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Occupational therapy support workers help people who struggle with day-to-day activities to live a full and independent life.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements for OT support workers. Employers expect good numeracy and literacy and some experience or qualifications in health or social care and may ask for GCSEs in English and maths. They may ask for BTEC or equivalent vocational qualifications in health and social care. You will be given the training you need to do the job, including an introduction to the department and its procedures and how to set up and use the equipment. You may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as the NCFE CACHE level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services or the NCFE CACHE level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support.
Expected working hours and salary range
OT support workers working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. You will typically start on AfC band 2 or 3. After further training and experience, you can apply for more senior posts at band 4. Most OT support workers in the NHS work standard hours which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. They may work some evenings or weekends. Terms and conditions will usually be different for clinical support staff working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
As an OT support worker, you need to be able to motivate people, accepting of other people’s lifestyles, willing to work with people from all walks of life, happy to talk to and work with groups, flexible, willing to travel, able to work in a team but use your own initiative, able to follow procedures, and able to deal with people with challenging behaviour. You'll also need very good communication, customer care and organisational skills.
With experience, you could become a team leader supervising the work of other OT support workers. You could apply to train as an assistant practitioner or as an occupational therapist.
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