Our specialist vocational rehabilitation service is based at both the Burwood and Auckland Spinal units – we also provide services at Middlemore Hospital.
Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) provides specialised education, career planning and work support to both newly injured/ill persons, and to those in the community who have been living with an SCI for a period of time; recognising and valuing the inclusion of family and employers from the outset.
Our service was formed in response to a clear need and driven by the late Professor Alan Clarke who was a dedicated and passionate medical professional, who had a spinal cord injury.
As a result of his foundational work, the service was implemented at the Burwood Spinal Unit in 2003 and at the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Unit in 2006.
Our service is an early intervention and restorative vocational rehabilitation programme that provides detailed career advice and planning, educational support, and which helps to remove barriers. We are dedicated to getting people who have a spinal cord impairment into meaningful and sustainable employment. We also provide specialist work support, both to acute patients and community clients.
Our guiding principles are:
- Everyone can have a great job
- It is healthy to be working
- The sooner the better
- There are thousands of work opportunities
- Personal networks are the key
- The process for getting a job is the same as before
- You can do it yourself – Whatever it takes!
- Your life experiences give you unique qualifications
Voc Rehab works with people early in their rehabilitation (80% of patients are engaged within 3 weeks post SCI). This combined with the holistic approach of the multi-disciplinary team, sets you up to powerfully re-enter the job market. Specialist Vocational Consultants provide on-going individual career coaching with a strong emphasis on you doing as much of the work as possible. Dependency can be a learned behaviour - we recognise this and encourage our patients/clients to own their rehabilitation, receive education and feel empowered.
The other key aspect of our service which is crucial to the success, is engaging employers earlier and being available to them post placement for support.