Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has congratulated the first Occupational Therapy students to complete their academic programmes at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
As Patron of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, The Princess Royal met with the first graduates from the programme on Wednesday, 7 October, to celebrate their achievements and officially open the Occupational Therapy Practice Skills area. Touring the facilities, The Princess Royal saw practical skills environments and learnt about the bespoke technology and authentic (patient) case studies used to support student learning.
Having met undergraduate and postgraduate occupational therapy students and staff from the Faculty of Allied Health and Wellbeing, and local practitioners who have played a key role in the development of the programme, The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.
During the visit, Her Royal Highness remarked: “A big thank you to the University here for their support of occupational therapy. The Royal College is delighted that you have taken it on to this level and are evolving it so rapidly. The response to your opening up of this course locally has been enormously encouraging.”
UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: “We were delighted and honoured to welcome The Princess Royal to the University and share with her examples of our work and educational partnerships, as well as our vision for the future of Occupational Therapy. It was certainly a day that our students will never forget.”
The University’s occupational therapy Pre Registration programmes, consisting of both the MSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy (about:blank) and the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy (about:blank), has strong links with COMENSUS, an organisation within the University comprising people with experience of health and social care. This collaboration ensures students hear first-hand how health conditions can impact a person’s life.
Student Clara Harvey-Hunt, 25, from Manchester is on the second year of the BSc course. Commenting on the programme she said: “It’s challenging but good fun and the staff are really supportive and compassionate, they can’t do enough for you at both an educational and personal level.”
Samuel Esiategiwa, 50, from Blackpool worked for many years as a sales representative for Coca-Cola in Africa before coming to the UK. He is one of the University’s first graduates from the MSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy and met HRH during the tour. “You could tell that Her Royal Highness really cared about the development of occupational therapy,” he said. “She was very knowledgeable and personable in equal measure.”
Fellow UCLan graduate Bridget Draisey, 47, from Leyland was a careers advisor before deciding to change direction. She now works as an occupational therapist in a physical and mental health setting. Commenting on the visit she added: “The Princess was really engaged in conversations and asked a wide range of relevant questions.”
UCLan’s Dr Anne Milston, Deputy Head, School of Community Health and Midwifery, led the visit of the University’s Occupational Therapy facilities and added: “This visit has been a wonderful boost for our students, staff and everyone connected with our Occupational Therapy programmes.
“The Princess Royal is a leading advocate for our profession and we hope her visit will highlight the vital work our first cohort of talented graduates will be doing in the future to support people of all ages, whose health may prevent them from getting on with their everyday lives.”