Jacqui is a BSc Occupational Therapy graduate from Wrexham Glyndŵr University.
How did your time at Wrexham Glyndŵr University prepare you for the world of work?
I found the mix of academic and placement time was really important; you need time to put your learning into practice and develop on theories to convert to skills. Time management was important for placement and work deadlines, as was being able to work as part of a group. This adds to the skills you need to form professional relationships and is a large part of working in busy and often pressured organisations.
What does your current job involve?
I am a Community Mental Health Occupational Therapist. In a typical day, I am likely to carry out an assessment analysing the individual’s barriers to occupation. I work collaboratively to identify strengths and opportunities, both within their community and themselves. I may refer to local schemes and reason future interventions with the individual. The overarching goal is the recovery of ordinary lives through meaningful activity, helping individuals do what they want or need to be able to in areas such as self-care, productivity or leisure. I have the freedom to be creative in my role and no two days are the same.
What have been your career highlights to date?
Although I have been qualified less than a year, I have helped to define prioritisation for referrals and I am following a new model of practice within the service. I created a research poster for our allied health professions event, and have created activity packs for service users during the pandemic. I also created a sensory-based wellbeing room for staff members in our team.
What made you choose Wrexham Glyndŵr University?
I was drawn to the good transport links and that it was close to home; for me, considering family obligations was essential. I also liked the high level of student satisfaction and rate of employment that this programme had. I attended the open day and found Rhiannon to be very approachable, which was a big selling point for me.
What kind of student were you?
Busy. I was a Health in Education Wales Representative and cohort student representative during my 2nd year. I was uber enthusiastic and passionate about all things OT. I also set up the Occupational Therapy Society at Glyndŵr and organised our first end of year event. I really enjoyed bringing people together, fostering a sense of belonging and being able to make a difference.
How did studying at Wrexham Glyndŵr University help you?
My degree enabled me to hold the post of Occupational Therapist. It is a protected title and an accredited degree is required to practice in this field. It combines both academic study and practical field-based education; this was a vital part of developing my professional identity, recognising my strengths, weaknesses and an area of practice to specialise in. I also made some great connections with educators while on placement and I still keep in touch with them today.
What advice would you give someone wanting to work in a similar field?
1. Don’t underestimate the value of volunteering and shadowing- both the University and employers appreciate those who have shown real interest in the area.
2. Have a look at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists website. As our professional body, they hold a wealth of information about the value and role of Occupational Therapists.
3. Do your research. What support do you have? Do you need childcare? Would you qualify for funding? Look at the potential barriers you may face and then contact the University's admissions team for any support you may need.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with Wrexham Glyndŵr University? And why?
Yes, it has a smaller feel than some of the other universities and that, for me, was a good thing. There is a real mix of students; as a mature student I never felt out of place. There is ongoing investment in facilities, programmes and students, and I always felt like I could be part of something if I wanted to.
What is your favourite memory of your time at Wrexham Glyndŵr University?
I have so many, but sharing the sensory box we had created as a group at the end of year conference, which we later donated to the National Autistic Society, was a real high point for me.
If you could sum up your Wrexham Glyndŵr University experience in a quote, what would it be?
“it always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela