Apprenticeship scheme helps boost workforce skills
Published on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
TWO apprentice occupational therapists are being put through a university degree course as part of a scheme run by Leicester City Council to nurture its staff’s own talent and skills.
The city council’s social care and education department is working with Coventry University on the occupational therapist degree apprenticeship programme, which will see the two candidates study for a four-year BSc (Hons) qualification.
Leicester City Council is one of the first local authorities in the country to embark on such a scheme, which is being done to help tackle the national shortage of qualified occupational therapists.
The two apprentices – Zahira Ravat (second left) and Heidi Askam (fourth from left) – work in the city council as care management officers, and began their apprenticeship this week.
The four-year Integrated Occupational Therapist Degree Apprenticeship will see trainees complete 1,000 hours of clinical placement experience, and upon completion they will be registered with the Health Care Professions Council. Two qualified occupational therapists from the city council will also undertake further training at Coventry University and act as workplace mentors supporting to the apprentices.
The candidates, who work in the council’s social care and education department were chosen from a rigorous application process earlier in the year. Two further candidates have also received conditional offers for the 2020 intake onto the course.
Leicester deputy city mayor for social care and anti poverty, Cllr Sarah Russell, said: “Nationally there is a serious shortage of occupational therapists, which are vital in delivering care to vulnerable adults, children and young people across the city.
“By offering staff the chance to qualify as occupational therapists, we are helping to ‘grow our own’ skilled workforce rather than having to rely on external providers.
“It also means that by investing in these apprenticeships, we are offering staff the chance to train while also helping recruit much-needed skilled workers.
“We are one of the first councils in the UK to take this apprenticeship approach, and we are very pleased to be working with Coventry University on this course.”
The scheme is part of a wider commitment to develop the council’s workforce capability through the use of apprenticeship standards.
Leicester City Council’s strategic director of adult social care and housing, Steven Forbes, said: “I’m very pleased that we are able both invest in the future of these apprentices by enabling them to learn much-needed skills, and in turn to help use those skills within our own workforce.”
Principal occupational therapist at Leicester City Council, Miral Joshi, added: “Occupational therapists are essential to the workforce of the health and social care system.
“By assessing people’s abilities and strengths, they provide a range of equipment, adaptations and technology, as well as advising on different techniques and approaches to complete everyday tasks, helping people to live productive, meaningful lives.”