Scottish Fire and Rescue Service placement provides new experience for GCU students

Fri, 24 Apr 2020 16:19:00 BST
Aimee and Sarah took part in the pilot placement
Aimee and Sarah took part in the pilot placement

Two Occupational Therapy students have taken part in a new initiative with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) – helping open their minds to potential career options beyond university.

Sarah Taylor and Aimee Sangster, both in their fourth year, were recently given the opportunity to get involved in the 8 week pilot placement, which saw them split their time working in a rehabilitation centre and conducting home visits with SFRS’s Community Action Team.

Aimee explained what led to her taking on the opportunity. She said: “Initially, I was a little unsure about it, however our programme had a training day at SFRS’s headquarters and I thought it was so interesting and just decided to go for this as a result.

On placement, it was great seeing the sort of thing the Community Action Team deal with and even for us to show how occupational therapists could benefit them as a group – it worked really well for everyone.”

Sarah added: “The link between the fire service and occupational therapists was something I would have never thought of when I first started at GCU.

We went out to a lot of visits with the Community Action Team, looking at fire safety in the homes of vulnerable people. This really linked in well at the rehabilitation centre as I was able to apply the knowledge I had gained.

The time spent in each area essentially led to me being a link worker between the organisations and it’s definitely benefitted me as a practitioner.”

Both Aimee and Sarah also highly recommend other students get involved in taking up any opportunities handed to them during their time at GCU.

Sarah said: “I’m definitely keen to go in and do a presentation to other OT students around the personal benefits from this.

I’ve had a lot of good experience and training throughout my time at GCU, so I would always encourage other students to go for it.”

Aimee added: “There was so much support offered to us during this and everyone was just trying to make it as positive an experience as possible.

If a job comes up in the fire service in future then I would definitely think about applying. I would never even have considered it as a career path before taking this opportunity on.”

Occupational Therapy lecturer Leona McQuaid, who was involved in setting up the pilot placement, was delighted with the success.

She said: “I am so proud of Aimee and Sarah for what they have achieved through this placement!

They have demonstrated a high level of autonomy and problem solving to transfer their core occupational therapy skills to diverse areas of practice and embrace new challenges.

This adaptability will serve them well in their future career, particularly in the current climate of change we are seeing within health and social care.”

By Ross Clark
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