27 September 2019
You may have seen a recent announcement that we’re the first London NHS Trust to offer Occupational Therapy apprenticeships, thanks to our partnership with Coventry University. Meet Megan Heaphy, who is the first OT apprentice to go through this process.
I joined West London NHS Trust as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) in June 2018 with high aspirations of developing the skills required for a successful career in Occupational Therapy (OT). This aspiration began when I engaged in activities during my first volunteering role at University where my peers and I provided a ‘pamper evening’ for women in the community who were suffering from mental health problems. During this session I saw how effective simple activities and being a good listener are to a person’s wellbeing. From this experience, I wanted to develop my understanding of OT further and observe how it is used in different services to benefit patients. I volunteered within the NHS, working alongside OTs initially, ultimately building the confidence to apply for an OTA role.
When I joined the team at Broadmoor Hospital, I was certain this would be the start of my journey to becoming an Occupational Therapist. After working at the hospital for ten months, I started to look into how to complete my OT training. However, as I had been enjoying the job so much and felt like I was learning lots of new skills, I was disappointed that every pathway would involve leaving my current position. This is when the apprenticeship scheme was brought to my attention by the Trust, who supported me right the way through a demanding process, including the final interview at Coventry University. Upon meeting the team and viewing the high standard of facilities the OT department had, I felt certain Coventry was the place for me.
While I recognise the challenges that being at University and maintaining a full-time job will entail, I am very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and cannot wait to begin learning. I feel the apprenticeship programme is the correct path for me, as I am a firm believer in the importance of hands-on training. Through this scheme I will have the opportunity, when ready, to put my skills into practice much more frequently than I would if studying full-time at University. As a result, I will gain confidence quickly given I will constantly be in the correct environment to learn, with a strong support network of qualified, experienced OTs at my fingertips for any advice and guidance throughout the course.
I am thoroughly looking forward to the apprenticeship and starting my career as an Occupational Therapist.