Vocational Rehabilitation

What is Vocational Rehabilitation

This information is aimed at professionals supporting people with vocational rehabilitation.

Vocational rehabilitation is an approach which enables individuals with a health condition, injury or disability to overcome barriers to access, maintain or return to employment/education or the voluntary sector.

For individuals with neurological conditions, this involves matching their abilities and limitations to the job demands and work environment, whilst taking into account the physical, sensory, visual, psychological, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social factors that can affect their ability to work.

Local and national policy and clinical guidelines recognise the need for NHS vocational rehabilitation services in supporting people with neurological conditions; these include the BSRM Guidelines, NICE guidelines, National Stroke Strategy, RCP Guidelines and National Service Framework for Long Term Conditions. Keeping people with neurological conditions in work is now a recognised health outcome and a UK Government priority.


Learn more about the journey back to work, first hand through our patient stories:

Returning to work after a brain injury – Gavin’s story

Returning to work after a stroke – Lucy’s story


Improving Vocational Rehabilitation Support in Greater Manchester

We have been working closely with the Greater Manchester Stroke Operational Delivery Network to improve support for individuals with neurological conditions requiring vocational rehabilitation.

The networks aim was to:

  1. Upskill local healthcare professionals in supporting people with neurological conditions in vocational rehabilitation
  2. Encourage better links and working with other agencies including the voluntary sector and Job Centres

1. Training of Healthcare Professionals

In 2016, the networks commissioned the University of Salford to develop and run a 2 day vocational rehabilitation training programme for Greater Manchester healthcare professionals supporting people with neurological conditions. The training was then cascaded within local teams.

2. Working with Greater Manchester Job Centres

We have been working with Job Centre staff to help them understand how they can better support people with neurological conditions in returning to work. We are encouraging our community neuro-rehabilitation teams to establish links with their local job centre. We have also provided some teaching to local Job Centres and have developed some resources, including an online training package:

One Hour Teaching Session Slides for Job Centre Staff


Other Useful Resources

BSRM Guidelines (2010) ‘ Vocational assessment and rehabilitation for people with long term neurological conditions: recommendations for best practice’

Department of Health (2007) ‘National Stroke strategy’

Department of Health (2005) ‘National Service Framework for Long Term Neurological Conditions.’

Greater Manchester Neuro Alliance (GMNA)

Headway – Return to Work

Headway – Return to Education

NICE (2016) ‘Commissioning Guidance for Rehabilitation’

RCP (2016) ‘National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke’

Stroke Association – Getting Back to Work