Occupational Therapy - A Graduate Story

Recent Graduate John Williams talks to us about his experience of the Occupational Therapy degree and how it's helped him on his new career path.

  • Why did you choose to study at Salford?

    I came on an open day with a view to coming the following year, I enjoyed the course leader talk and the info from a student who volunteered to talk about the course. I was able to really get a feel for the place. After some discussion with the course leader, it turned out that cause I had done a previous degree I had the ucas points to apply for accreditation of prior learning. Completed this project which demonstrated why OT was the profession for me, thankfully I was accepted, and the rest is history.  


  • What made you want to study your chosen course?  

    It was an OT that helped me with some health problems I has many years ago. They really looked at me as an individual what was important to me not offering and off the shelf solution (I’d tried many from the NHS). They tailored their intervention to me and what was most important to me at that time to overcome. This is a superb and different profession.  


  • Tell us a bit about your course

    In Occupational Therapy, everything we do is an occupation we describe them as tasks that are meaningful and purposeful to you to remain as independent has possible. Tasks in our daily routine such as washing and dressing, making meals, mobilising is an occupation. We look holistically at a person focusing on personal environmental factors which can affect these occupations. For instance, if you break your arm, how is that going to affect your ability to wash and dress yourself, make meals etc. By an individual being able to complete this, our theory and research explains that being able to do these occupations makes you feel good as you feel fulfilled completing tasks on your own. As occupational therapists we work with you to overcome barriers. It really is a rewarding and fulfilling career.  


  • How did you learn on the course?
    5 practical placements to complete 1000 hours of clinical placement as required by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. There were many guest speakers from NHS, private and legal practice. Also there were opportunities to recreate what it may be like for people with an illness or disability so we can empathise some of the challenges they may experience.  
John Williams portrait
  • Did you get involved in any other extracurricular activities in your spare time?

    I took every opportunity I could, so I had a well-rounded experience at uni ready for the world of OT. I spent a week on a special holiday with the charity SENSE, I did a sponsored Internship with Foundations all about how disabled facilities grants are used. I presented at a conference in Spain about my previous health problems and how OT helped me overcome these. Following on from this, I was involved in establishing the Salford Occupational Therapy Conference (due again Jan 2023). I was a student ambassador so would give talks about the university on open day, directing people, talking about my uni experience and took part in research. 


  • Did you undertake a placement?

    There are 5 placements on our course, first was intermediate care (a place where people who are medically fit by the doctors but need some time to rehabilitate and become physically fitter) Acute Hospital Stroke, Community Mental Health, Community Hospital and another intermediate care but where I eventually landed my first job Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust.


  • What support is on hand for your studies?

​​​​​​​There are academic support staff to help with structuring coursework, reports etc. Disability support services to help when you yourself have a disability.  

  • Tell me your career journey since you’ve graduated and how did Salford and your course help with this? 

    I am a rotation occupational therapist this means that every 6 months I change clinical area. So far I have had intermediate care; community adult falls in wigan and Ashton in Makerfield; community paediatrics; Wrightington hospital specialist orthopaedics centre and now in the Acute in Wigan with medicine. One day I hope to specialise in one area.  


  • What advice would you give to someone just starting in first year on the course? 

    Take every opportunity there is. This will make you a well-rounded occupational therapist as you will gain insight and clinical reasoning skills for your future professional career. When I first walked in the door I thought ‘oh my goodness 3 years it’s going to take ages’, but the course just disappears as it’s so enjoyable. Do not be afraid to contact the tutors if you are struggling with something they are very approachable and knowledgeable and helpful.  


  • What would you say to someone thinking about studying OT at Salford? 

    You won’t regret it. It’s a brilliant course and has opened so many doors for me. They also support you through the interview stage of practice for landing your first band 5 occupational therapist job. I really enjoyed my time at the uni, I hope one day that I can guest present the skills and knowledge I was once given by the brilliant department.