The expanding Griffith Health group on the Gold Coast is set to include a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (OT) in its program options from 2014.
Joining programs such as Speech Pathology and Exercise Science in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, OT has been identified as an area of national skills shortage with demand for skilled practitioners tipped to rise from 2016.
Occupational Therapists enable people to do the activities they need or want to do in order to live a meaningful life. The difficulties clients face could be due to illness and injury, age, poverty, or natural disasters.
The new director of Occupational Therapy on the Gold Coast will be Professor Matthew Molineux, whose previous roles included establishing a similar program at the prestigious Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK.
“Occupational therapy is a much more diverse field than most people realise. This program will enable students to work in health and education, but also to explore new and emerging areas of practice,” he said.
“Occupational Therapists are creative health professionals who find solutions by adapting environments, modifying activities, or facilitating the development of new skills in collaboration with the client and other health professionals. Clients could be individuals, groups or even entire communities.
“Looking to the future of the profession will mean students will be at the cutting edge of occupational therapy at a time when its demand will be bigger than ever before.
“Occupational Therapy has a great future at Griffith, given the synergies of existing programs and staff from fields such as Public Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.”
Industry crying out for graduates
As with many of Griffith’s health degrees, OT will ensure its graduates gain education and experience in as broad an array of areas as possible.
The OT industry is crying out for graduates, especially in aged care and Professor Molineux has stated there will be a heavy focus on work placements and community connections.
Professor Molineux began building relations with the local industry two years out from the program’s inception to ensure the programs connection to industry from the first day.
“Local occupational therapists have been very supportive of the program and I’m looking forward to working more closely with them,” he said.