Case study

Charlotte secures her first graduate role

Charlotte Budd decided to change direction after a 30-year career and retrain as an occupational therapist. As she approaches the end of her course, she has already secured her first graduate role and is taking her first steps into her new career.

Returning to study

Following her 30-year career in Higher Education and Health Administration and Management, Charlotte decided to take redundancy and return to study to pursue a new career.

“I wanted a career that would be about working directly with people and improving their health and wellbeing," she says. "I have seen how occupational therapy can change people’s lives for the better, both mentally and physically.

“My late mother-in-law was the reason for my interest in this profession. She had Alzheimer’s and I really wanted to understand how her, and her family’s health and wellbeing could be maintained and improved.”

Why choose Derby?

The University of Derby was always Charlotte’s first choice for her BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy. She explains: “There is a real workforce shortage of Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in the area and nationally.

“I know that Occupational Therapy at Derby has always had a great reputation. And the University of Derby is local to me. This was where I wanted to study.”

Derby was the first Occupational Therapy School established under the auspices of the NHS in 1948, and we have since helped thousands of occupational therapists to advance their careers. 100% of our students are in employment or further study within 15 months of completing the course (Graduate Outcomes Survey), demonstrating our excellent track record of training successful occupational therapists.

Occupational Therapy student assisting a service user in a wheelchair who is washing up

I have really enjoyed the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy course. I feel prepared and excited to start my new career as a qualified Occupational Therapist.

Charlotte Budd
BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

Stepping out of her comfort zone

Charlotte’s experiences on placement have allowed her to apply her learning and experience to different areas of occupational therapy. “I have completed three fabulous placements in both community and acute hospital settings which have been very challenging but so rewarding,” she says. “The placements have been varied and all out of my comfort zone, but you learn so much about yourself and your ability to cope in a variety of difficult situations.”

Her placement experiences have helped her to establish which direction she would like to take in her career. “Community is where I felt I belonged. It makes such a difference to work with people in their own environment, to see what matters to them and be able to appreciate their needs.”

“Placement-based learning is where the real learning happens. It is essential to be able to understand and apply theory to practice. My Educators all equipped me with different skills and knowledge. I learnt from them how I want to practice.”

Occupational therapy student adjusting a wheelchair
Charlotte practises her skills in our facilities to prepare her for placement

New beginnings

As she approaches the end of her studies, Charlotte is looking forward to her future career. “As a mature student, I just want to be the best occupational therapist I can be.” Her success on the course has paid off, as she has already secured her first graduate role before finishing her studies.  “I have secured my first Band 5 role with Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust in Derby City Rapid Response team and I’m really excited to get started.”

Charlotte has advice for anyone considering studying Occupational Therapy at the University of Derby. She says: “There are so many employment opportunities for Occupational Therapists. The course is a good pace and a great mix of theoretical and practical elements to enable you to apply your learning to practice. The tutor and peer support are great, and the study skills sessions provided by the library are extremely beneficial.

“I have really enjoyed the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy course, and I feel prepared and excited to start my new career as a qualified Occupational Therapist. My degree is just the start for me, this is where the real learning begins!”