Dudley Council has teamed up with a leading university to nurture home grown talent in the field of occupational therapy.
The local authority is working with Coventry University, which specialises in delivering health and social care qualifications to offer an occupational therapy degree apprenticeship to staff.
Funded through the government’s apprenticeship levy, it means members of staff can train and qualify at the same time as working for the authority.
Three members of staff currently working as occupational therapy assistants have signed up take part in the scheme and will qualify in 2023.
As qualified occupational therapists they will assist residents living in Dudley with disabilities or recovering from illness and struggling with daily living, assessing the individual’s performance in their home and identifying ways to building on their strengths and maximise independence.
Outcomes can be achieved through a range of options including reablement, advice, equipment, adaptations or re-housing, addressing needs and working together with partners across the council to deliver relevant support.
Prior to the apprenticeship levy, the council has also previously worked with Coventry University to support other members of staff, through the traditional full or part-time degree route, to begin their training.
One council employee, Louise Davies, who has worked at the authority for nine years as a housing occupational therapy assistant, achieved a first class honours degree in occupational therapy and has recently started her new role as an OT within housing.
Another employee who started her career with the council as a modern apprentice is also set to be fully qualified next year.
Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing, communities and residents’ welfare, said:
It’s currently National Occupational Therapy Week so there’s no better time to celebrate the successes of Louise and colleagues.
We recognise the value of the people within our own workforce and I’m really pleased we’ve been able to give some of our occupational therapy assistants an opportunity to develop their skills and career with us, which will only help us sustain services in the future.