Arts and crafts can be used as part of a person’s therapy as a way of helping them deal with their issues.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements but employers expect good literacy and numeracy. They may ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) in maths and Englis and an interest and ability in one or more areas of arts or crafts, such as art, music, drama, cookery, gardening, photography etc. They may also ask for a qualification in health or social care and experience in working in the arts in a care or therapy setting. This could be from paid or voluntary work. Some staff enter by working as healthcare assistants or occupational therapy assistants in jobs which may include creative therapies. You will be given the training you need to do the job, including an introduction to the department and its procedures. You will also have training in relevant issues such as mental health or disability.
Expected working hours and salary range
Creative therapies support staff working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. Job titles vary and it all depends on the exact role you're working in. However, you would typically start on AfC band 2 or 3. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions. Most staff in roles related to the creative therapies 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 creative therapies support staff working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
Staff in roles related to the creative therapies need to be creative, patient and caring, 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, able to work in a team but use their own initiative, able to follow procedures and able to deal with people with challenging behaviour. They also need arts and crafts skills, good communication skills and good organisational skills.
You could apply for more senior roles - such as an activities team leader or supervisor, or train as an art, music or dramatherapist, or as an occupational therapist.