Wye Valley NHS Trust is one of the trailblazer Trusts in the country providing Occupational Therapy apprenticeships, with two of their apprentices in a celebratory mood having just completed their four year training. 

The Trust teamed up with Coventry University four years ago to offer this innovative way of developing and retaining staff.

It provides an alternative route for those wishing to become a registered Occupational Therapist (OT), but who want to combine their studies with on the job training. 

Jane Bolam, Occupational Therapist and mentor for the OT trainees at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted that we were one of the first Trust’s to be part of this training programme four years ago.

“We are pleased to congratulate Kat and Helen on the recent completion of their apprenticeship, as fully qualified members of our occupational therapy (OT) team.    

“This training programme has enabled us to grow our own staff, as the apprentices work in therapy assistant practitioner roles whilst undertaking this degree level on the job training, which has helped to boost our recruitment and expand our OT team, so that we can provide the best possible service for our patients.

“We also have two more OT apprentices currently undergoing their training as part of our team.” 

Kathryn Ainge at WVT, who started off in therapy assistant role at Wye Valley NHS Trust and has recently completed the Occupational Therapy apprenticeship journey, said:

“I first made the leap to apply for the apprenticeship back in 2019 after identifying this was the best route for me to obtain a career in OT.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the physical aspect of putting OT into practice with patients. It has been very challenging, but I have enjoyed studying, especially as the end goal was a career that I have set my heart on. I am excited with what the future holds.” 

Steve Macdonald, Course Director, BSc Occupational Therapy integrated degree apprenticeship, Coventry University, said: “We are so proud of the achievement of our first cohort of occupational therapy apprentices and our continued relationship with Wye Valley NHS Trust.

“I first became interested in the apprenticeship route having made the move from Practice to Higher Education, recognising the potential of apprenticeships to give much valued colleagues the opportunity to undertake a route into our profession.  The apprenticeship is part of the widening participation agenda and has now been identified within the Governments workforce plans for the NHS. 

“We see our apprentices performing to a high standard on practice placements; developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours as they work towards becoming autonomous healthcare professionals; and hear from employers that throughout the apprenticeship, apprentices are adding value to their workplace.”