For National Apprenticeship Week, we spoke to Occupational Therapy Assistant, Kerrie Bingham.

Kerrie graduated from university in 2017 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, and a particularly proud moment for her was having part of her dissertation published. Prior to university Kerrie studied English Literature, Biology, Dance and Psychology at a performing arts school in Sheffield.

Kerrie has previously volunteered as a counsellor for Childline and supported the Performance team for GB Boxing during the 2012 London Olympics. Kerrie joined the team at STEPS in 2018 as a Rehabilitation Assistant and says she has met the best people!

In 2020 Kerrie was promoted to the role of Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Q – How did you find the transition of your role from Rehabilitation Assistant to Occupational Therapy Assistant? I worked at STEPS as a Rehabilitation Assistant for two years providing holistic care to clients throughout their rehabilitation journey. Working closely with clients with brain and spinal cord injuries, complex trauma and those who have suffered a stroke. This gave me an insight into how complex different conditions and each individual client can be. This experience allowed me to expand my knowledge and put my Psychology skills into practice. The role taught me a wide range of clinical and personal skills that gave me a strong foundation to support my transition in the more specialised Occupational Therapy role.

Q – What made you want to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

I was fortunate enough to regularly observe and work alongside the STEPS Occupational Therapy Team during my time as a Rehabilitation Assistant. Doing so helped me to gain the skills and understanding of how to promote an individual’s independence. I was able to directly experience how occupational engagement positively impacted on clients physical and emotional health. I have always had a passion for Psychology and incorporating this into my work and my work at STEPS opened my eyes to the importance of maximising an individual’s potential throughout their rehabilitation journey when promoting independence to improve their mood, engagement, health and quality of life. 

Q – Are you studying at the moment? If so, what is the course, where is it? How long will it take?

I will be studying the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy Apprenticeship Programme at Sheffield Hallam University which will begin March 2023. The course will take 2 and a half years to complete, followed by an endpoint assessment which will be completed within 6 months.

Q – Are you studying alongside working?

I will be studying a university course alongside 30+ hours of employment a week, giving the opportunity to combine learning through practical and theory work.

Q – How did STEPS assist you with the transition in your role and did you feel that they supported you to enable you to transition?

I am very fortunate to work alongside a very supportive interdisciplinary team at STEPS who have helped to support me with my transition into the OT Team.

The highly skilled and experienced OT team have supported me to develop the skills and knowledge needed to help begin my journey on the OT apprenticeship programme.

Q – What do you find most rewarding about working at STEPS? (Any particular moments that will stick with you?)

  • I will always be grateful for the opportunities given to me, allowing me to grow and develop in my career. It is so rewarding.
  • Knowing you have made a difference to a client and their loved ones by being involved in a client's rehabilitation journey at a pivotal time of their life.
  • The friendships I have made at STEPS are so special, it has been wonderful to work closely with so many kind and caring people.
  • There is always someone to answer your questions and support with session planning, reflection practice and how to improve moving forward to strengthen your skills set.

Q – What is it like working for STEPS?!

  • It is great to work as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  • The team are so supportive of each other. There is such a good mix of skills and this helps to create the strong team we have at STEPS.
  • I love the team spirit at STEPS, it is definitely one of the things that makes it so special! Outside of work we have so many social get togethers, going for food/drinks, including playing football in the STEPS football team, helping each other to unwind and relax after work.
  • The lunches are delicious and wonderful Wednesday once a month helps keep us motivated!