BUILD THE FUTURE – Alex expands his horizons with Degree Apprenticeship
“You really have the best of both worlds. I was really encouraged to go for it so jumped in with both feet and I haven’t looked back since.”
Alexander Jones, 32 from Telford, has expanded his horizons by studying for an Occupational Therapy Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Wolverhampton.
Alex is an Apprentice Occupational Therapist working in the Crisis & Resolution Home Treatment Team for Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust based in Telford which is funding his studies through the Apprenticeship Levy.
After leaving school, Alex decided to go to college but didn’t complete his A Levels, unable to settle into education. He worked in a variety of jobs before joining the NHS as an administrator and, watching his colleagues, he realised that he wanted to progress in order to make a positive change in people’s lives.
He said: “I saw the variety of roles on offer – nurses, social workers and occupational therapists – and they were all working together to improve patient care. I was enamoured by that, but I just needed to find a role that suited my mindset. The drive was non-medicalising common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and isolation and I realised that’s where my passion lay because that’s the core discipline of Occupational Therapy.”
Alex’s employer, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, paid for him to study an Access to Higher Education Health & Social Care course at a local college, which gave him the foundations to study a higher-level degree at university and he applied for the new Degree Apprenticeship in Occupational Therapy – a three-year fast-tracked Apprenticeship offered by the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton.
Alex, who studies one day a week whilst working full-time, said: “I’m in my first year of study and, in a way, this first cohort of students is helping to shape the course. I’m surrounded by support from tutors at the University, my colleagues at work and the people I work with on my placements.
“This was my first time coming to a university and you really have the best of both worlds. I have the support of someone behind me who is investing in me and believes that I can go forward but also they are funding this for me meaning I don’t have a student loan to worry about and I have job security.
“My horizons are opening more and more as the course goes on. The support that we get on the Apprenticeship is quite amazing. There was a period in my life when I left school where I didn’t have a goal that was my passion, but once I joined the NHS, I saw something in my colleagues that gave me drive and my passion turned to that’s what I want to be. So I was really encouraged to go for it and jump in with both feet and I haven’t looked back since.”
Find out more about how Degree Apprenticeships can benefit you or your business: www.wlv.ac.uk/NAW2022/.
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