Senior Therapy Assistant
Name: Peter Chapple
Role: Occupational Therapy Assistant
Time as AHP support worker: 6 months
Where I work: South West Yorkshire Partnership Trust
What was your experience of school?
I had a good experience of school and was pleased with my GCSE grades which enabled me to get into 6th form college to study Geography, Design and Environmental Science. I also played a lot of cricket and never missed a game for my school team right throughout secondary school.
What was the next step after school?
I applied to study architecture at the University of Liverpool and was offered a place with a conditional offer. I got the grades I needed and ended up with a BA Hons degree in Architecture and Art History (absolutely nothing to do with the role of an AHP support worker!). After spending several years in the temping wilderness, a stint with a luxury health spa installation company and an environmental consultancy in 2008 a finally decided to go self employed as an artist which occupied me for 13 years up to 2021.
How did you find out about a role as a AHP Support Worker?
During a difficult time last year where I had seen my business decline to the point where it was no longer a viable option, I started seriously looking for other work. It was a friend who just said out of the blue one day that he could see me as an Occupational Therapist and that I should consider working In the NHS. Shortly after that conversation, I applied for a part time OTA post that became available at my local hospital.
Don’t underestimate how much your skills and experience can contribute to your role as an AHP support worker. I’ve been amazed how many transferrable skills I’ve been able to put to use from my previous work into this role
What has been your career journey so far?
It’s been a short career so far as I only started as a part time OTA on Ashdale Ward at Calderdale Royal Hospital in July 2021. Shortly after starting, I got a second part time job on the Enhanced 2 Community Mental Health Team in Kirklees.
What have you learnt during this time?
Coming from a completely different role, it’s been a steep learning curve for me but have felt well supported every step of the way with regular supervision sessions from my managers. I have learnt a great deal about mental illness and how it can impact on the lives of individuals and families. I’ve learnt how members of the organisation can work together for the benefit of patients and service users and just how much the care is orientated around the individual. I’ve also learnt how big a role simple daily activities can be in the process of rehabilitation.
What do you love about your role as an AHP Support Worker?
I personally love the variety of the role as no two days are the same. I feel especially fortunate in having two part time roles within quite different settings so I get to have a broad view of the service from both inpatient care to community work. One specific highlight for me was leading a watercolour group on Ashdale ward where one of the men didn’t want to join in at first but after a bit of encouragement, picked up a paint brush and ended up enjoying the session, saying, “I can’t believe I did that!” That was a really satisfying moment.
Any advice for those interested in this type of role?
My advice would be to come into this role and be prepared to make a positive difference to peoples lives. Don’t underestimate how much your skills and experience can contribute to your role as an AHP support worker. I’ve been amazed how many transferrable skills I’ve been able to put to use from my previous work into this role.
Take a look at some of our other AHP Support Worker Inspirational Stories