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Developing social enterprise volunteer opportunities for Occupational Therapy Students Employment opportunities for OTs within the third sector are rapidly.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing social enterprise volunteer opportunities for Occupational Therapy Students Employment opportunities for OTs within the third sector are rapidly."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing social enterprise volunteer opportunities for Occupational Therapy Students Employment opportunities for OTs within the third sector are rapidly developing in line with government investment (DoH 2008). In addition NHS services are going through transformational changes requiring OTs to have experience in social enterprise and business practice (Lawson-Porter and Skelton 2009). It is therefore necessary to equip students with the skills to address these changes, awareness of the needs of future third-sector service users and an ability to collaborate with multi-agency colleagues. Volunteering opportunities were established within a broad range of organisations. Volunteering roles within these organisations were very diverse from conservation work to facilitating support groups. Organisations interviewed provided services such as hospice, aids for visual impairment, accessible outward bound activities, animal protection, personal development, health promotion, befriending, mental health advise and support for people who are homeless, seeking asylum, refugees and disadvantaged young people. All organisations interviewed had a volunteer coordinator, appropriate insurance, an application process, an induction programme and were familiar with having volunteers. Some volunteer coordinators required further clarity with regards to the role as a volunteer rather than a student on placement. Some agencies required a CRB check on the volunteer. Some expected a commitment from the volunteer to cover the financial outlay linked to the volunteering role in terms of training and CRB checks. Most organisations were happy that 60 hours would be a reasonable length of time and sufficient to address the commitment required where this was an issue. Depending on the role given, some organisations preferred the 60 hours to be in a block of two weeks, others preferred a weekly commitment of a few hours over several months. This research looked at the feasibility for an under- graduate module involving students working a total of 60 hours as volunteers in third sector organisations and social enterprise initiatives. Funding was awarded from the Centre for Excellence in Professional Placement Learning and ethical approval obtained from the Faculty ethics committee. The main aims of the study were to establish relationships with local groups and explore the feasibility of volunteering. Semi-structured interviews were held with 20 local organisations to explore opinions and the logistics of having students working with them as volunteers. Two research assistants were employed to conduct much of the data collection with supervision from university staff. Qualitative thematic analysis of the transcribed data was then undertaken to obtain an understanding of the major issues and opportunities; and to inform module design, development and implementation. Overall third sector organisations proved enthusiastic about the project, All wanted a copy of student work arising from the experience and were positive about further research and collaborative working. Sufficient volunteering opportunities were established and students were very positive in response to the proposed module. This research has led to new and innovative work-based learning opportunities within inter-professional services committed to social enterprise. This will promote employability for learners and establish new collaborative partnerships with local agencies. The first cohort of students are now planning their volunteering as part of a module on the pre-registration BSc in Occupational Therapy Rosi Raine MSc PGCHE BSc(Hons), Pat Eyres MSc DipCOT, Annette Luscombe BSc(Hons), Laura James BSc(Hons) School of Health Professions, University of Plymouth Participants commented that there are ”all sorts of different roles from admin, surveys, meeting and greeting, to putting your wellies out there!” “everyone comes together, people have there own skills and experiences” References Department of Health (2008) Third Sector Funding Investment Review. Accessed 6/03/09.www.dh.gov.uk Jenkins G, et al (2008) Compulsory Volunteering: Using Service Learning to Introduce Occupation to Occupational Therapy Students. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 71(1), Lawson-Porter, A., Skelton, J. (2009) TCS: Will your service survive? Occupational Therapy News 17(3) pg 47 Images All images used are representative of the organisations that took part but not directly taken from their publications in order to maintain confidentiality. Images are taken from copyright free sources at or unless otherwise stated.www.freeimages.co.uk/ “When students are looking to market themselves in the future, possibly outside traditional roles, opportunities such as this within their curriculum will demonstrate and enhance transferable skills.” (Jenkins et al, 2008 p. 38)


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