Ormskirk Advertiser : 2020-08-13

Front Page : 7 : 7

Front Page

The Advertiser Thursday, August 13, 2020 7 Thanks to the NHS, I’m really going places! ● is flying high as an occupation­al therapist AS CAREERS GO, you might imagine one which takes you around the world would be hard to beat. But former travel agent Kate Ward, 40, wanted to have a more lasting impact on people’s lives than she could by securing them a bargain break. WHAt NEEd KNOW... yOu tO “I’d left school at 17 with very few qualificat­ions,” explains Kate, who lives in Leeds with her husband Liam and son Logan, 19. “The TV show Wish You Were Here...? enticed me to become a travel agent. “I remember seeing the presenter visiting the Maldives. Within about a year of starting, I was on a plane heading out there. The whole trip was amazing.” But when Kate became a lone parent at 21, she decided it was time to broaden her horizons. “Travel agency work had been fun but I wanted to realise other ambitions, develop new skills and do something that contribute­d to improving lives,” she says. “Becoming a mum changed my aspiration­s.” Kate had grown up with a family member who had mental health issues, and in her early twenties she sought help for an eating disorder herself. Having experience­d NHS mental health services first hand, she knew the work would be varied, interestin­g and allow her to help others. It took two years for Kate, then 23, to build up the courage to make the leap. “I decided to just go for it,” she says. “I used the office skills I had from the travel agency to become a secretary for a mental health and learning disability trust. “From there I applied to become a PA, then my managers encouraged me to study for a degree in occupation­al therapy and, after that, a masters. “I was lucky to join an organisati­on where I was really invested in, and I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve been given along the way.” Occupation­al therapists work across the NHS to support people whose physical or mental health stops them doing activities that matter to them. “I love it because it’s dynamic, collaborat­ive, person centred and focussed on supporting people to enable them to live the life they want to live during times of poorer mental or physical health,” says Kate. These days she only uses her travel agency know-how to help friends plan holidays online – and doesn’t regret her career swap for a second. “I’m so proud to work for the NHS and so lucky to be doing a job I love,” she adds. OCCUPATION­Al THERAPIST SALARy £24K+ HOURS 37.5 PER WEEK 4 yEAR full timE ● DEGREE (PArT Time ALSo AVAilABle) £5,000 TOWARDS yOUR ENGLISH UNIVERSity DEGREE eXTrA fundS of up TO AVAilABle £3,000 SUBJECt tO ELIGibilit­y To find ouT more ABouT THe nHS GO TO JoininG GOV.UK/NHSCAREERS

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