Rehabilitation Workers
Professional Network

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Why you should join                                                                                      

Benefits of RWPN Membership

By joining RWPN you will become a member of the professional body for Vision Rehabilitation Workers.  Since launching in 2014 we now have over 300 members. Your membership of the professional body enables us to represent you, your organisation and the wider workforce to the health and social care sector. We promote the interests of the workforce and promote the benefits to blind and partially sighted people of vision rehabilitation. 

RWPN member services

  • Subscription to the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, published six times a year by the American Foundation for the Blind.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Until now, and unlike other professions, Vision Rehabilitation Workers have not had to undertake a compulsory programme of CPD. RWPN believes this is not healthy for the profession or the people who receive our services. CPD is a vital component in maintaining standards, in developing a pride in the work you do and ensuring your employer values your contribution to their services to blind and partially sighted people. In 2017 RWPN launched a formal structure for CPD that is a requirement of membership. In doing this, members can evidence that they are not only maintaining their core skills but also that they are committed to developing their practice and being more knowledgeable professionals.  For more details about the scheme go to "The Profession" tab of this website.

  • Mentorship Scheme
In 2017 RWPN launched a mentoring scheme for members.  We recognised that Vision Rehabilitation Workers are often lone workers, professionally isolated or sometimes feel stuck-in-a-rut and that a 1-to-1 relationship with a peer could provide valuable support and re-establish confidence.  We have trained 20 Vision Rehab. Workers to be mentors and in doing so aim to develop the skills of longer-established workers. Being mentored is also evidence of CPD.
  • Quarterly Newsletter

RWPN sends out a quarterly update to members that includes any relevant policy and practice updates, information on new products or developments of interest and links to any specific work that RWPN has been involved with.

  • Training
RWPN runs training courses in areas of practice where we have identified a gap in training provision. In 2015 and 2016 we ran Orientation and Mobility courses around the UK.  In 2017 we piloted new O&M courses and a course in smart phone technology. These are offered at a significantly reduced rate  (at least a third off) to members.
  •  Annual Seminar
The annual seminar is run in conjunction with Birmingham City University. It is the focal point of the year for the profession and every year around 120 Rehab. Workers meet to catch up on research and practice developments. Members are entitled to a greatly reduced entrance rate. In 2018 there will be a Scotland rehab. conference.

  • Special Interest Groups

RWPN has set up a number of Special Interest Groups on this website.  These are open to members only and are intended to be a resource of more detailed information about particular areas of practice, including areas of research, areas of practice that are more complex and ways of posting and sharing what members are up to. They make a good resource for CPD too.  Special interest groups currently open are: Orientation & Mobility, Low Vision, Deafblindness, Learning Disability/Acquired Brain Injury, Children and Dementia.

  •  Job Adverts

We send out job adverts to members on a regular basis.

  •  Support for Visually Impaired Rehabilitation Workers
In 2017 we are establishing peer mentoring support for visually impaired workers and advice related to working with support workers and working with Access to Work.  
  •     Employment Relations Advice

Advice and support for members on issues in the workplace is available via phone and email from specialists within RWPN.

Ensuring the Future of Qualification Training

A healthy professional workforce requires that those entering it and those already working in it are trained to a broadly defined range of competencies.   RWPN is playing a pivotal role in the government's Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme in England: working with employers in the sector, RWPN is helping to define the apprenticeship standard and will be applying to become the end-point assessor organisation for this programme.  In addition RWPN is actively involved with the universities that train Vision Rehabilitation Workers in England and Scotland.


RWPN Campaigning, Influencing and Promoting

RWPN is a member organisation of Vision UK.  It plays a leading and active role in the work of Vision UK’s Rehabilitation Sub-Committee.  The sub-committee has membership from local and national voluntary organisations, adult social services, training bodies and representation from the four countries of the UK.  In the time that the group has functioned, it has had a significant impact on the way the sightloss sector understands visual impairment rehabilitation.  The Adult Sightloss Pathway and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services guidance on visual impairment rehabilitation both originated from the work of this group and the refreshed UK Vision Strategy now places a much greater emphasis on rehabilitation and early intervention than the previous version.  This group had a significant role in guiding RNIB’s response to the 2014 Care Act, particularly those sections of the guidance relating to Prevention and Assessment and Eligibility.

Raising the profile of visual impairment rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Workers is the prime objective of RWPN.  The lack of statutory professional registration status across all four countries of the UK continues to be an issue RWPN is committed to changing.  We continue to make representation to national governments and Care Councils about the need to protect blind and partially sighted people through a register of practising professionals – a system that already applies to other, similar, professions such as Social Work and Occupational Therapy.


 

This site is operated by the Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network Ltd

Registered in England & Wales no. 9179719

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