Through information gathering with occupational therapists internationally and discussions with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), we have become aware of the challenges for development of the profession in some countries. Challenges are specifically with regard to the awards made (Diploma rather than BSc) and the impact of this on developing a workforce able to educate future occupational therapists in country. To this end, we are excited to launch an investment of £10,000 in our first International Development Award.
For the first year of this initiative, we will help support the professional development of a cohort of occupational therapists through the ‘topping-up’ of their Diploma in Occupational Therapy to a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. Attaining a BSc is an important step for individuals to be eligible to progress to higher degrees.
Several countries still operate at Diploma level and for this year we have chosen to focus on countries in the East African Community. This community has been selected as enquiries and applications to the Trust from these countries originally helped to bring this issue to the attention of the Trust.
Our ambition is that by providing this funding to support the academic progression of occupational therapists, it will be possible to develop an appropriately skilled and qualified workforce for institutions to educate and graduate occupational therapists at BSc level within their own country, giving the profession the capacity and leadership to grow and become self-sustaining into the future.
We would like to thank Matumo Ramafikeng, President of the Occupational Therapy Africa Regional Group, for her help in developing and promoting this initiative.