Skip to content
  • Home
  • Newsroom
  • ...
  • 02
  • Patience pays off for aspiring occupational therapist

Patience pays off for aspiring occupational therapist

Woman walking.
New University of Southern Queensland student Olivia Barnes.

The first day of university can’t come quickly enough for new University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) student Olivia Barnes

While she hoped to become a marine biologist at a young age, the 18-year-old said she felt she was destined to make a splash in a different profession.

“I first found a passion for occupational therapy in Year 10, back in 2020, when my class was doing an activity to find out what our future career could be,” she said.

“Occupational therapy came in as my top preference, with flight attendant being second.

“I had heard of occupational therapy several times but had never fully understood what the job entailed.

“I did some research and spoke to a couple of friends who knew more about the profession, and I soon realised it was something for me.

“I have a passion for helping others but also doing it in a way that makes them enjoy themselves.

“I have been waiting three years to study occupational therapy, so I can’t wait to begin studying something I am passionate about and love doing.”

Olivia’s long wait to go to university will soon be over when she joins her new classmates from the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) inaugural cohort at UniSQ’s Ipswich campus later this month.

The four-year full-time program is part of a suite of new degrees the University has launched to help address the shortage of allied health professionals locally and nationally, especially in rural and remote areas.

Occupational therapy is one of the fastest-growing allied health fields, with demand expected to grow further due to Australia’s ageing population.

Occupational therapists work with people affected by illness, disability or life circumstances to enable them to participate in things that would typically 'occupy' their day.

“This can be simple self-care tasks like dressing, showering and grooming, or more complex things like working or studying and even engaging in leisure activities. All of these are important components of health and wellbeing,” Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Dr Craig Greber said.

Dr Greber said the program is firmly focused on developing skills in delivering occupational therapy services through digital health modalities, including in rural communities.

“Students will have the opportunity to explore real-world issues and engage with industry partners as part of their honours projects, as well as participate in learning scenarios that reflect contemporary occupational therapy practice,” he said.

Olivia has her sights set on a rewarding career helping kids.

“My dream job would be providing opportunities to children and young adults through occupational therapy in after-school activities or camps,” she said.

“I think children have this special magic about them that makes them more excited when trying new things.”

Olivia, who graduated from Beenleigh’s Trinity College last year, said she was ecstatic when she received an offer from her first choice university, UniSQ.

“When I first accepted my offer to study at UniSQ, I had instant emails from the University telling me where to find everything, how to enrol, and then when it came to enrolling, there were so many helpful resources and guides,” she said.

“The endless support from people I’d never met made me feel I had picked the right university.”

Are you looking to occupy a career in demand? University of Southern Queensland’s Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) students will learn to design and deliver high-quality occupational therapy assessments and interventions to people, their families and communities.

More information is available.