Apprentice Occupational Therapist - Leah

Leah is about to start the Occupational Therapist Apprenticeship

My name is Leah and I’m about to start the Occupational Therapist Apprenticeship.

I’ve worked in health and social care for 4 years, starting out in a care home during covid 19. As vulnerable residents were unable to see loved ones for prolonged periods, this is where I really saw the benefits of therapeutic activities. It was vital to create a stimulating environment to improve mental wellbeing and to encourage activities of daily living to provide a level of normality. This is what ignited my passion, but it was only when I started working for the trust in an acute female dementia ward that I could give it a name: Occupational Therapy. I worked closely with the OT’s learning about the role and loved it so much I became an OTA.

I began looking at an OT masters degree but realised studying whilst working full time would be a challenge, I’d have to leave my permeant role and squeeze in bank shifts wherever possible. I have ADHD and balancing everything independently felt overwhelming, I knew I’d find it difficult to switch off in my free time. An apprenticeship gives me the opportunity to integrate work and study throughout the week. I have weeks dedicated just to Uni, which helps me prioritise my focus. I can find academic settings overwhelming, and I feel better suited to learn in a more practical environment with real life experience, which the apprenticeship provides.