The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) approved the "Rehabilitation Worker Visual Impairment" standard ST0 431 in 2017. The single biggest boost to regenerating the workforce for England is now in place. Here is the link to the standard.
Currently there are two providers for the on-training component of the Standard. In choosing which option suits the learning requirements of the employer and the apprentice, the employer and apprentice may wish to consider if the longer-term aim is to go on to study further at level 6 (i.e. a top-up qualifications in Complex Needs or a top-up qualification to become dual qualified as a Habilitation Specialists). In this case, it is strongly advised to enquire whether the chosen qualification route is accepted as valid prior learning for entry to level 6.
Birmingham City University The on-training element of the apprenticeship mirrors the course content of the traditional Foundation Degree programme.
photo: Elaine Hawkswell (ECL) standing beside a young client using her cane in the entrance to a supermarket. Elaine was one of the first VRS to qualify through the apprentice route.
ECL holds the contract for vision rehabilitation provision in Essex. ECL has "home-grown" two Vision Rehabilitation Specialists. ECL has allowed us to share the job description they created for their Vision Rehabilitation apprentices. Sensory Rehabilitation Worker Apprentice JD.docx
Making the case for funding vision rehabilitation and funding an apprenticeship
Vision rehabilitation services are crucial to ensuring blind and partially sighted people remain as independent as possible. Now, new independent research commissioned by RNIB, with support from the Department of Health, has identified that the cost of providing vision rehabilitation services is dwarfed by the financial benefits.This research was carried out by the Office for Public Management (OPM) and based on a case study of services provided by Sight for Surrey; it has shown that the financial benefits of good vision rehabilitation services significantly outweigh the actual costs of delivering this service. In fact in the case study site, over £3.4 million of health and social care costs were avoided, reduced or deferred annually based on a service which cost an estimated £900,000 a year to deliver. Here is a resume Economic value of vision rehabilitation - Briefing_1.pdf For the full report in detail: Demonstrating the value and impact of vision rehabilitation - cost avoidance
Further supporting evidence can be read in the following documents
End Point Assessor Organisation (EPAO)
The EPAO for this Standard is Occupational Awards Ltd.
External Quality Assurance (EQA)
RWPN joined the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education's (IfATE) employer directory in January 2022. The employer directory supports Ofqual with EQA functions. Our role with IfATE will allow us to monitor how the standard and the mechanisms for assessing the standard are meeting the needs of employers and the profession.