“It is a privilege to support such a dedicated, motivated and skilled young person as Shania to become a fully-fledged Occupational Therapist. It is exciting to see her progress in her professional career I can already see what a wonderful Therapist she will be and what an amazing asset she will be for ellenor” – Claire Dudbridge, ellenor Senior Occupational Therapist.
ellenor is investing in the future by helping therapy assistant Shania Allsop become a fully qualified occupational therapist (OT).
She first came to ellenor on a work experience placement when she was just 16 and six years later her commitment to the charity is evident. The education team have been so impressed that they have encouraged Shania to do a BSc Occupational Therapy Degree (Apprenticeship Pathway) course with Canterbury Christ Church University.
ellenor was able to secure a government grant to progress Shania’s learning and her career, with just a small financial commitment from the charity and from Shania herself.
She said: “I have good job security as I know that at the end of my course, I will have work here with ellenor. I’m getting a lot of support and encouragement.”
The 22-year-old spends two days a week at the university in Canterbury or studying remotely from home. For the rest of the week, she is at the hospice in Northfleet, where she has worked as a therapy assistant for the past few years. She will finish her course in 2024, when she is guaranteed a job as an OT.
Shania said: “I started coming to ellenor when I was 16 on a schoolwork placement so I could get something to go on my CV. To be honest, I didn’t really understand what a hospice was but my experience at ellenor shaped me. I absolutely loved it.”
Later she was encouraged to sign up for a 12-week course working on the hospice ward and with day therapy patients. She enjoyed the experience so much that she became a volunteer on the ward, and she was the obvious candidate when a healthcare assistant job was advertised further down the line.
She said: “I started actually working at ellenor in 2018 as a healthcare assistant and the following year I was offered the job of therapy assistant, when Living Well changed from a day service into something more goal focussed for individual patients.”
In her current role, Shania helps ellenor’s physio and occupational therapists and lends her support to the nurses and patients.
She said: “I help patients on their journey and give them some direction. Some of the groups we run were affected by the Covid restrictions, but we are now organising more activities again, like having musicians in once a month. I have also set up impromptu karaoke sessions and help out with the seated exercise class and the afternoon activity groups.”
One of Shania’s roles is to work with OT Claire Dudbridge on the hospice ward enabling patients reach their personal goals.