With the VR awards deadline approaching we asked organiser and VRA Vice Chair Chris Parker why they are so important…
I was delighted to take the lead on the organisation of the VRA awards, which align so well with my own interests in education and research. As well as providing great learning opportunities and best practice examples to aspire to, the awards also provide a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about Vocational Rehabilitation in the non-VR community in the UK with examples of the wide range of benefits that VR can provide.
We can’t escape the turmoil created by the COVID-19 pandemic and VR is probably more important now than it has been since post-war rehabilitation programmes brought it to the fore. However, in the UK work and health systems, Vocational Rehabilitation can still be a confusing concept for some. It is complex, with a wide variety of practitioners and professionals involved, across a range of private, public and third sector contexts. It can include supporting employers and employees through health promotion in the workplace and identifying ways in which work (and systems) can be comfortable and accommodating for those with health challenges. It involves empowering individuals in self-management and supports planning and implementation for a timely and sustained return to work. It can also involve vocational redirection and support where people need to change their work, or support for those who are unemployed and need help to re-enter the world of work.
Essentially, VR helps people to REMAIN in, RECOVER in, RETURN to, or REACH for work.
The VRA is the ONLY membership organisation that covers all VR practitioners and professionals: from those who deliver a general VR approach within their practice in routine healthcare settings, to those who have highly skilled VR roles in specialist VR contexts. At the VRA, we strive to promote excellence in our members through education, research, and quality standards to ensure that those who need their services receive the best possible support. The awards give us a great opportunity to acknowledge, showcase and learn from these best practice examples. Judging is based on several criteria, but we particularly look for evidence-informed practice, innovation and measurable outcomes. We have been so impressed with the quality of nominations and the standards of the previous award winners and it’s fantastic to be able to showcase and celebrate their achievements.
So please consider nominating yourself, your team, or a colleague!