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Robert Pereira graduated in 2006 with first class Honours in a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and currently works as an accredited Occupational Therapist with Centrelink in Launceston Tasmania.
As part of his position with Centrelink, Robert works with psychologists, social workers and a physiotherapist in the Job Capacity Assessment Team, which aims to assess people's work capacity and identify the barriers preventing people from undergoing or returning to work. A major part of his role is referring clients to services which can assist them in maximising their strengths and abilities in order to gain employment.
"I work with many different people from those with physical and psychosocial disabilities to the long-term unemployed. Being the sole occupational therapist on my assessment team has enabled me to strengthen the group and bring a unique perspective in dealing with issues which impact on all areas of daily life. In addition, I also continually assist my colleagues to identify new ways to tackle assessments by sharing my knowledge of the functional impact that disabilities have on peoples' health, wellbeing and work capacity," he said.
Robert believes he has experienced many career highlights in his blossoming career in the health industry.
"Some of my career highlights include working in a diverse area of employment, being involved in health promotion and the ability to continue my research interests in leisure and health, whilst still working full time. I also presented a paper on my Honours research at the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Congress in Sydney earlier this year which was a fantastic experience to start off my career."
Robert has always wanted to be a health professional and saw Deakin as an opportunity which could lead to his career as an occupational therapist.
"I found the Geelong Waterfront campus a convenient place to study at. I really enjoyed being part of the pioneering and close knit group of occupational therapy students at Deakin, as well as the extremely supportive teaching staff who became mentors to me by the end of my degree."
"Deakin provided me with an excellent course. In particular I enjoyed the strong links to local and rural health services. During my degree I had the opportunity to undertake a professional overseas placement in Chile where I gained practical experience with a paediatric occupational therapist specialising in the therapy of children with special needs. I learned how occupational therapy was practiced in another country as well as developing specialist strategies to help children and their families promote their child's development through play," he said.
As for the future, Robert plans to travel the world and work in Europe, South America and the United States as an occupational therapist. He also has aspirations to undertake a PhD to further his research and interests in ageing, leisure and work health and wellbeing.