Apprentices engage with university study two days per week, 30-31 weeks per year. Within those weeks they also complete between six and eight weeks of full-time practice placement in a setting outside of their workplace.
This contributes to the minimum of 20% of paid working hours which must be spent on studies and evidenced (off-the-job learning). This is a statutory requirement for apprenticeships and the funding is conditional on this being met.
Off-the-job learning includes activities which have not previously been a part of the apprentices current role or furthers apprentices development into new areas.
- Knowledge and understanding of the profession and relevant work experience
- Level 2 English and Mathematics
- One A-level (or equivalent) within the last 5 years
- Degree level qualification within the last 10 years
- Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS) and Occupational Health Screening must be undertaken and satisfactorily cleared as a condition of an offer of a place
Teaching and assessment
Tuition on the programme is provided by experts based within the university, visiting Occupational Therapists and others based within public and private healthcare organisations, as well as those with lived experiences as experts in the teaching. This contributes to ensuring the relevancy and currency of the curriculum.
The innovative curriculum uses a problem-based learning approach, where apprentices examine real-life scenarios together in small groups with a tutor. This type of education reflects the ideas of pragmatism and active learning on which Occupational Therapy itself was founded.
A variety of therapeutic skills are also practised, for example in arts and crafts, cooking, ceramics, technology and horticulture, considering how these may be adapted for people with different needs. In order for apprentices to be aware of their responsibilities during these sessions, they are asked to sign a statement of consent agreeing to act in client-role-playing as well as practitioner roles in classes.
A range of summative assessment methods that reflect tasks an Occupational Therapist might encounter in practice are used throughout the programme. These are related to module aims and learning outcomes, allowing apprentices with a range of abilities to succeed, and include:
- practice placements
- individual and group presentations
- written reflections
- patient treatment plans
Upon completion of the qualification apprentices must complete an End Point Assessment (EPA) comprised of:
- a portfolio of workplace evidence
- demonstration of practice
- professional discussion.
Employer and apprentice commitments
In order to deliver the programme, the employer undertakes to:
- conduct a workplace induction and set out a contract of employment
- provide an appropriately qualified workplace mentor to support the apprentice
- attend apprentice's progress review (twice a year)
- ensure that an Occupational Health Screening and an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check has been undertaken by the employer
- release apprentice for scheduled off-the-job training
- have an Apprenticeship Agreement in place from the start of the programme.
Throughout the programme, apprentices will:
- attend the workplace for the agreed pattern as set out in the employment contract
- record all training sessions and off-the-job learning
- attend scheduled university learning sessions and complete all assessments as required by the university and End Point Assessment Organisation
- behave in a safe and responsible manner at the workplace and university
- engage with regular progress reviews
- complete, throughout the apprenticeship, a professional development portfolio.
Fees and funding information for apprentices
As an apprentice the cost of your learning programme is covered by your employer through their Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account.
Higher and degree level apprentices are not eligible for any element of student finance. This is because they receive a salary instead of the student loan package. However, if you are experiencing any financial difficulties, please contact the Student Advice Service on 01273 642 888.
Apprentices studying at Higher and degree level may be able to access funding in relation to additional support but this is available through the university and not Disabled Students Allowance. Apprentices may also be able to apply for Access to Work funding for work-based equipment and software. Please contact the Disability and Dyslexia team on 01273 643 799.
Living costs and benefits
Higher and degree level apprentices must fulfil the standard eligibility criteria in order to apply for means tested benefits such as Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. If you have any questions about entitlement to benefits, please contact the Student Advice Service on 01273 643888.
Higher and degree level apprentices who are undertaking a full-time mode of study can be treated as being exempt from paying Council Tax. Although some programmes require study on a day-release arrangement, this can still be classed as full-time study. You will need to obtain a letter from the Student Information Desk at any campus and send this to your Council Tax department when you enrol on the programme.
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