- Provide support to people adapting to illness or disability, working closely with occupational therapists
- Rewarding but sometimes challenging work with people going through difficult periods in their lives
- Progress into supervisory roles or complete further study and training to become an occupational therapist
As an occupational therapy assistant, you'll help clients with their rehabilitation by encouraging them to think positively and work towards agreed goals set by an occupational therapist, monitoring and recording progress, and giving regular feedback to therapists.
- Encouraging people with mental health issues to create a daily routine
- Assisting children with physical disabilities to enjoy play activities
- Helping people who've had a stroke or been in an accident to adjust to their disability
- Showing an older person how to use equipment to help them remain living independently
- Checking that equipment is in good working order
- Keeping a record of items in stock
You could work in an NHS or private hospital or at a client's home.
For this role, you'll need knowledge of psychology, flexibility and openness to change, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, the ability to work well with others, customer service skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, counselling skills, and sensitivity and understanding.
You could do a college course in health and social care for this job. Most of these courses include work placements which could be a good way of gaining experience.
You can do a health care support worker intermediate apprenticeship or a senior healthcare support worker advanced apprenticeship.
You could also start as a healthcare assistant and learn on the job, moving into occupational therapy work through training and promotion.
Direct application may be possible if you've got relevant skills and experience from work like care or health-related roles. Employers might ask for a qualification in a health-related subject and experience of working with people.
Voluntary or paid experience in a healthcare setting or a caring role with older people, or people with physical or learning difficulties may be useful.
With experience, you could become a team leader and supervise other occupational therapy support workers. You could also train as an assistant practitioner and study for a foundation degree. You could then go on to train as an occupational therapist.