do a degree apprenticeship?
I wanted to become a qualified Occupational Therapist and was intending to go back to University to gain my qualification. The apprenticeship was introduced at my work and it was the perfect opportunity for me to earn an income, continue in my current role and gain my qualification at the same time.
What has been your experience so far?
I have enjoyed the course so far and have learnt a lot. There have been times where balancing work and University has been challenging but I have felt well supported from work colleagues and the University. The different placements offer great opportunity to understand more about Occupational Therapy and the many different areas that this covers.
How has the University supported you?
The University has been great in supporting me, particularly Jane Campion who is the Apprenticeship lead. She has been brilliant at providing support whenever needed and is always approachable. During Covid-19 the University has had to make changes to ensure that they can continue with the apprenticeship which has been a great relief and shows their commitment to the course.
Which, if any, skills and knowledge/understanding gained on your degree apprenticeship are useful in your work role?
There have been many skills and knowledge gained since I started the apprenticeship. One of the main ones is more confidence in my role and gaining more of an understanding about how to build therapeutic relationships with our service users. For instance, when carrying out an assessment it is so important to take a holistic approach. The people we see may have physical or mental health conditions that impact on their day to day life but also we have to understand about their environment and occupations to be able to understand who they are and how we can provide the best support.
What advice would you like to give to others interested in doing degree apprenticeships?
I would say do it. It’s a great opportunity that shouldn’t be taken for granted or missed. It has its challenging moments and you may feel as though balancing work, studies and a social life is difficult but it will be worth it and you are well supported at the University. I thought I had a good understanding of Occupational Therapy before I started this Degree but it’s made me realise that there is so much more to it that I never would have had the opportunity to know without doing this apprenticeship. It’s a great career and the placements during the degree will open your eyes to how varied and brilliant a profession it is.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to continue studying for the next two years and gain my qualification. I like the idea of working abroad at some point in the future as an Occupational Therapist.