The Occupational Therapy Degree Apprenticeship

This degree apprenticeship provides a unique opportunity for healthcare, occupational therapy and social care assistants or equivalent who aspire to become occupational therapists.


The impact of illness and injury on daily life can be debilitating. For those impacted by mental health conditions, physical impairments or learning disabilities, everyday activities can be challenging.

Occupational therapists play a critical role in providing practical care and supporting recovery for those who struggle performing day-to-day tasks. Their role is powerful in using everyday activities to enable people to live independently, enjoy a good quality of life and reach their potential.

BSc(Hons) Applied Occupational Therapy provides the opportunity for healthcare, occupational therapy and social care assistants to train as occupational therapists while working at least 30 hours a week, over a four year period. Applicants need to be in regular contact working alongside occupational therapists.

Course details

Scheduled learning is delivered through online or face-to-face teaching, which comprises a minimum of 20% off the job training throughout the programme. This is structured as two days per week of timetabled activity in term time and includes methods such as lectures, seminars, group work projects, workshops and tutorials.

The rest of the course consists of work-based learning within the workplace. While working full-time, you will build a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your skills and competencies.

Apprentices will also undertake three blocks of placement learning, where you will complete 1000 hours of assessed placement activity, in a clinical setting outside of their workplace.

Assessment takes the form of a mix of module assessments including a written exam, essays, presentations, and oral examinations. The apprenticeship will then be concluded by the completion of 360 credits supported by the portfolio of evidence collated over the four years.

Over the four year apprenticeship, you will study a range of subject areas, from occupational science, therapeutic practice, to promoting healthy living.

Year one modules focus on understanding occupation as a concept, providing an introduction to occupational science. This includes the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing, as well as fundamentals of psychology, sociology, anatomy and physiology.

Year two modules build on this foundation by developing understanding of challenges to occupational engagement. This includes professional reasoning and evidence-based practice.

Year three modules develop professional skills further, including psychosocial challenges, complex needs, reflexivity in practice and beginning your research journey.

In the final year, you will apply your skills, knowledge and experience to promoting healthy futures, interprofessional collaboration, innovation and leadership and your evidence-based portfolio.


Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) logoBSc (Hons) Applied Occupational Therapy degree (Level 6) accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

By the end of the apprenticeship, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which is required to practice as a registered occupational therapist.

Entry requirements

Applicants will be sponsored by their employer, with experience in health care or social care, and will demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning in addition to the following:

128 UCAS tariff points


Access Diploma (refer to UWE website for requirements)


UWE Bristol / City of Bristol Foundation Programme for Health Professions


European Baccalaureate 74-80 preferably including Science/Social Science


Applicants who do not fit the typical entry requirements will be considered on an individual basis. In this situation evidence of recent study (within 3 years) to A level standard (level 3) alongside a profile of longstanding relevant experience. Applicants with a previous degree will be considered on an individual basis.

All applicants require Maths and English to level 2.

Additional selection criteria

Health assessment/declaration/vaccinations

Applicants must be in good health and be up-to-date with routine immunisations e.g. tetanus, diphtheria, polio and MMR. Employers are responsible for ensuring this can be evidenced at the start of the course. Applicants will also be required to confirm their status in respect of a number of infectious diseases and immunisations (tuberculosis, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, varicella, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV antibodies) and be prepared to have all required vaccinations funded by the employer. If vaccinations are not up-to-date this will affect ability to continue on the course. Concerns with regards to vaccinations should be raised at the point of application.

Applicants are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check with UWE Bristol. Offers of a place will be subject to Disclosure of Criminal Background. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply and all convictions, including those which are spent, must be disclosed. This is in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

Prior Certificated Learning

Students wishing to transfer from other institutions will be considered on an individual basis if they meet the course requirements and there is capacity available within the programme. Applicants whose first language is not English must have a minimum IELTS score of 7 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in any section, (or equivalent)

The core values of the NHS Constitution are embedded throughout the programme and within its recruitment process.

How to apply

Prospective students may only apply for a degree apprenticeship through their employer. If you are interested in any of our degree apprenticeship programmes, speak to your employer in the first instance.

Benefits for businesses

BSc(Hons) Applied Occupational Therapy benefits health and social care services struggling to employ occupational therapists, enabling them to ‘grow their own’ from their own workforce.

This degree apprenticeship offers a new way to plan for your future workforce; investing in the training and education of your staff, whilst retaining their talents in house.

The course is designed using an occupational science-underpinned curriculum that gradually builds understanding. Apprentices will build on their foundation of knowledge from day one, gradually feeding into learning strands of occupational therapy in practice.

Successful graduates will be ready to take their next step towards becoming confident, autonomous occupational therapists. They will develop skills critical for success in this career, from professional reasoning and problem solving, to leadership and communication.

Throughout their learning, apprentices will develop a holistic approach to their practice. They’ll gain interpersonal skills such as emotional competency, ethical awareness and quality assurance, ensuring they’ll contribute safe and ethical therapeutic interventions to your workplace.

By the end of the apprenticeship, your employee will be able to apply a deep understanding of occupational science to a range of settings within your organisation. They’ll train as a person-centred practitioner, not only offering strong practical skills, but strong interpersonal skills to match.

Why UWE Bristol?

UWE Bristol has developed this course in line with the core values of the NHS Constitution, embedded from recruitment through to teaching. The course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

Our experienced tutors offer a broad range of expertise across a variety of health and social care settings. These include physical and mental health, learning disability and third sector environments. This breadth ensures your employees will be adaptable to a range of challenges within your workplace.

Depending on the model of delivery you will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills and experience using a variety of learning platforms both online and face to face. Apprentices will also engage in practical skill-building sessions and problem-based learning with others in their cohort. If local to UWE Bristol, you will have the opportunity to use our state-of-the-art facilities for practical skill building.

You will benefit from student support throughout the apprenticeship. Learning will be supported through our online learning pods, comprising of virtual problem-based learning groups. You’ll also have 24/7 access to IT support, whether you’re on campus or at your workplace.

Contact the Degree Apprenticeship Team

To find out more about the BSc (Hons) Applied Occupational Therapy or for more information about the Levy and degree apprenticeships, please email our Degree Apprenticeships Team at or call us on +44 (0)117 32 84888.

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