Higher/Degree Apprenticeship Occupational Therapist

BSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy

Course code
Higher/Degree Apprenticeship
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Typically four years
Two day release; September intake
Programme leader
Alice Hortop
Becky Barnes

Page last updated 12 February 2024


Accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT), our Occupational Therapist apprenticeship is your first step to becoming a qualified Occupational Therapist in your workplace. Develop strong practical and interpersonal skills in the latest clinical facilities.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Why study for an Occupational Therapy apprenticeship?

The impact of illness and injury on daily life can be debilitating. For those impacted by mental health conditions, physical impairments or learning disabilities, everyday activities can be challenging.

Occupational therapists play a critical role in providing practical care and supporting recovery for those who struggle performing day-to-day tasks. Their role is powerful in using everyday activities to enable people to live independently, enjoy a good quality of life and reach their potential.

This BSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy (Level 6) apprenticeship provides the opportunity for healthcare, occupational therapy and social care assistants to train as occupational therapists while working at least 30 hours a week, over a four-year period. Applicants need to be in regular contact working alongside occupational therapists.

Why UWE Bristol?

UWE Bristol has developed this course in line with the core values of the NHS Constitution, embedded from recruitment through to teaching. The course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

Our experienced tutors offer a broad range of expertise across a variety of health and social care settings. These include physical and mental health, learning disability and third sector environments. This breadth ensures you'll be adaptable to a range of challenges within your workplace.

Depending on the model of delivery, you'll have the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills and experience using a variety of learning platforms, both online and face to face. You'll also engage in practical skill-building sessions and problem-based learning with others in your cohort. If local to UWE Bristol, you'll have the opportunity to use our modern facilities for practical skill building.

Benefits to your employer

If you already work in health and social care services, the BSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy apprenticeship will enable you to upskill and become a qualified occupational therapist for your current employer. This degree apprenticeship offers you a new way to become part of the future workforce. Your employer will invest in your training and education, enabling them to retain your talents in-house.

The course is designed using a curriculum underpinned by occupational science that gradually builds your understanding. Encouraged to integrate theory and practice, you'll build on your foundation of knowledge from day one, gradually feeding into learning strands of occupational therapy in practice that you can apply directly to your workplace.


Successful graduates will be ready to take their next step towards becoming confident, autonomous occupational therapists. You'll develop strong practical and interpersonal skills critical for success in this career, from professional reasoning and problem solving, to leadership and communication. These skills ensure you'll contribute safe and ethical therapeutic interventions to your workplace.

On successful completion of this apprenticeship, you'll achieve a BSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy degree (Level 6) accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT). You'll develop a holistic approach to your practice as you become a person-centred practitioner, applying your understanding of occupational science to a range of settings.

In addition to supporting your development in the workplace, this apprenticeship will help you understand the career landscape in your sector and plan for your longer-term ambitions. Our award-winning Careers Service is on hand to give you independent advice and guidance at any point in your studies.

Course details


Year one modules focus on understanding occupation as a concept, providing an introduction to occupational science. This includes the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing, as well as fundamentals of psychology, sociology, anatomy and physiology.

Year two modules build on this foundation by developing understanding of challenges to occupational engagement. This includes professional reasoning and evidence-based practice.

Year three modules develop professional skills further, including psychosocial challenges, complex needs, reflexivity in practice and beginning your research journey.

Year four modules allow you to apply your skills, knowledge and experience to promoting healthy futures, interprofessional collaboration, innovation and leadership and your evidence-based portfolio.

Learning and Teaching

Scheduled learning is delivered through online or face-to-face teaching, which requires a commitment of at least six hours a week off-the-job training throughout the course. This is structured as two days per week of timetabled activity in term time and includes methods such as lectures, seminars, group work projects, workshops and tutorials.

The rest of the course consists of work-based learning within the workplace. While working full-time, you will build a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your skills and competencies.

You'll also undertake three blocks of placement learning, where you'll complete 1000 hours of assessed placement activity, in a clinical setting outside of your workplace.

Over the four-year apprenticeship, you'll study a range of subject areas, from occupational science and therapeutic practice to promoting healthy living.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.


Assessment takes the form of a mix of module assessments including a written exam, essays, presentations, and oral examinations.

Learn more about our assessments.


Professional accreditation

Our BSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy (Apprenticeship) degree (Level 6) is accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

By the end of the apprenticeship, you'll be eligible to apply for registration by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which is required to practise as a registered occupational therapist.

Study facilities

You'll benefit from student support throughout the apprenticeship. Your learning will be supported through our online learning pods, where you'll be able to join virtual problem-based learning groups.

You'll also have 24/7 access to IT support, whether you're on campus or at your workplace. If local to UWE Bristol, you'll have the opportunity to use our state-of-the-art facilities for practical skill building.


Health and Wellbeing

We provide support in the way you need it.


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It is embedded in our culture, teaching and research.

Campus and facilities

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Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 128
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 or above in English and Mathematics or equivalent (we accept Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English).
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.

    For information on required Guided Learning Hours please see our minimum entry requirements.

  • Access: No specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Highers: No specific subjects required.
  • T Levels: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

To be an apprentice, you must be employed in a role that is relevant to the skill, trade or occupation you're being trained for. As part of your commitment to the apprenticeship, you'll have to complete at least six hours per week of off-the-job learning activity within your normal contracted working hours, which is supported by your employer.

We use the UCAS Tariff system to make offers to applicants. You can use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to convert your qualifications and grades into points.  

In addition, all applicants are required to complete: 

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check* - applicants are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check with UWE Bristol. Offers of a place will be subject to Disclosure of Criminal Background. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply and all convictions, including those which are spent, must be disclosed. This is in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. 
  • Occupational Health* - you must be in good health and up-to-date with all routine immunisations that are required for working in health and social care settings. Employers will be required to share applicants' Occupational Health Clearance with UWE Bristol before they start their course.  

*All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary. 

Accredited Learning and Accredited Experiential Learning

You may be able to gain accreditation for prior learning from another institution (Accredited Learning) or you may be able to get credit for learning achieved through experience that may not be formally accredited (Accredited Experiential Learning). For more information, please see our Accredited Learning (AL) page.

Selection process

Applicants will be required to attend an interview.

ESFA eligibility requirements

To study an apprenticeship, you need to:

  • be aged 16 years or over
  • be an EEA citizen (with Right to Work in the UK) and not be in any other kind of full-time education (including being enrolled on any other apprenticeship programme)
  • be employed (for at least the full planned duration of your apprenticeship) in a role that is linked to the appropriate industry for the apprenticeship training
  • receive at least legal minimum wage for apprentices (wages vary depending on experience, employer and level or type of apprenticeship)
  • commit to at least 6 hours per week of apprenticeship training during your normal working hours
  • have support from your employer, including a mentor/line manager. Your employer is also responsible for funding your apprenticeship.

More information about eligibility for apprenticeship funding is available on the GOV.UK website. 

How to apply


If you’re interested in applying and have the support from your employer, speak to your line manager and/or HR team in the first instance for approval. Your employer will contact us so we can send you an application link.


If you’re not employed, you can use the following tools to find an apprenticeship vacancy with an employer:

For more guidance on higher and degree apprenticeship applications.

For further information

For course-specific enquiries, please contact the Programme Leader.

For all other enquiries, please email our Apprenticeship Hub apprenticeships@uwe.ac.uk or call +44 (0)117 32 84888.

For further information about Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.