Updating Results

APM Group

  • 50,000 - 100,000 employees

Julia Cham

APM WorkCare provides return to work services to injured and ill workers, assisting them to get back to work and life

What's your job about?

APM WorkCare provides return to work services to injured and ill workers, assisting them to get back to work and life. My role is to provide professional assessment and case management expertise to make the process of getting back to work smooth and sustainable.

My role as an Occupational Therapist is to assess functional capacities (assessments involve Worksite Assessments, FCE’s, ADLs, Driving Assessments) and medical clearances, and pair this with the requirements of returning to work. I complete a lot of specialised assessments that I have learnt whilst on the job and are standardised in the industry and used to get people back to work safely.

My role is not a cookie-cutter! Every day can look different and even the same assessment such as a worksite assessment can look very different as I see people who work in offices to people who work in factories and even places you wouldn’t expect, like zoos!

What's your background?

I grew up in Australia though I was born in Hong Kong (SAR).

I completed the Australian schooling system at a local primary school and then at a private high school through a partial scholarship. I then went to the University of Queensland where I studied a year of Science (hated that!) and went into Occupational Therapy.

I came to work for APM WorkCare after I graduated from university because of a friend I had made in university. She told me if I wanted a job, APM were looking for people to help with a new Defence Force contract at the time. I sent the State Manager a resume, and the rest is history! I never thought that being an OT would bring me into a role working out of a Defence base and two units. I have travelled interstate to be trained up and can complete standardised functional assessments and driving assessments.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes (and no)! There are aspects of the role that people from another health background can do – worksite assessments, ergonomic assessments, functional assessments – however there are also OT specific assessments that are complete such as the Assessment and Driving Assessment (ADL). We work as a multidisciplinary team though, so across our different skills and qualifications, together we provide the full range of services available.

What works well in our role is a good open mind and strong proactive communication. Time management and problem-solving skills are also essential.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love the teamwork required in my job. My favourite thing about working in the role is knowing that while I have strengths in several areas, I can trust my colleagues and their different skills to contribute to the work that I do – for example, we have psychologists in our team who I regularly work with – to help people back to work and achieve good outcomes. We have each other’s back.

The role hits all the right notes for health professionals, I know that we are doing the right thing when workers can successfully get back to work, or if they are able to go about their life with improved quality of life.

What are the limitations of your job?

I have a fair bit of responsibility. An unofficial role I have is to ensure that the team is happy and make sure they have all the tools required to do well. Weekend work is rare, but like many professions, it can pop up from time to time when something urgent or unforeseen comes up. My job is only physically demanding when I am doing functional assessments – which involves moving and transporting weights, or worksite assessments, where I need to replicate activities that workers do in their jobs.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Pay attention when you are doing your elective course on workplace rehabilitation! Keep your mind open to this as a career pathway.
  2. Networking is key, I wish I had made more connections to occupational rehabilitation providers and companies so that I could interview better when I applied for work.
  3. Make sure you take the time to do things that you enjoy – for me, it’s kung fu instructing! Whatever it is that keeps you happy and healthy, make sure to dedicate time to it.