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A royal visit to celebrate 50 years of OT education in Wales

29 January 2015

Princess Ann Audience

The School of Healthcare Sciences celebrated 50 years of Occupational Therapy Education in Wales today with a visit by HRH the Princess Royal, Patron of the College of Occupational Therapists.
 
Below are some photos from the event.

The School, in association with the COT, held an anniversary conference to celebrate this important milestone, with over 300 delegates including alumni, lecturers, staff and students visiting the University to officially mark the occasion. 

The conference chronicled how far the profession has developed since it was first set up in Wales in 1964 and celebrated the vital contribution that occupational therapists play to people's health and well-being. 

"We are delighted that HRH, The Princess Royal was able to join us and officially mark 50 years of occupational therapy education in Cardiff," said Dr Steven Whitcombe, Cardiff University's Professional Head of Occupational Therapy. 

"As Patron of the College of Occupational Therapists, The Princess Royal is a leading advocate for our profession and our vital work.

"We hope the event and our Royal visitor has helped to shine a light on our achievements and the benefits that occupational therapy plays for people in Wales, the UK, and the wider world," he added.

Julia Scott, Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists said of the event: "We are extremely proud of occupational therapy's history in Wales and Cardiff University's continuing commitment to excellence in occupational therapy education.

I welcome the opportunity to meet some of our leading figures in occupational therapy who join us today to celebrate the achievements of students past and present. "

Occupational therapy provides support to people of all ages whose health may prevent them from getting on with their everyday lives.

Occupational therapists take a holistic approach offering practical solutions whether it's a child with a learning disability who needs help to read, right through to someone with chronic arthritis who experiences difficulties with everyday tasks and activities. 

Occupational therapy education first began in Cardiff in September 1964. From humble beginnings in a small terraced property at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary it has grown to brand new state-of-the-art teaching facilities at the University Hospital of Wales.

Some 2,000 students have since graduated with a University of Wales and from 2005, Cardiff University occupational therapy degrees. 

A key hallmark of occupational therapy education at Cardiff has been a 30-year history of using problem-based learning. Developing students' problem solving skills makes them better equipped to meet the needs of an increasingly complex health and social care environment, and translates importantly into practice by developing their professional confidence and competence. Now that occupational therapy is part of the School of Healthcare Sciences, students are taught in a multi-disciplinary environment, ensuring that they learn early on to collaborate with other health professionals and making them more likely to work effectively together in clinical settings.

As well as hearing a series of speeches from past and present staff and students, HRH The Princess Royal undertook a tour of the School's facilities. She was able to see for herself the latest equipment and techniques used by the School and talk to staff, students and some of the children who are treated in the School's occupational therapy clinic.

Dr Whitcombe adds: "As part of the day's celebrations The Princess Royal visited our new occupational therapy children's clinic, where she was able to meet some of our patients and chat with current students about how they use the clinic.

"Opened in 2014 and the first of its kind in Wales, the clinic provides opportunities for the assessment and treatment of developmental disorders or handwriting difficulties, as well as a vital resource for our students."

Find out more about the OT clinic: www.cardiff.ac.uk/otclinic

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